Unexpected Surprises

Unexpected Surprises

Keti from Georgia, Winter Semester 2018/2019

Hello, I am Keti from Georgia. I have already spent almost five months in Germany within the framework of Erasmus exchange program and I believe that it was one of the decisions I will never regret taking.

Erasmus at RheinAhrCampus was not the first exchange semester in my life, therefore, living abroad was not a new experience for me, neither being surrounded by people from different cultural backgrounds was surprising, studying in a foreign language was not a task I was scared about either, however, what was unexpected is the significant personal and academic development I experienced over this period of time.

One of the most productive things I was involved, I believe, was the academic internship. Before even coming to Remagen I had to take the procedures to be accepted for it. Since the very first interviews and tests I took to apply, I discovered this was a thing I could have benefited from a lot. The requirements for interns made me analyze what I needed to work on to get ready for a real-life work environment. The most memorable part of this internship program was an experience of working as the Head of the Guest Relations Department for an international seminar organized by the university. I gained the professional experience I did not even think about while applying at the beginning. I became a lot more organized, a lot better in time management, more committed and focused.

During the semester, I was able to gain experiences in activities that I did not expect from a standard Erasmus exchange. Besides the regular courses, I also had the ability to take part in an international seminar-workshop (Managing Cultural Diversity) in which I had the ability to get to know to the lecturers not only from Germany but from several different countries of the world too. I got involved in the courses that alongside to the academic seminars suggested extracurricular activities such as visits to museums and to the business institutions. I took courses in intercultural communications which made me see everyday intercultural interactions from the different perspective.

I got used to different types of learning methods. If I was mainly focused on writing tests and exams in my home country I discovered the need to make the presentations and assignments with the same diligence and commitment here.

I tested my public speaking skills and moreover, public speaking skills in a foreign language. Firstly, coming at the university in our very first week in the welcoming event I needed to face a need to introduce myself in German from the stage in a huge auditorium full of German students who could identify all of my mistakes (and they were a lot as I did not have any knowledge of German language at that time at all). Secondly, I presented my country to the audience I have never met before. Thirdly, I made almost two hours length class in English within one of my courses. And finally, I discovered: No, I am not shy at all :)

To briefly summarize my academic achievements, of course, I strengthened my language skills in English and got the TOEFL certificate, started studying a new language, which I am going to keep on studying, and by taking several compelling courses received lots of ECTs, even more than I would be able to gain in my home university in a single semester.

Obviously, a lot has happened during these five months but my Erasmus experience is not over, there is a month ahead still, therefore, best things are yet to come :)