Erasmus Student Exchange Report Winter Semester 2016 Charoline Karnadi
When I was in High School, I always had a dream to study abroad, but for me, it was kind of impossible because the price of being a student exchange was expensive. When I entered Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia in Business Administration Study Program in 2012, I heard about this chance (Student Exchange Program in Germany). I have told my parents about my wish to study abroad in 2015 to Germany, but because in 2014 my brother entered the Medical School, so once again I should bury my dream for having studying abroad experience, because at that time the Student Exchange Program (SEP) was too expensive for me. Two of my best friends in 2015 went to Germany for participating student exchange program and I was very happy for them, but I also felt sad because I couldn’t join them. In 2015, after they came back from Germany, one of my Lecturer told me that if I want I could join the SEP for free because there was a scholarship from Erasmus+. Erasmus+ would grant us 1.100 Euro for the return flight ticket to Germany and 800 Euro per month during our summer semester program in Westfälische Hochschule. I told my parents about this program and they said that I could join this program. I had a lot of experiences by participating this SEP. Now, I have many new points of view about how to see the differences between many cultures, differences in the learning styles and education systems especially between Indonesia and Germany. By participating this SEP, I also could join World Youth Day in Poland, that I have dreamed since I was in High School too. This report and evaluation summarizes my Student Exchange Program experience during the summer semester in Germany, Westfälische Hochschule in Bocholt from April 4th to July 15th 2016.
2. Studying in Germany
2.1. Westfälische Hochschule, Westphalian University of Applied Sciences – An Overview
According to their website http://www.en.w-hs.de, the Westfälische Hochschule was founded in 1992 under the name of its headquarter Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences. As a state-managed university, the university considers it our responsibility to establish the necessary conditions for practical academic training at our sites in Gelsenkirchen, Bocholt and Recklinghausen in order to secure a base for qualified young talents in their region. The study programmes are characterised by a clear technical- economic profile, which is oriented towards the needs of the economy. This also manifests itself through their close and expanding cooperation with companies in the field of dual study programmes. With further concepts, which received multiple nationwide awards, they have made it their task to promote young people and develop their various talents. As a partner for their region, they do not only set out to support the teaching and learning but also the research. They consider strong research as an essential element of contemporary teaching oriented towards the challenges of today and tomorrow. An important pillar of their research activity is the diversity of topics. They want to further cultivate this variety and simultaneously establish research focuses. Even with a clear commitment to their regional responsibility they are open to the globalised world. International university partnerships, students from other countries, as well as study and internship phases of our students in all continents of the world contribute to the completion of our profile.
- · More than 8000 students from Germany and 50 other countries
- · More than 2000 beginners annually
- · About 200 professors, about 400 employees
- · Cooperations with over 50 universities worldwide
2.2.1. International Management
International management course was divided into three:
- Cross-cultural management was a team building, in this course we learned basics of project controlling and effective communication in global project team, decision making concerning strategic and operational management in all business functions.
- Management in practice. In this course we were directing a virtual company based on a business simulation software. It was a new thing for me, because in Indonesia we didn’t have business simulation software for practicing like we were running a real company. It was a little bit difficult, because the simulation software used the real business rule in Germany, so if we didn’t read the manual carefully to see all the rules, we could go bankrupt on our simulation game.
- Basic Management. This course was dedicated to normative and strategic management. It was planned as mixture of paper-based discussions, lectures, and presentations by students (in teams).
2.2.2. International Economics
In this course, we learned about Facts and Figures, Current Account, Trade Theory, Trade Policy, Purchasing Power Parity, Nominal and Real Exchange-Rate, Covered Interest Parity, Uncovered Interest Parity, Forex Market, Exchange-Rate Policy and Domestic Monetary Policy, Echange-Rate Intervention, Costs and Benefits of Fixed Exchange-Rates, Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes. This subject was divided into two, they were International Economics and International Macroeconomics. International Macroeconomics was the very hard course for every student, many of Germans student also didn’t pass the final exam. For Indonesian exchange studet, International Macroeconomics was also difficult, because we didn’t learn much of macroeconomics in our class in Indonesia while in our university in Germany, we started to learn this subject at chapter 8 and not from chapter 1, so sometimes it was difficult to understand the lectures. It was much better if we have read and tried to understand the previous chapter after we got the book from the library as soon as possible, it could help us to understand what the teacher said during the lectures so that we could pass the final exam.
2.2.3. International Marketing
In this course, we learned many things about marketing. The lecturer asked the students to make groups and then found the comparation between two similar companies and compared the differences between their international marketing strategies, for example Nike vs Adidas or Apple vs Samsung. We did the comparation with very detail point that given by the lecturer, and from every point we should make a comparation and decided who was better at each point and then made a conclusion which one was better from the whole points.
2.2.4. German Basic
Before we attended the German course, the German lecturer conducted a test, to know the students’ German level. The German basic course was given for the students who never learn German or learned a very basic German.
2.3. Study Experience
Classes in international management department in Westfälische Hochschule were generally small, ranging from about 20 to 50 students. Some of the lectures and tutorials were conducted in an informal manner and some were conducted in formal manner, it was according to the lecturer. In one class that I attended, I was schocked when I heard and saw that students address their lecturer by their first names and snapping their fingers when they want the tutor or lecturer came to them. There were no absence for the students, so if the students want to join the class, they will come but if they didn’t want, they could choose not to attend the class. Something that made me surprised was when the lecturers asked the students to read books or journal and they will discuss it for the next meeting, the students there, they had initiative, they did what the lecturers asked them. It was different than in Indonesia, when lecturers ask them to read something sometimes the students don’t read. Lecturers and students sometimes they did discussion during the lectures, even the students can debate their lecturers if they felt they are right. The lecturers there were also appreciated their students, so that was why their students were more brave to argue with the lecturers and gave their opinions. During my SEP, most of all my lecturers didn’t like student who come late and they started the class on time.
3. Cultural Exchange
During my stay in Germany, I saw and learned a lot about their culture, especially about the time. From one of the course that I took the Cross Cultural Management, I knew that German had a strict rule for being on time. They really appreciate the time because of the fact that human could not turn back the time and it become very precious for them. They held an event to celebrate the blooming of the flowers in the spring, because of the flowers didn’t bloom at everytime. The condition that the Germans appreciate the time is really different in Indonesia, because as we all know that in Indonesia we have a word “Jam Karet” because we do not think that time could be so precious.
I also saw, that when the class was started and the lecturers were teaching, most of all students, they really pay attention to the lecturer and tried to focus and concentrate during the lectures. They don’t talk to much to other students during the lectures. They usually have a social time separately, like when there was a group discussion, in the lunch break, and after the lectures. The university even held some parties for their student like campus party where the students could invite another students, have some barbeque and drink together although the event was not held inside the campus. By throwing some events like that the students will be more socialized.
During my stay, I also knew that in Munich, Bavaria, Germany every October there would be a unique event called Octoberfest “Beer Festival”. I saw that beer, wine, and other alcohol drinks were usual and common for them. I think it would be better to know and learn more about their lifestyle before we visit Germany or other countries, because if we do not like beer or wine maybe it could made us feel the culture shock when we visit German for a longer time.
I and my friends we were doing homestay, so we had host parent during our stay in Germany. During my stay, I saw that a lot of people in here they seemed like gardening. It was nice to see their garden with many trees and flowers and the garden look very neat and well maintained. They sometimes decorated their rooms with flowers. The people that I met also love outdoor activity like my host parents they like doing bicycle tour, some people love to play golf. In the university when the summer began usually there would be Campus splash event (canoeing competitions) and after that they can swim.
Being in Germany was really like a big dream for me. In here despite the study time I had, I also travel around Germany. I visited Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund, Munich, Dresden, and Berlin. I could also travel around Europe to Netherlands, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Greece, and Italy. When I was in Paris, France, I had a chance to watch UEFA EURO 2016 directly in the stadium. In Poland I also joined the World Youth Day (WYD) event in Krakow and Wadowice. In Krakow in Campus Misericordiae together with the Pope Francis we had mass together. It was such a precious experience that I could pray together with another Catholic young people from all around the world to praise and worship God. I have some tips and tricks for those who are bacpackers because I was a bacpacker too. First, don’t forget to buy EU package for internet, so you can use your internet for the google map. Download and use Airbnb application or Agoda to find the cheapest and nearest accomodation, it would be easier if it is near with the tourist attractions that you want to visit. A rucksack will be much better to use than another luggage, do not forget to put all your liquids inside the 1 liter plastic bag if we want to travel by plane. We can download Goeuro.com to find the cheapest transportation to travel around Euro. If we are traveling around summer do not forget to bring the sunblock and always beware of strangers and pickpockets expecially in Italy and France.
This program has changed me so much. Through this program I can learn many new things from the lifestyle, culture, education system, history about Europe and try to be more independent in doing many things. I also have chance to see the world with different points of view. This program is really good to be continued onwards for the next students.