Ticking off my bucket list

Fatma from Azerbaijan, Summer Semester 2021

Have you ever thought for a moment that you are living your dream?

My name is Fatima, and I am coming from Azerbaijan. I was thinking about the exchange semester even since my school years after hearing about this opportunity from my student friends. However, just dreaming was not enough. In the 3rd year of my bachelor's degree, finally, I decided to take an action and went directly to the international office on break between classes. Now, I can confidently say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Of course, I had my expectations about my stay abroad before the arrival, such as new friends, new climate, different foods, and educational system. Was I right about this? Yes! But these are not the only things that I got during this semester. Even at the very beginning of the semester, I realized that it is a completely new lifestyle: the way of thinking, planning everything, special attention to environmental issues.

And there were some surprising and unexpected experiences as well. I am usually a person who can adapt to a new environment easily, but here it was not the case sometimes. This is my first long-term stay abroad, so until I started to miss my family and my friends, I was not aware of the emotional challenges waiting for me here. Thankfully, my new flatmates and friends helped me a lot to not feel depressed and I started to enjoy my stay again. Besides that, I was expecting difficulties about formal issues which are really strict and structured in Germany, but thanks to Sprachen/Internationales Team, we were informed about every single detail beforehand regularly.

Now, after 6 months of stay when I look back, I can definitely say this semester was full of “the first things” for me. For the first time, I stayed apart from my family, was able to travel alone. All these helped me to grow, manage my finances, decide everything independently which led me to be more self-confident. During my academic internship, I realized my real weakness and started to work on it. This internship and semester abroad helped me to improve my intercultural competencies and become more self-aware.

As a student coming from a non-EU country, traveling across Europe was one of the greatest chances for me. I traveled to different countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland. Still long to go, but I ticked off quite a number of bucket list items already because of this opportunity.

This semester meant a lot to me and I really hope that everyone will have a strong desire and courage to go for it too, to experience such a full of adventure semester.

Best wishes,