Student Stories

Tuelo, University of Tübingen 

My name is Tuelo Nadia Kgomotso and I'm doing my master's in Economics at the University of Tübingen. I am originally from Botswana, a country, which is located in the South of Africa with a size of a little more than France but with a population of roughly only 2.3 million people.

Why Baden-Württemberg?

I first visited Baden-Württemberg in winter 2015. A friend of mine living in Esslingen just couldn’t wait to show me the Medieval Christmas Market.  To say I was impressed would be an understatement. So much fun, activity, culture & food! It was truly a blissful and joyous experience, one I’d never witnessed anywhere else. Following this experience, I proposed a “Baden-Württemberg Road Trip” and it was during this trip that I began to imagine a life here in Baden-Württemberg as a  master’s student, as I was approaching the end of my joint Bachelor studies in Mathematics and Economics at the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom). Already before that time I knew that I wanted to pursue my  master’s immediately after my bachelor’s. Before then, I had always thought I would continue my education in the UK. But with the shocking results of Brexit, there didn’t seem to be much of a future for immigrants wishing to stay there. Germany on the other hand had a real openness to immigration at that time. Since Germany has the strongest economy in Europe, I chose to move here.

About the study course

In order to be accepted for the Economics program at the University of Tübingen, one has to have studied economics, business or a similar study at Bachelor level with good grades (i.e. 2.5 or better) and an understanding of topics relating to Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics (this will be tested in the interview). Moreover, the bachelor’s program should have amounted to 180 ECTS or comparable. Fortunately, however, knowledge of the German language is not compulsory.

What I like most about my course is the flexibility and independence. For example, I am able to take a semester off (“Urlaubsemester”) during the course of my studies in order to gain practical work experience for six months at a company. In the UK, for example, this was not possible. The only way students could get work experience during their enrolment was to do so during their summer break for no more than 3 months. I believe that such an opportunity here gives me a critical edge in not only better positioning myself for the labor market but in also being able to find out which path I wish to take career-wise. Moreover, the study program at my university is quite diverse! I have met students from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, which has contributed to the enjoyable atmosphere of the course. Lastly, the course has a wide range of chairs and modules, which means that one is able to attend a multitude of interesting courses with the option to specialize if they desire to do so.

What I noticed most as a difference was the independence that is given to students to determine how and when they wish to complete their studies. Of course, some regulations exist, however they aren’t as stringent as the ones I encountered in the UK during my bachelor studies, whereby you have to complete your degree within a set amount of time and you have to take these courses every year. I very much appreciate the indolence, flexibility and freedom that we are afforded here as students. Of course, this approach only works for students who are able to discipline themselves.

Integration at the University of Tübingen

The University of Tübingen has a wide range of societies, events, seminars and sports clubs that students can participate in. These are held throughout the year and are always advertised either on the student portal or sent directly to students' emails. For example, I attended a free one-day workshop titled, “Job Application in Germany for International Students”, which helped polish my CV and Cover Letter for job applications. The seminar also held mock interviews, presentations etc. in order to provide us with some useful insights into the steps for securing a job here in Germany. With that said, German people have been the most welcoming of people in my experience and so I found it relatively easy to integrate into German life and culture.

Student life in Tübingen is one of the most enjoyable experiences as 1 in 3 people living in Tübingen is a student. This means that not only is there always something to do with the many societies and events going on but you also feel welcome and that you belong, as almost every other person you encounter is a student. It is truly a great city to live as a student with many places catering specifically to students. And so, you always feel supported and at home. My favorite place to study is in the Bonatzbau as it is the older part of the main library and it is always so calm and serene - perfect for concentration. Moreover, there is a stunning “Renaissance” type mural on the wall one can mindlessly stare at in the middle of their rote memorization. 

My tips for future students from abroad

One advice I have for foreign students wishing to come to Tübingen for their studies is not to hesitate in making the decision to come to study in Baden-Württemberg! Also, you have to start searching for accommodation way in advance as the housing market for students is incredibly competitive! Apply for housing the first chance you get! As a student, one is afforded a multitude of opportunities from career, travel, study etc. I can honestly say that choosing Tübingen for my studies was the best decision I have ever made. Moreover, do some research for the different scholarships available as it is quite easily possible to receive support, if necessary. I finance my studies through a scholarship I received from my country, the Government of Botswana.

What comes next?

After an internship with Bosch in Reutlingen, I was lucky enough to be offered another internship position at Bosch Japan, which I am currently pursuing! After this, I hope to write my thesis in cooperation with another company, graduate and soon after start searching for another position within Germany, preferably Baden-Württemberg, but I am open to other options. The thought of pursuing a PhD did come to my mind; however I feel I still need to gain some more practical work experience before that step.


Published: 05 November 2019

Pavithra, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences 

After studying Electronics and gaining some work experience during an internship at Bosch back in her home country India, Pavithra decided to start her studies at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, where she is currently in her fourth semester of the Master’s programme Sensor Systems Technology.

Why Baden-Württemberg?

First of all, I had many friends studying in Stuttgart, Freiburg and other places in Baden-Württemberg, who told me about life here and of course about the prosperity of this state. Besides, I am very interested in automation and the automotive industry. Since you find lots of global players in this region, this was one of the main reasons for me to choose Baden-Württemberg for my studies.

What?

If you are thinking about studying Sensor Systems Technology, you should be open to all sorts of science, because it’s a multidisciplinary course. So you have to be open to chemistry and a little bit of biology and not only to physics, since sensors are not used in a particular field but are needed in different areas. So I think a person who’s planning to study this course should have interests in various science subjects.

This is basically what I like most about my study course: It does not only give me knowledge in one particular field; it offers me a wide open knowledge in other fields like biology and chemistry, which gives me lots of options for my future. I have the possibility to find out what I like and proceed with my career in the field I like best.

Besides, we have a course called Intercultural Communication in our fourth semester, where we are grouped with people from different cultural backgrounds, for example two Germans and one Non-German. The course is compulsory for all international students who come to Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, since it helps a lot to get to know the German culture. When you are here for the first time, it is normal to have some fear. Even though you know the language a little bit, it is really hard to integrate in the first semester. So this course really helped me a lot to understand people here much better. They became good friends of mine and we often meet outside university.

Student life:

Student life in Karlsruhe is really good, because there are lots of students compared to other cities. This makes it pretty easy to integrate due to same age or same interests. We also have a party at the beginning and the end of each semester, where all students go to. Actually it’s for both, the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The dorm facilities are really good and it’s not that hard to find an accommodation. Also, the International Office helps with all questions concerning scholarships. If you have any problems in managing your budget or your study finances, you can find help there. They can tell you which scholarships are available and how to apply for them. At the end of your first semester, you have the chance to apply for a scholarship for one year, if you are under the best two percent of your study course. This scholarship is not provided by the university, but by external sponsors.

What differences did you notice compared to your home country?

The main difference is that I feel like everything is more organized here and you have to take responsibility for your own duties. Back in India, people used to guide me in what to do and for every step I got guidance, but here I do everything on my own. Apart from that, I didn’t really notice something like a cultural shock due to the experiences which I made at Bosch.

Tips for foreign students:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! When I came here, I initially didn’t know who to ask or how to ask, I mean, whether it is correct to ask in that way. But don’t be afraid, people are there for you. Especially the International Office helps, since they try to make it as easy as possible for incoming students. When I first came here, everything was new for me and I had never been outside my home country before. So of course I was scared, but within a few days I became comfortable with Karlsruhe. Now it has become my second home. I think initially it is always difficult when you move to a new city, it is challenging, but you have people to help you out. It may be hard in the beginning, but it’s really good in the end! Maybe Karlsruhe will become a second home for you, like it is for me.

In the future…

… I am planning to work here for a year or two and then go back to India, because I have learned a lot here which I would like to implement back in my country.

My favourite place in Baden-Württemberg …

… is of course the Black Forest, because it is really nice during summer and I definitely would like to see it again before summer ends. For me, there’s no better place in Baden-Württemberg to spend time with friends.

Published: 01 October 2019

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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