Too Many Things!
My name is Ru’a Sahsah. I’m a biomedical engineering student at the German Jordanian University. Doing an exchange semester in Germany is an obligatory part of my bachelor’s degree. Having had to present 3 partner university options to my coordinator, Hochschule Koblenz was on the top of my list. I liked the location of the city on the map. I figured it would allow for many travel opportunities.
Coming from the capital of Jordan, Amman, I was a little surprised, and perhaps disappointed, to find out I will be in the RheinAhrCampus, located in Remagen rather than in Koblenz. But that changed very quickly. Remagen is a small town on the river Rhine. The scenery here is absolutely beautiful. The night sky is mesmerizing. You see a dome full of stars because there’s very little light pollution. People here are well off; they have nice houses and cars. It’s cozy and safe. And the people are very kind and friendly.
There isn’t much that’s crazy that a student can do in Remagen. But I think that is what helped me to get to know more people, both German and international students. It allowed for a special focus on the people, that I personally really liked. I can say I made friends for life here. We cooked together, invited each other over for lunches and dinner and “Iftars”, the Muslim breaking of the fast during the month of Ramadan, and hung out together so often.
I had come here with the mentality that I will need every last German word I had learned in the past 3 years, but I found out that the majority here speak English. I still get to practice my German with people but if all else fails, English is always an option.
As for the university itself, I must start by saying the Sprachen/ Internationales (international office) is very helpful and supported the international students at all times. From finding a place to stay, to getting my paperwork for the insurance and town hall in order, to finding solutions for daily problems, I always got support from Dr. Rashimah Rajah. I felt very welcome and never completely on my own.
I really liked the university building too. It is an entirely a glass building, which allows you to enjoy the green scenery of Remagen even from the inside. I stayed at the university dorms, so I practically lived on campus. I found that very convenient as it took 2 minutes for me to be in all my classes. Most days I had lunch at the university cafeteria. It was good value for money and made my life easier because I did not have to cook all the time. The library served as a perfect place to study, and also had all facilities a student might need: photocopiers, scanners, and computers. The student card also made it easy to use all these facilities on campus without needing to carry cash on you at all times. Although most of my classes were taught in German, which posed a challenge for me, my professors were very kind, and tried to help me as much as possible.
The Sprachen/ Internationales played a very influential role in my stay here during the semester too. International Business Simulation class, taught by Dr. Laurence Borgmann, head of the department, kept me always occupied. I was a project manager at the simulated company, aimed to help the refugees in Remagen, and an employee in other projects managed by other students. With the help of my friends and colleagues on the course, we organized 2 very successful group cooking and Iftar events. This class gave me the chance to meet many German students, as well as a number of refugees, and to work on myself. I also particularly enjoyed attending Intercultural communication classes, also given by Dr. Laurence. Our class had a diverse range of nationalities, which made it all the well more interesting. We learned a lot about how people from different places are different, why they are different, and also how and why they’re similar. I also got the chance, with the help of Mr. Jens Faulstich, to do my TOEFL ITP exam here, and to continue to improve my German, with Mrs. Anna Louen, who managed to make these classes very enjoyable and very relevant to our needs as international students.
And while I had busy days in Remagen, it’s also worth mentioning that I got the chance to do a lot of traveling. The semester ticket allows students to go to Cologne, Bonn and Koblenz for free, all of which are less than an hour away. Remagen is also close to Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The cheap flights, departing from the Cologne airport, and the cheap buses were our portal to the rest of Europe. By the end of the semester I will have been to 5 other European countries besides Germany.
To wrap up, I can say the exchange semester I did at the RheinAhrCampus really changed my life. Besides what I mentioned above, the Ersti party and the pool party are must mentions. So are the hangouts in Baracke, the barbecues and picnic by the Rhine, the ferry boat rides to Erpeler Ley and hiking there to see an amazing view. For me Germany was an adventure where I experienced way too many things to put in this report. I tried many new things and certainly feel like I’m a more confident, more accomplished, and a more well-rounded person than when I came here. I met people from countries I knew nothing about, and they became my second family here. I will certainly miss Remagen, and there is no doubt that I will be back here one day.
And before I end this report I would just like to say a genuine thank you to everyone who contributed to this unique experience in any way!