by Jana Fischer
In this blog post I would like to tell you about my third theory semester. That was a few months ago - I'm currently in the fourth semester.
In this blog, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my third semester. It’s a few months ago now and I’m already in my fourth practical semester. My course gave the opportunity to to study for a semester abroad at a partner university, which is why I was planning to go the the Oregon State University in the US from January to March 2021. I sent off the application in the middle of last year, a process for which I received support from the university who provided me with all the information I needed. In the first cover letter, I had to explain why I wanted to do a semester abroad and then I had to look into potential universities that offered my courses and list them in order of preference before I was assigned a place in a selection process. Despite the pandemic, the other five students and I heading to Oregon were confident that things would look much better in 2021 and we could look forward to an exciting semester. I was really looking forward to three months of new experiences in a new country and getting to grips with the language.
However, it quickly became clear that things weren’t going pan out as planned. Once the possibility of on-site online classes was scrapped, the trip was abandoned and we ended up spending the third semester at the DHBW. We hadn’t even got round to finding accommodation, organising school-related documents or booking a flight. I was very disappointed, but due to the circumstances, the DHBW made the right decision.
I wanted to give you an insight into what a semester abroad could be like so I asked Ilke Freund to share some of her experiences. Ilke studied International Trade at the DHBW and completed her vocational training at Bechtle in 2020. Between January and April 2019, she was with seven other DHBW students at the Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Note: The photo was taken before the corona pandemic
I asked her about the similarities and differences between studying there and at the DHBW. She said she found that she could integrate very quickly as there weren’t any classes purely for international students. It was very easy to make friends, learn languages and experience American culture as national and international students were in the same classes. Lectures were mostly made up of group work and were very interactive, but she said the amount of work at the GVSU was a lot higher than at the DHBW as the students had to sit more examinations during the semester itself. This meant a lot of preparation work, but the positive was that there was less to do for the final exams. Depending on the university and the country, it could be the case that there are exams to do when returning to Germany as some courses simply don’t exist in other countries or they aren’t recognised by the DHBW. That goes for courses on labour and bankruptcy law as these laws are different from country to country. One of the highlights for Ilke was Spring Break as it gave her the time to travel and get to know the country a little better.
“I can definitely recommend doing a semester abroad, particularly at the GVSU. Michigan is a fantastic state with beautiful nature, But it’s not the kind of place people with associate with holidays, and that’s why it’s great to get to know the real USA. I’d say studying abroad is an absolute must and I would recommend the GVSU to all fans of the US.
If you want to find out more about what Ilke got up to, read her and others reports on the DHBW Mosbach home page where you’ll discover in more detail what the teaching is like, information about travel costs and the experiences that await you.
I would love it if there were another opportunity to go abroad during my studies and I’ll keep you up-to-date on what happens.