Student Stories

Xiuhao, University of Hohenheim 

My student life at the University of Hohenheim

My name is Xiuhao Quan and I am in my fourth semester of the master study programme “Organic Agriculture and Food Systems” at the University of Hohenheim. Before I came to Baden-Württemberg, I studied Agricultural Resources and Environmental Science at the Jilin University in my home country China. My professors told me to continue my studies at the University of Hohenheim if I wanted to become an agriculture scientist, since it is the best agricultural university in Germany. At that time, food safety was a very serious problem in China. I wanted to work on my own efforts to solve this problem.
I did some research and found out that the University of Hohenheim offers an international master programme, which is conducted completely in English, so I wouldn’t even have to be proficient in German. The study programme was an excellent match for my career interests. So, I made my decision to apply for it. The admission is quite competitive. Only 30 students per year can be enrolled. You need to pass some English tests to prove your sufficient language skills (TOEFL or IELTS). One important thing for Chinese applicants is that you need to pass a test organized by the Deutsche Akademische Prüfstelle (APS) in China; it is the prerequisite for applying at any German universities.

After two years of studying at the University of Hohenheim I have gained a much deeper understanding about organic agriculture. The thing I like most about my study course is that the university provides lots of excursions to organic farms. We have the chance to talk to organic farmers, and to see how they are operating their farms. I think the high ratio of international students in Baden-Württemberg is the biggest difference between China and the German Southwest region. Around 15 percent of all students at the university come from abroad – actually from more than 110 different countries. Besides, some international scientific conferences are held in Hohenheim, so I have lots of opportunities to join all kinds of activities here.

My life in Hohenheim is quite colorful, because I can make friends with people from different culture backgrounds. The university offers well-paid student jobs which help me to finance my study. As a foreign student, it is necessary to learn some German if you want to integrate into the German culture or find a job in Germany after your graduation. For many jobs you have to be proficient in German.

After my master study I would like to continue my PhD at the University of Hohenheim, since it is a very nice place to study. I love this beautiful and peaceful campus. “Hohenheimer Gärten” is my favorite; it is a spacious and serene park with all kinds of plants near the campus. There are some giant trees, which are older than 200 years. I like to take a walk in the gardens after a whole day of intense study. It is a good place to relax myself!

Published: 17 September 2019

Yannis, University of Heidelberg 

Before starting his Master’s degree in a programme called “Comparative German Studies” at the University of Heidelberg, Yannis Iliopoulos had studied in his home country Greece. Yannis, after completing his studies successfully, is currently working as a mentor and coordinator at Goethe Institute, where he supports young people from all over the world who travel to Germany in order to get to know the country, the German language and the academic landscape.

Why Baden-Württemberg?

After spending one semester in Cologne as an Erasmus exchange student during my Bachelor’s degree programme, I thought about exploring a different part of Germany, so I took a closer look at many different Master programmes, which could help me deepen the knowledge I gained in my Bachelor´s degree. In the end I ended up applying at two different universities, which were matter of fact both in Baden-Württemberg: The University of Heidelberg and the University of Freiburg.

For me it was very important to move to a small town, not a huge metropolis like Berlin, because I think that Heidelberg, as well as Freiburg, offer you a new home where you don’t feel lost all the time. The quality of life is high in both cities. Heidelberg in particular has a lot of ‘green spots’ where you can relax, the architecture is captivating and the University of Heidelberg has a very good reputation worldwide, to which the outstanding professors contribute a lot.

Additionally, the university gives its students the chance to do their own research, which was very important to me as my degree at the University of Athens had a rather theoretical approach. In addition, the classes here are much smaller, which encourages dialogue and communication among students, but also between the students and the professor. Besides, people here in Baden-Württemberg are very polite and helpful. They always give you advice, whenever they can.

What?

What I really enjoyed about my course was the fact that it was a good combination of theory and practice. I also had the chance to do an internship abroad. I went for a month to Romania as there was a cooperation of the University of Heidelberg with different universities in Romania. There I taught German as a foreign language at the University of Bucharest, which was a great work experience.

Student life:

Although Heidelberg is a small city, it offers a high range of entertainment and activities. The nightlife is characterized by numerous pubs, bars and clubs. In comparison to other small cities you can definitely have way more fun in Heidelberg than anywhere else. Also the university itself offers diverse activities, like sports and dance lessons, but also exciting excursions.

Tips for foreign students:

First of all, refresh your German before coming here for your studies. Although most people here do speak English, it is much easier to integrate if you speak German. Besides, you should try to get a lot of work experience while you study. The university is very helpful due to the fact it cooperates with many other universities and companies. Finding accommodation in Baden-Württemberg, as well as in other states in Germany, can take lots of time, so start searching for a student dormitory as soon as possible, be patient and everything is going to be fine.

In the future…

I will continue my work for Goethe Institute during the next few months. Afterwards I could imagine starting my doctorate at the University of Constance

My favorite place in Baden-Württemberg…

… other than Heidelberg? I guess there’s no other place, although I have never been to Lake Constance. I’ve seen some pictures and I think this will be the destination for my next trip. Especially in summer it must be really beautiful. Baden-Württemberg in general is one of the best options to study because it has a great combination of nature and architecture. If Germany, why not Baden-Württemberg?

Published: 15 July 2019

Robert, ESB Business School, Reutlingen University 

Robert is currently studying European Management at ESB Business School in the centre of Baden-Württemberg. After studying his first years at Lancaster University in the north of England, he came to Reutlingen to finish the second half of his Bachelor of Science degree. 

Why Baden-Württemberg?

Lancaster University has had this partnership with ESB Business School for over 30 years. Usually, if you study German in England, you only have one year abroad, however the advantage of this course is that it offers two. My German teacher from school comes from the Black Forest and when I said I was applying here, she very much recommended it. Strangely enough, my best friends’ mum was the first year group who came to Reutlingen in the 1980s. She highly recommended ESB as well, so that’s why I came here.

What?

One of the reasons why I chose the course was the amount of work experience which is helpful when you’re applying for jobs. 

Before the semester of our first year here in Reutlingen started in September, we had the opportunity to attend a language course for about ten days. For me in particular it was very helpful. The language course is really good to meet other international students, as the first semester is very difficult in a foreign language and helping each other along the way makes it easier. You can rely on each other. On the other hand, the course helped us refresh the language and prepare for the lectures. In the first week of the semester there were also lots of events to get to know the German people. They showed us how keen they were to get to know us. I have enjoyed my time here a lot, because we were integrated right from the beginning.

Student life:

I’d say it’s very different to student life in Lancaster because in England you have a lot more people who live on campus. I think one of the benefits of ESB Reutlingen is how close people are. I think Reutlingen is sort of a perfect town because it’s small, so you have the community feeling, we’re like a family. As I said it’s quite hard studying in a foreign language, but especially German students helping you, makes student life much easier and that’s really a benefit of Baden-Württemberg in general.

Tips for foreign students:

Get as much work experience as possible. I did an internship in Münster after my first year in Lancaster. That really helped because, as everyone knows, learning a foreign language in the classroom is different from being in the country itself. I found there were quite a lot of opportunities to gather experience and people are very willing to help. I think German people in general are very enthusiastic and very supportive when you try and speak German. On the other hand, you have to be open yourself and be looking to engage with them. Definitely take all of the options here because that will make your life a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Furthermore, you should be willing to work hard and to carry on even if times are difficult. Stay positive. The people here in Baden-Württemberg are willing to help you. So I think another useful quality is having the confidence to ask people for help. Don’t go to a foreign country and try to do everything on your own.

After my studies…

…I am going to work for HSV in Hamburg. I’m going to do the English social media work. Last September, I was looking for jobs in Germany and in England and I found that there were many more opportunities in Germany. Here you have something called “Volontariat” which is a training course for journalists and communication consultants. In England it’s harder to get opportunities because you have to do several weeks of unpaid work experience.

My favorite place in Baden-Württemberg…

…is probably Heidelberg, which is a very pretty town. At the end of March we also had a cycling tour organized by the students of ESB Reutlingen to raise money for charity, and this year we cycled to Majorca inside two weeks. One of the first two stages was Rottweil. I really enjoyed the Black Forest as it was so beautiful cycling through it. That was definitely a highlight. I think it’s very important to explore an area and to get to know people.

Published: 13 May 2019

Tanuj, University of Hohenheim 

Tanuj did a Bachelor in Biotechnology and a Masters in Bioinformatics in his home country India before coming for his Masters in Bioeconomy at the University of Hohenheim to Baden-Württemberg.  

Why Baden-Württemberg?

A senior in my Bachelors had done his Masters in Hohenheim; that is how I got the idea to have a closer look at the programmes there. I have always wanted more knowledge in economics and with my background the programme in Hohenheim was the perfect fit.

What?

What I like about my study course in Bioeconomy is its interdisciplinary nature – it has elements of agriculture, natural sciences and economics. The course has also allowed me to get a better understanding of global economics and to take decisions based on numbers rather than perception. Moreover, I’ve wanted to work in strategic consulting and the course helped me to achieve that: I am now working as a a working student in a consulting firm.

Student life:

The Hohenheim Campus is really beautiful: You study both in a castle and a modern lecture hall and you are surrounded by greenery. There is enough place for all students to lie in the park. I also find it special that as a student here you can have a great balance between work and study life. In Baden-Württemberg there are abundant opportunities to find a job to finance your studies. Yet, the environment is such that you can really focus on your studies if you plan to go into academics. Student life is affordable in general, I especially like the public transport, it is almost free for students.

Tips for foreign students:

It is important that you are able and willing to adapt to German culture. You have to be ready for surprises and knowing German is definitely  a plus. I recommend to learn German beforehand and do some more advanced courses once here. You should also start building a calendar and take good care of your schedule since in Germany it is important to be on time and to manage your time wisely.

After my studies…

…I would like to work in Baden-Württemberg  since it is a very progressive region and job opportunities are very good, too.

My favorite place in Baden-Württemberg…

is the Black Forest because you can nicely go skiing and hiking there. And of course, I like the Black Forest cake, it is much better than the Indian version!

Published: 08 January 2019

Mozhgan, University of Stuttgart 

Mozhgan did her Bachelors in her home country Iran before coming for her Masters at the University of Stuttgart to Baden-Württemberg.  

Why Baden-Württemberg?

In my study field of Information and Communication Technology, the University of Stuttgart is among the highest ranked Universities in Germany.  My  aunt and my brother were already living in Baden-Württemberg  and they told me the Southwest is, besides having great universities, a very stable and secure place to live.

What?

What I really like about my study course is that it focuses on the technologies of the future.  Studying these future technologies makes it easier to find a good job after my studies.

Student life:

I like the relationship professors have here with their students. It is much easier to get into contact with them than in Iran.

I find student life not so expensive here. As a student you get many things at reduced cost such as public transport, food, student dormitory and entrance to museums and other cultural events. I also think it is fairly easy to find student jobs, at least in my field. I have worked as a students assistant and  as a working student in companies.

Tips for foreign students:

To get first-hand information and insight into student life, it is recommendable to visit Facebook Groups. All the study programs have Facebook Groups where you can ask fellow students if you have questions. The International Office at the universities are also very helpful and they organize events for international students – a great opportunity to make friends.

After my studies…

… I would like to stay in Baden-Württemberg  since I have found many friends here and worked at several companies in the region.

My favorite place in Baden-Württemberg…

is Heidelberg. It is very romantic! In summer it is green everywhere; the river and the castle form a beautiul scenery together.

Published: 01 February 2019

Student Stories, University of Mannheim 

Hear from international students, why they chose to study at the University of Mannheim, one of the nine research universities in Baden-Württemberg.

www.uni-mannheim.de/en/campus/myunima-story/

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