Thursday, August 23, 2012

180 Days in Deutschland (Germany)

By Kishen Van Anker, Year 3, Diploma in Business Management

“Seize every opportunity given” is a quote I strongly believe in.

In March this year, I was given the opportunity to be part of the Overseas Student Exchange Programme (OSEP). I took a three-month Junior Program in International Business at Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Campus Bad Mergentheim (DHBW).

Being an international student in a foreign country was something that I have always wanted to experience. Also learning about the cultures and lifestyles of people in a completely different environment has always been intriguing to me.

To me, Germany is a modern yet historically rich country, famous for its sausages and beer.

Once I have arrived in Germany, I had a culture shock. There were so many signboards in German and everyone was conversing mainly in German. Even the most subtle differences stood out. For example, Germany has different coloured bins for different types of garbage to encourage recycling. It took me some time to adjust.

In this exchange programme, I was given the opportunity to live and study together with classmates from countries such as United States and South Korea. Also, I was taught by professors from other parts of Germany and United States.

The delivery and assessment of modules in DHBW were interesting. Many of the modules require extensive reading; short presentations that lead to active discussions and case-study problems, and these contribute largely to our final grades.

It was during discussions that I was able to appreciate various viewpoints given by my international peers, and also gain a better understanding of their culture and values. During my free time, I also took the opportunity to talk to my peers and learn more about their cultures and lifestyles.

The Junior Program in International Business was conducted entirely in English as our class was a pool of international students. Nevertheless, we took a basic German course to help us integrate better into the German way of life and it turned out to be very useful for conversing with the Germans.

The International Office staff at DHBW also brought us out on various trips that were very insightful and enriching. These excursions helped us to settle in and feel at home.
Paris and the Effiel Tower
Me in Venice
Of the many cities and towns that I have visited, Berlin was the city that most intrigued me. They had a Jewish Memorial and Exhibition centre which showed how many innocent lives were lost. I felt a sense of loss and compassion.
Besides excursions, another highlight of my stay was soccer!  I managed to witness the Munich 2012 Finals between Bayern and Chelsea. The entire city of Munich was roaring and cheering for their respective soccer teams. It was an exhilarating moment for me.

With a Frisbee Team in Germany
I have learnt much about Germany in terms of language, culture, and lifestyle. Through this exchange programme, I am truly delighted to have forged many wonderful and happy moments with friends around the world.

To understand an entirely new culture is to be part of it and I am glad to have done so in Germany. All in all, I certainly feel that this programme was enriching and will always remember my days in Deutschland (Germany)! :)

Kishen Van Anker is a Year 3 student from Business Management. Active in sports, he takes up rock-climbing and rowing during the weekend! The adrenaline rush, progressive performance and self development are things that encourages him to do his best at all times. Obsessed with psychological thrilling movies, he can be found watching three to four of such movies at one time!

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