My name is Diana Elizabeth Carpio Orellana, I am a student of business administration - dual DHLA at the University of Cuenca in Ecuador. And, from September to December 2019 I was a participant of the International Program in Business IPBFall19 in the DHBW Duale Hochschule Baden-Wurttemberg in Mosbach, Germany.
The first days and weeks of the semester abroad: [The beginning of the adventure]
• What was your motivation for a semester abroad?
My principal motivation for a semester abroad was essentially challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone, taking the risk of visiting alone another country to experience the dual education model from another perspective and learn about the country, its culture, food, and life style.
• How were the first days in Germany?
The first days were a bit complicated, mainly until I managed to connect to life in another city and country. And likewise, until I established my routine of buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc. On my first day I arrived at the Frankfurt airport from which I had to take two trains to get to Mosbach, it was difficult since I was not used to this type of transport and did not know exactly how the stations and train tracks worked. In short, when I made the train change at Manheim station, I missed the train, but with the help of a girl in the train station I took a taxi and at the end I made it to the International house in Mosbach.
• How did the first contacts with other exchange students / with "locals" go?
Meeting those who were my classmates and home partners for the next 3 months was very exciting, since before arriving in Mosbach I already had a list of the students and I was anxious to meet all of them.
Living with them closely and forming a friendship was a super exciting experience. I discovered that each person is a world and that although some of us belong to Latin American countries, our expressions are different, such as different meanings for the same word.
• What is it like to be away from everything you know?
At the beginning I missed my family a lot, I missed the food and I can't deny that I felt a little lonely because I had never lived alone.
But with the passing of the days, sharing time in classes and in the different excursions in the IPB and meeting the Mosbach citizens I felt more and more happy, that at the end I considered Mosbach like another home.
Half-time: [The life in the IPB]
• What is the biggest difference between studying at DHBW Mosbach and at your home university?
The main difference was the way of get the classes, in my university I have classes with different subjects during the whole semester and at the end of this I have to take exams for each of the subjects, however in the DHBW Mosbach the subjects are taught by block, that is, for about a week we have classes of one subject and at the end of this period a final exam of the subject is given, thus to begin with the other subject. And there are no general exams at the end of the entire program. Yeih!
• What does a typical day look like during your semester abroad?
In a typical day in Mosbach, in the morning I used to take a shower, prepared my breakfast and go to class. During classes, I enjoyed the breaks to buy a coffee or a delicious croissant. And at midday have lunch, after lunch I had to return to classes and at the end of the day go home to prepare my dinner or else go shopping (food, clothing, etc.) to the city center. And at night I could share with my housemates while doing homework or watching movies. And before I went to bed, admire Mosbach's lights at night.
• What do you like most about Germany/Mosbach?
Germany is a very beautiful country, it has a lot of amazing landscapes, castles and places full of charm. And, as if that were not enough, the people of Germany are very respectful and kind. Rest assured, if you get lost or need to ask someone about a place or address, they will try to help you without thinking twice.
As for Mosbach, it is a city where it doesn't matter where you walk, if you meet someone you will always receive a “Hallo, Guten Morgen” at the beginning of your day. The warmth with which all the people of the university and the city treat you made me feel like I was in family.
• What was your biggest culture shock moment so far?
There are two things that I can highlight regarding this, on the one hand, the ease, safety and above all speed with which you can travel from one end of the country to the other or travel from one country to another in different means of transport while observing different landscapes through the windows, cross bridges or cross rivers. And, on the other hand, the food, because being in another continent, in a country that is in the center of Europe, you can find different products and places with typical food from other places in Europe, but some Ecuadorian products to which I was accustomed I didn't find them easily here.
Farewell and thinking back: [The end of the adventure]
• What was it like to walk across campus one last time?
The last days, when I discovered that there is little to complete the international program and I realized that the last months had flown by. What used to be the "next" school week, the "next" shopping day or the "next" weekend became the "last" of each. I felt a mixture of emotions, the happiness of being part of the IPB and the melancholy of knowing that it was almost over. The last few days the phrase that most crossed my mind in front of each place or activity was "I'm going to miss this."
• To what extent did the study abroad lead you personally / professionally?
In the IPB I learned about some economic aspects of the different countries of my colleagues. The different subjects I studied, had a general approach in which examples from various countries, history, traditions and opinions emerged from the point of view of my classmates and teachers, everyone contributing with their own ideas and with a mutual exchange of knowledge.
• I will never forget my stay abroad because I was able to experience the IPB in Mosbach, I met people from different parts of the world, I learned a little about their culture and their country. Together we create several memories full of laughter that will always be engraved in my mind and heart. I hope one day to see them again.
Programs taught in English at the DHBW Mosbach are laid out for mixed groups of incoming students and DHBW Mosbach students. The DHBW Mosbach offers two international programs:
The IPB is running in the 3rd and 4th Semester of the DHBW Bachelor Program. Incoming exchange students as well as DHBW Mosbach degree students enrolled in the Departments of Trade and Industry are eligible for application.
The IPE is a tailor-made program designed for a mixed group consisting of incoming exchange students and DHBW Mosbach degree students from the Departments of Mechatronics, Information Technology, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems.