More than an exchange! A life-changing experience
Hallo, Ich heiße Manoel und Ich komme aus Brasilien. I am an exchange student doing my second semester in RheinAhrCampus, Remagen at Koblenz University of Applied Sciences. This semester was quite different from the previous one, because of the Coronavirus. It messed things a little bit but still could not prevent me to have a nice time in Germany. Different from last semester when I used to live in the dormitories, I have got German flat mates. Being closer to the German culture changed my experience a lot in the way that I got to know more German customs, and I have made really good friends.
Besides that, while in quarantine I still had the internship and online classes. During the internship, I had a chance to plan excursions, be the supervisor of the student assistants, and also took care of the Moodle platform. I have spent this time working from my room and sometimes from the backyard when the weather allowed me to. Due to the virus, we could not go out often, but we managed to have a nice time together, doing some BBQ, getting to know more each other, and finding new cultural differences. This semester we were 12 exchange students from 6 different countries all around the world. I find it very interesting to meet students that come from the same countries as the other previous students, but with big differences between them.
Also, we have organized many different activities together. We went camping in a lake near Remagen, and we had such a nice view. There we went swimming, made a fire, and had a nice BBQ. Nearby, in Bad Neuenahr where we went hiking uphill and got a very nice place where we did a picnic and played some games together. Besides that, we went to other places like Mayshoß, Drachenfels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, etc. Between trips and hiking, I got the chance to see more of Germany and make new friends.
The Department of Language and International Affairs has been very supportive in this time of social distancing and restrictions. We had a home office and online classes as well, following all the measures in order to offer us a nice experience here in Germany even when the situation was very hard. I can say that I have taken the best out of it.
Coming back to my flat mates, we have such a nice relationship and we spend a good time together. We had a timetable, where each of the people sharing our flat, had a day to cook for everyone. During this time, I had the chance to taste different traditional German dishes and also, I have cooked for them famous Brazilian dishes. Meanwhile, I was able to learn a bit of German and strengthen our friendship. Being with them feels like family.
To conclude, the second semester just emphasized the fact that spending time in a semester abroad, can contribute to everyone in a professional and personal way, through learning different cultures, personalities, and also working perspective. I will bring back to Brazil so many memories from my time in Germany: a nice time with the other international students, a good time spent in the swimming pool, summer memories, and the feeling of the cold in the winter in Europe. This suitcase will be full-on on my way back to my home country.