M.Sc. Information Systems
My name is Alexandra, I’m a HSE student of the faculty of Business Informatics in Moscow, Russia. At the moment I’m studying in Westfälische Wilhelms Universität (or simply the University of Münster) in Germany, which has a double diploma program with my university. I’ve been here over 6 months and really want to share with you some of the thoughts and insights on life and studies here in Germany.
They say that in Germany it is easier to be admitted into university than to stay here. With as little experience as I have with the German educational system, I’m inclined to say it is at least partially true:)
I should mention that I’ve taken an easy road and chosen an English program. This seemed like a great idea at the beginning, a chance to experience the country without that much struggle over the studies at the same time. However, life in another country isn’t easy, and lack of the language knowledge doesn’t help at all. I had two years of German at school and I’m working on it now, but even daily conversations are still tricky. Well, we’ll see how it will be after the end of the program.
My university is situated in Münster, a beautiful city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany. This is truly the students’ city — lots of young people from abroad, studying or working, places to visit and events to go to. Makes you feel welcomed.
The studies are much more time-consuming than everything I had in Russia. Even when you know it in advance as I did, it comes as a surprise — and becomes a personal challenge. There is a lot of group work in courses, each presenting opportunities to interact with course mates. Almost all of them, by the way, are greatly focused on studies and determined to get the assignment done before the deadline. Also, grading is much more rueful than in Russia. I have just had all of my exams, and even though I prepared longer and harder than ever in my life, I have barely passed them with average grades.
Still, I love the way a person can see the differences and the similarities between nationalities in work — and during recreation, too. The Germans will welcome you to their parties gladly, show you all the drinking games and will be eager to learn about you and your culture. All the peculiarities of each others’ everyday lives, customs and ways-of-doing-things will become a hot topic for you and your international friends. Amazingly, you will also become more proud of your own country and culture, down to the strangest things. This is, in fact, what make this experience so profound and valuable, not to mention a great joy:)