Hello my name is Courtney and I’m currently a Business Administration student at Oregon State University-Cascades. I studied at DHBW Mosbach, Bad Mergentheim campus as an exchange student until June 29th. You can read up on my first impressions here. In this blog entry, I am looking back on my semester abroad.
Looking back on the beginning of the semester, some of the biggest changes for me were just how scary and new everything was at first. I was scared to go out and order things because I didn't know what to say, I was always nervous about the societal differences and not knowing what was culturally acceptable. By the end I realized as long as I try to understand the culture and make an effort, I can make it on my own. Another thing I learned is to be able to do things that seem big and scary on my own. I was so scared to travel alone that in the beginning I just wanted to travel with my peers and I missed out on some of the places I wanted to visit because no one would go with me. If I could go back I would've told myself I can do it all alone and been brave enough to just go.
#My favorite memories
My best time in the last few months was actually in Bad Mergentheim one of my last week's there. They had a festival in town one weekend and a lot of students and international students went and celebrated the end of the term. There was German music, beer, traditional food, etc. I feel like it was a really good last hurrah and great last experience in my town. The whole town came out to celebrate, and the streets were filled with vendors, games and people.
Another time I really enjoyed was an event that the students hold every year for incoming students. This year there were only 9 international students so they didn’t hold the event at the start of the semester like they normally do, but a few months after arriving they threw a big party. It was so much fun, they set up different drinking games outside the castle and the students were on teams, running from station to station and competing with other teams. It was a really good way to meet other students and also learn a few German drinking games.
#What I have learned
I think this trip has helped me evolve into being more independent. I feel like now that I've done all this on my own, in a country I've never been, not speaking the language, I can do anything. Another thing I learned from being around German students is that I should be more assertive. The students seem to always speak their mind, and I learned that I shouldn't be so passive. Sometimes when there’s a problem or something I don’t understand, I don’t speak up. I’d rather just deal with it and try to figure it out on my own than to complain or ask questions. Being around the German students has shown me that asking more questions and pointing out when things are wrong is okay, and it helps everyone usually. I went back to the states determined to speak up more.
My time in Bad Mergentheim was so much fun. At the beginning I was so nervous and scared for my trip abroad, but after a few weeks I got comfortable and learned how to do most everything by myself. I met wonderful people and got to travel to so many different places. There is so much to experience in Germany, but even visiting other countries is just a $60 flight away. I tried to see all the major cities in Germany on the regular weekends, and then on the study days or longer weekends I would go visit another country. Traveling abroad really opened my eyes to how many people speak English, and made me realize I want to learn a second language. Everyone there spoke 2 languages or more, many people speaking four or five. It made me feel like I really need to learn another language.
Exchange students can join one of our 3 month-long International Programs. Business students can choose the International Program in Business (IPB), which runs three times per year. For Engineering students, we offer the International Program in Engineering (IPE). The classes are taught entirely in English and you can earn up to 30 ECTS in each three-months program.
Exchange students join DHBW Mosbach students, so there is an intercultural mix of students in class. We keep the class size small: you get to know everyone very well and be one tight group during your stay here. Each program includes an Intensive German language and culture course. The programs also include excursions, cultural events and company visits, so you have a great time with plenty of fun and adventure.
The DHBW Exchange Scholarship is provided by the DHBW-Stiftung / DHBW Foundation. With the help of financial contributions from companies and private individuals, the DHBW Foundation’s goal is to strengthen the profile and expertise of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University and to give further impetus to teaching and research. By awarding the DHBW Exchange Scholarship, the Foundation wants to support our efforts to further the university’s internationalization.
DHBW Mosbach has decided to award this scholarship to two students from Oregon State University, Cascades Campus, Bend coming to DHBW Mosbach, as well as two DHBW Mosbach students, spending one semester at OSU Bend.
More information on the DHBW Foundation can be found here.