Testimonials

Sifiso about studying in Wroclaw

 

One word to aptly describe my experience so far is AWESOME. From the first day I arrive at the airport I was warmly welcome by Jagoda, who volunteer her time through the buddy program to integrate me to the life and culture within the city of Wroclaw, which I really appreciated as most communication is done in polish. Wroclaw is the warmest city in the whole of Poland something I treasured much especially as I come from a tropical area. Locals are really helpful albeit not speaking engilsh. Even though the modules I initially selected where not available at the begging of the semester, my academic expectation where greatly met. The Mechanical Engineering Erasmus coordinator, Dr Regucki went beyond the call of duty to ensure that we know how to navigate our way around the campus and access to the learning resources. The infrastructure is really good which boost the newly built library, computer, and conference centre, which my friends jokingly says it has become my second home. Academic curriculum is very impressive as WUT is rated one of the top technical universities in Poland

My whole experience in Poland has evolved from just an European experience to global one because of the array of students on campus. Its no longer about learning about polish people, and neighboring countries like German. On campus we have student from Asia, North America, South America and Africa which poses a challenge to look at issue from a global perspective. This has being an hallmark of my Erasmus experience, expanding on my cultural, academic limitation and the development of coping strategies whenever you are in unfamiliar territory.

 

Kate about studying in Goettingen

 

I am currently completing my Masters in Development Economics at the Georg-August-University Göttingen in Germany on an EU-Saturn scholarship. I arrived in October 2013 and will be here for ten months.

So far it has been very interesting to be exposed to a different academic system. Obviously it would differ from programme to programme, but I have had a bit less coursework throughout the semester than I am used to in South Africa. On the one hand this is great because it gives one more time to digest what you are learning instead of rushing from one assignment to the next, but on the other hand there is more pressure in the exams. There are also many international students in my programme and the course is very internationally-focused, which has definitely helped me to gain a broader perspective in my studies.

Definitely the biggest challenge for me to adjust to has been the weather! It hasn’t actually been nearly as cold as I expected, and the central heating is great, but for a South African it is pretty hard to get used to going more than a week without seeing the sun! However, when it finally snowed it made up for the grey skies. Living in a country where I don’t speak the language very well has also been a bit of a challenge. It can make little things like trying to figure out exactly what I’m buying in the supermarket a bit more difficult. I have been trying to learn German even though my course is in English, but unfortunately my German still leaves much to be desired. However, it has actually been much easier than I expected to manage with my limited German, as within the university environment nearly everyone speaks English and it is the lingua franca among international students.

There are a large number of international students in Göttingen, and the International Office organises a number of trips and events for international students which makes it easy to meet people and make friends. Getting to know people from all over the world – both Germans and other international students – has been one of the best things about my experience so far. In the last few months I have done plenty of the things one would expect to do when going to Germany, like seeing Berlin and various other German cities, drinking mulled wine at the Christmas market and enjoyed a traditional Bavarian Weisswurstfrühstuck (white sausage breakfast), but I’ve also been to a Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ celebration, been introduced to Indonesian food and celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time with Americans. One can’t have these kinds of experiences by simply sightseeing in a country for a few days, and for me it is these experiences and the chance to meet people from all over the world which is the most rewarding thing about living and studying overseas. I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to go for it – it is a unique and wonderful opportunity!

 

Poppie about studying in Goettingen

 

I am currently pursuing a double-degree Masters in Development Economics offered jointly by the University of Stellenbosch and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.  My interests strongly lie in the field of economic development, especially in the economics of education. So this Master’s programme has proved to be particularly enriching, by giving me the possibility to integrate courses that look at the socio-economic issues specifically faced by South Africa with courses that focus on international development in a broader context.

My time in Germany as an Erasmus Mundus student has been a truly rewarding experience. Learning that “Germans value punctuality” is no myth and the exposure to diverse cultures together with the challenge and the fun that comes with learning a new language, and even the European winter (which I now “enthusiastically” embrace) has made this experience a particularly memorable one.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller