Report November - Margarita Nadelyayeva
How was your first month of study at FHWS?
The first month of study at the university was elusively fast: from the first days, studies took up most of my time and completely grabbed all my attention. Lectures, workshops, additional tutorials, as well as German lessons occupied every day, leaving very little free time for sports and entrenching information at home. However, these academic hours fit very harmoniously into the overall picture of the week’s events, considering that at least once a week various student organizations conduct many activities: going to the ice rink, evening stand-up shows in a local pub, evening barbecue on the university lawn, hikes around Schweinfurt, and also other meetings of completely different formats. Thus, I devoted October and November to study, but in my free time, along with my friends, I did not forget to discover such a different Germany.
What seemed to you completely different in the German education system compared to education system in your home country?
Earlier, I did not study at the university in my home country. I entered a German university directly after the school, and perhaps this does not allow me to fully compare the system of higher education in Kazakhstan and Germany. Nevertheless, for myself, I was able to identify some aspects in the German education system at the university, which greatly simplify the process of knowledge assimilation:
Firstly, E-learning. This is an online portal, a system of registration for the desired courses, as well as a place, where from the very beginning of the semester, you can find any educational material published. My school also tried to create such an educational platform so that it was easier for students to engage in self-education outside the school, but this was unsuccessfully. Here in Germany, where self-education and independent entrenching information is considered 50% success, E-learning is going great.
Secondly, there is no attendance register. I agree that this can be considered from two sides: both “+” and “-”. Nevertheless, comparing with the experience of my friends who are studying at universities in Kazakhstan, or Russia, where attending lectures immediately affects student performance, in Germany, education is based on the student’s personal choice. Of course, you may not attend lectures at all, and then stress before exams or, conversely, go to university on scheduled times. In my case, the absence of the attendance register positively affects the ability to attend lectures by professors, regardless of am I on the list of students of this professor or not.
Thirdly, the technical equipment of each lecture hall. It doesn’t matter: is this a class for 15 people or 115, each lecture hall is equipped with a very high technology: with a good lighting system, clean fixtures and fittings, as well as many projectors.
Did you manage to make friends with German and international students?
For this month, of course, I managed to make good acquaintances with people from around the world, this might logically develop into good friendship in the future. But let's not forget that, due to a different origin, international students have a different culture, mentality, as well as views on life in comparison with students from Kazakhstan. That is why, I am still much more comfortable spending time with people from my home country.
How good do you understand professors and other university staff? Are there any language difficulties at the university and at home? What is your current German level?
Fortunately, the level of English language knowledge allows me not to encounter problems such as difficulties in understanding and entrenching information. Both at the university and in everyday life, almost all issues can be resolved by explaining everything in English. At the moment, I have a minimum level of German language: I am just starting to learn this culture. But I still hope that in a month, closer to the exam date, I will have the A1 level and the German language will already be given to me a little easier.
Are there any unresolved organizational issues left? If yes, which ones?
The university in many ways simplifies the solution of almost all household and organizational issues, so, by the beginning of October, I had all the necessary documents, and by the first of November I already had a residence permit.
What is your first general impression about life in Germany?
It took a long time to get used to different aspects of life in Germany. For example, you are walking down the street, and shining, benevolent people walking through towards you. Everyone greets you, wishes you a good day, smiles. Nobody hides behind the mask of unkindness and morose attitude, as is customary in my country. Or punctuality, which is everywhere: from people to the work of transport systems. The professor will start his lecture at exactly 14:15, the train will start at 19:13. This systematization of processes and accurate lifetime management greatly simplifies life, you just need to get used to it. Likewise, having missed the right train a couple of times, important material at the beginning of the lecture, and also getting a 30-minutes-walk from the center to the house because of the bus that had already left, I had to get used to and become as punctual as everyone else here :)
What is your first general impression of life in your city?
For me personally, Schweinfurt is a great place to get a high-quality higher education: it's a typical European town from the postcard, where you can find everything for a comfortable life, and which, at the same time, allows you to completely focus on your studies and discover an interesting student life. Perhaps after living in the capital, with a population of 1 million, and then moving to a small student town with a population of about 60 thousand, at times you miss the hectic life of the capital. However, given the availability of comfortable mobility between cities in Germany, I always have the opportunity to take a train and go to larger cities, being in Würzburg (population 120 thousand) in 30 minutes, and in Munich (population 1.5 million) in 3 hours.