Hello my name is Gina, Oregon State University is my home Campus, I am attending Duale Hochschule Baden-Wüttemberg in Germany which is my host University.
#Why I went abroad for a semester
My motivation for studying abroad has been to experience all the differences living in another culture brings, for example the customs, language and food. Studying International Business in a foreign country such as Germany with other International students can teach you about their daily lives in their country. This experience will also educate the student about themselves.
My first days in Germany were intimidating because I had never left the United State before and never traveled alone. The train system is a bit confusing at first, but everyone is very helpful especially if they can speak English or I can speak German. The biggest challenge for me at first was the communication barrier.
My first contacts with my roommates went well, they are all students at the University, but we were not sharing the same curriculum. My roommates welcomed me to Germany by picking me up at the train station, making me pizza and giving me a beer. Everyone is thoughtful and accommodating.
In the first few days in Bad Mergentheim I was walking around town to familiarize myself with my surroundings when a gentleman started talking to me in German, I said “I am sorry I don’t understand”, he asked “where are you from” in English, I replied “I am from the United States”, we continued to talk to each other about family, school and politics for about twenty minutes, but he had to go and walk his dog. It was a great conversation with a total stranger that became a friend.
#New and different
It is very scary to be away from everything you know in your daily life, such as your family, friends, school, and general knowledge about your surroundings. When settling in a new city even the simple things like where the stores are located when you need to buy your essentials can be scary. However, after a few days you start to adjust to the changes in the environment.
The biggest difference in studying at DHBW and my home University is the course schedule for example, at DHBW class is all day from 9am till 1630 with breaks and lunch. Each business course during the term is approximately a week long, so a lot of information is covered in a short time. At my home University, our business courses are only 1 hour and 50 minutes twice a week for ten weeks. Another difference is that some of my classmates are International students from all over the world.
A typical day during the week in my semester abroad is getting up at 630 getting ready, eating breakfast, being at school at 9 till 1630 then eating dinner with friends, walking around, doing homework/studying then going to sleep. On the weekends, I have time to travel to nearby towns and countries to enjoy the new surroundings and experiences. During the term, there are a few excursions that are taken with the school that are also fun and educational. I like a lot of things about Bad Mergentheim but what I like the most is the nature in the city, DHBW is built in a castle and is surrounded by a beautiful park. It is spring time now, so all the flowers are blooming, trees are blossoming and birds are chirping.
#Germany and the Germans
Germany has a diverse population, in the time that I have spent here I believe that people here genuinely care about each other. For example, I was lost at the train station and a woman came up and asked me if I needed help finding the route, I was so grateful that she helped me. Walking around town individuals will say hello and good morning with a smile, it makes me feel welcomed to the community. The biggest shock for me so far was the store hours and operating days of the stores, most stores close at 1900 or 2000 pm and are closed on Sundays and all holidays. Shopping can become a challenge with a busy schedule, so for me it is a necessity to plan for my shopping schedule.
I am enjoying my semester here at DHBW, Germany.
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.