• Senior •Department of Business Administration • Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon OHM
1. Why did you decide to go to Germany as an exchange student?
When I applied to the exchange student program, I had to choose between Europe
and U.S.A/Canada. Therefore, I had to decide which area to go to first. I wrote down the pros and cons of each region to make it easier to decide. I also thought about what I wanted to experience the most through the time, and set priorities. My most important priority was to experience as many different cultures as possible. Europe was a place where many countries with completely diverse cultures were concentrated. Among European
countries, Germany is located at the center of Europe, so it is also convenient to travel to other countries. Also, the low prices were an important reason. Crucially, there were also various major classes that I wanted at Nürnberg University.
2. What did you prepare to be an exchange student?
To apply to be an exchange studentat Konkuk University, it is necessary to get
English test scores. U.S.A and Canada usually requires TOEFL and Europe requires TOEIC. Britain requires IELTS, and ssome countries, like France or Spain, require their own language skills. In my case, I prepared for the TOEFL during my vacation because the USA and Canada were also under my consideration. I consequently applied for Germany, but I
also recorded my TOEFL score.
There are several German language courses for exchange student offered by TH-GSO university during the semester. However, I could not take the class because I did not have time. Instead, I studied simple greetings, prices and weather in Germany.
Taking German classes is not compulsory but certainly helpful. However, if you can’t afford to take a class, I think it’s important to do your best in your circumstance.
3. What was different from the university in Korea?
The biggest characteristic of my school is that it has no campus. It is not like KU, where university buildings are surrounded by main gate and back gate. There is no front gate or back gate and each of the university’s buildings are scattered. However, the distance between the buildings was not far.
The students were not afraid to ask questions in class. They also participated very hard in class and studied very hard to get good grades. There were many students who worked and studied at the same time by participating Working Students programs.
4. What was difficult about being an exchange student?
It was hard when I first started my exchange student life. At first, I suffered from the unpredictable and cold weather. I had a bad cold and was sick for the first month. In addition, arriving in Germany does not mean you can do everything right away. I had to deal with various administrative procedures, including residence registration cards, dormitory registration documents, etc. Most of them are in German, so it was often hard to handle them alone. I think it is important for exchange students to help each other
solve problems. Exchange students can also get help from Buddy program, which is consist of German students.
5. Did you have any special ways to get close to students in the university?
My school prepared a variety of events for exchange students. There were many
things, such as a zoo visit, a museum visit, a two-day trip, and a KOREAN NIGHT.
Participation is optional. Thanks to events like this, I could communicate and get
close to other students.
You need an active approach. It is not easy to speak in English, but don’t worry.
Even for Europeans, English is not their first language. So don’t be afraid to talk in
English and just try to reach out to new people. I think the courage to talk to
someone without being afraid helped me a lot to make good friends.
Another way I get close to my friends is to make Korean food for your friends. I
invited my friends to the dormitory and made them bulgogi, kimchi pancake and
dumplings. They really liked it. We could get close by exchanging our cultures.
6. Have you ever felt any cultural differences?
Yes, there were many differences. First, all the regular stores close at eight. I used to
go the 24-hour convenience store, so I was shocked. Also at school, lemon beer called
Radler was sold. The students thought it was just soda and did not think it was alcoholic. Furthermore, it was amazing that people did not have to check tickets when they were taking public transportation.
There are many immigrants and many different races in Germany. I was shocked after experiencing racism for the first time. Later, I could think more about and study racism. It was an opportunity to reflect on whether I discriminated against others, too.
7. Did you ever travel in Germany?
I traveled to other cities in Germany and I was able to travel to other cities in Europe. However, the most memorable experience was a trip for two days. I went there with regular students as well as exchange students and saw the Alps and the castle that became the inspiration for the Disney Castle while this trip.
In Germany, I traveled to Berlin, Dresden, Bamberg, Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, but for me, I think the most beautiful place was Nuremberg. There are not many tourists so it’s not crowded or noisy, there are beautiful castle and church, there is a great university, and an airport nearby. There are subways, trams, buses and trains. Therefore, the traffic is
also very convenient. Most of all, it felt comfortable and good to live in Nuremberg.
8. How did you feel about finishing your experience as an exchange student?
It was the most beautiful time of my life. I was able to throw myself into a whole new environment and have new experiences. And through that process, I was able to discover a new image of myself.
Above all, my experience of various countries and cultures and communicating with various people helped me open up and broaden my own horizons. Most of all, it was a great challenge for me. However, I think I experience and enjoy the most I can so I was proud of myself.
Moreover, I have a new goal that I want to experience or study various cultures abroad or build related careers. Six months in Nuremberg, Germany, will be my beautiful memory and driving force for action in life.
Jung Eun-chae, Reporter email@example.com
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