Erasmus Student Exchange Report Winter Semester 2016 Gabriella Stephanie Ivana Putri
Erasmus Student Exchange Report Winter Semester 2016 Gabriella Stephanie Ivana Putri
By this report and evaluation, I summarized my semester abroad in Westfälische Hochschule, University of Applied Science, Bocholt, Germany during the summer season from April to July 2016.
This program brought so many experience into my life, especially a new experience within study, had a chance to make friends with new people from all over the world, and also had a new life experience as I lived alone in here without my family and friends. I also had a chance to learn about the cultural differences, not only the environment but also all about the people and societies. Before I came to Germany, I had no clue at all about living and studying in here, but then suddenly the time came when I got the opportunity to study during the summer semester in Germany, besides I also had the full scholarship from Erasmus+. I have to thank a lot to my university, my Dean Mr. Dr. Eko Widodo and also my lecturer Mr.Dr. rer. Pol. A.Y. Agung Nugroho, because they brought me the chance to experience this semester abroad.
I had the experience to study something that I did not get in Indonesia, I had the chance to join the International Week that held at school, I had the chance to travel around Europe, and many things that I would never imagine before. Summer 2016 was the best time in my life so far. If only I had a chance to return back time, I would really want to repeat it again because I really enjoyed the time every second of it.
This report will tell you about my experience during my study in Westfälische Hochschule, Bocholt. The first part is an introduction, then we will continue to the studying part in Germany that include overview about Westfälische Hochschule, all of the courses that I’ve been learning in here, and also my studying experience. The third part is about cultural exchange, and last but not least the travelling part.
- Studying in Germany
2.1 An Overview about Westfälische Hochschule, Westphalian University of Applied Science.
According to their website www.en.w-hs.de, Westfälische Hochschule is regional university in a globalized world. They have a fundamental cornerstone of the university self concept which is a qualitatively-oriented internationalization strategy is an essential component for the university’s development. Education, training, and research are all oriented towards internationalization thereby underlining its importance through this process, internationalization becomes a form of representative cross-sectioning. Westfälische Hochschule were established between 1969 – 1971 and emphasis high quality, practice-oriented education. They are called “Fachochschulen” in German that are generally described as University of Applied Science. They have 8 Departments and offering more than 30 degrees study programs. Departments in Gelsenkirchen are Mechanical Engineering and Facilities Management, Electrical Engineering and Applied Natural Sciences, Informatics and Journalism, and Business Studies. Departments in Bocholt are Business Studies and Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering. Departments in Recklinghausen is Business Law and Business Engineering. They have international partnership with foreign universities, exchange students from abroad, periods of study and internships spent abroad by their students. Key data:
- About 7500 students, among them are 340 international students
- Students from Germany and from about 40 countries of the world
- Co-operations with more than 60 universities worldwide
- Over 200 professors
- About 180 scientific assistants
2.2.1 International Management
International Management was divided into three different courses and lectured by two different Prof. Dr. Katrin Hansen and Prof. Dr. Raymond Figura.
- Cross Cultural Management.
It was learning about how to manage working teams in ways that considers the differences in cultures, practices, and preferences of consumers in a global or international business concept. During the class, we had a lot of group discussion that were consisted with all of the students from my class and there was always changing group in every discussion, so besides we could know each other better, we also had a chance to experience working at the group with different people from different countries.
It was learning about management in theories, like the strategic management and stuff. We were also discussing about our simulation game (the Management in practice) with our group.
In this class we had a small group that was consisted by 5 people. Then we had a strategic business simulation game. In each group, they had their own computer which has a program called TOPSIM. The game was about how to sell a printer not only in your own country but also in other countries. There were 5 different countries and each group got 1 country and they had to maintain it until the end of period. Our task were to sell the printer not only in our region but also in other region, maintained it to gain profit, we had to calculate and predict it very carefully to prevent our company from deficit and broke. By the end of the semester we had a big presentation about our company and we had to explain to the lecturer and the other groups about what we have been through during the periods of time.
2.2.2 International Economics
We learned about international trade, the trade policy, the history about exchange rate regimes, exchange rate system, current account, the trade theory and many more. We had two different professors that taught about different topics and also we started this lecture from the middle part, so this subject was quite complicated. But by learning this subject now we know about international trade and economics and their affects to the world.
2.2.3 International Marketing
It was learning many things about marketing from the basics and also the new theories about marketing. We also had a group work. We were divided into a group, and each group had a different companies to compare. The task was about comparing two different companies which were working at the same industry for example Zara vs H&M, and we had to find their different strategies in program, process, and potential, and by the end of the semester we had to present our research to the professor and other groups.
2.2.4 German Basics as a Foreign Language
Since we did not have any experience in studying German Language, so me and all of my friends from Indonesia and Vietnam had the German Basics (A1) to study during this semester. The basic level was about daily activities, so it is not only gave us a new experience in language but also helped us to use it for daily conversation.
2.3 Studying Experience
I had an international class in Bocholt, that all of the student were studying International Management in English. Although I had several classes, but all of the students were same in every class. From the incomings students there were from Indonesia, The United States (USA), Spain, Hungary, and Vietnam. The Germans students were not only from Germany but also from other countries like Turkey, Ghana, and Czech Republic. It was a really multicultural class and the were very open minded about the cultural differences. We also had a lot of group discussion that were consisted by mixed students so we had a chance to know each other and about their country and by the end of the semester we knew each other very well.
There were several differences about studying things between in Indonesia compare to Germany. First of all, there were no absence in every class so it depends on our own to attend the class. Second, there were a lot of group discussion about some topics and problems so it led us to be more active in participating in the group and also it made us to have more time to talk to each other in class. Third, we only had an hour or one and half hour to do our final exams, and that was pretty hard for me because it made me nervous and lost my focus especially when it came to the subject that had two different professors, because they were separating the question sheets so you had to do two different types of questions in one exam. I also was pretty surprised when I knew that in Germany they only have like 3 to 4 classes in one semester because in Indonesia we always have at least 4 classes in one semester up to 8 classes. All of my friends who were studying in International Management major also have to do studying abroad in the fifth semester to any university around the world and it’s quite interesting for me because if only everyone in our university especially our major (International Business) had a chance to study abroad it would be great because we could gain a lot of new experiences during the studying abroad. About the lecture there were not really different between in Indonesia and Germany. They were very punctual at time and that made us always came to the class earlier.
Business Simulation Class (Management in Practice) was the most interesting class for me in here. It is because that this class was so different and I never had class like this before. It was a practical class and I had one group that was consisted by 5 same people from the very first beginning until the end of the semester. So we had like a computer that have a program called TOPSIM. We had to maintain our company in order to sell the printer not only in the local country but also we had to expand our company to the foreign market and competing with the other companies from the other groups. That program have a lot of prediction from the raw material, sales, promotion, inventory, technology and ecology, training program for workers, advertisement, transportation and many more, and we had to calculate every single point of it. This program made us to learn how to maintain some company and take into account of every single thing to gain more profits and also expanding the company by bidding with our competitors and many more. By the end of the semester we had to present the journey of our company, explained from the very first beginning to the end of periods, gave all of our prediction in SWOT analysis and all of the data that we got through the process. Some practical game which is very helpful for us for the future. German class was so interesting too because I learnt a lot about basic German. It was really helped me so I could practice it in daily conversation. Now I can understand some of basic sentences and sometimes I could answer it in German too. The International Economic was the hardest subject for me, because in Indonesia I only got the very basic economic subject. This subject has two different professors that taught different topics and it started from the middle chapter of the book, because the German student already got the beginning chapters the semester before. Although it was pretty hard for me but I gained a lot of knowledge in macro economics because I have already learnt it in Germany.
- Cultural Exchange
During my stay in Germany I had a lot of experiences, not only from my German friends but also from my other friends from other country like the United States (USA), Spain, or Hungary. I learned a lot about how to be on time and how to speak directly to the point to the others. I also had to adapt with the road side because in Germany they are using the right side. For daily transportation I always used bike that I got from school, and at first we got the bike training lesson from the police about how to ride safely in Germany, all about the traffic rules, and any other rules which are important in here. It took a while for me to adapt with the roadside because in Indonesia we always use the left side of the road. The other thing about transportation in Bocholt is they are really appreciating the bike user. Bocholt also have buses for public transportation that were operated from Monday to Sunday from 5.30 in the morning until 7 pm. Sunday is a public holiday, so there were no stores or grocery stores that opened on Sunday. The people in Bocholt were really nice, some of them were speaking English or sometimes if they are not speaking English they would also try to speak to you by body language or with a little bit German language. I have to admit that the language was the biggest obstacle for me, but by the time passed by, now I could understand some simple or daily sentences. I also knew some culture from other countries. For examples like Spain, they also have a problem with “on time” like in Indonesia or I’ve been celebrating the independence day of America (The 4th of July) with the way Americans celebrated it. For me I did not face a lot of differences about the cultural thing because I used to live in a mixed culture in my family. So I could easily bond with my friends from the western culture without any culture shock. And also now I get used to eat typical Germany’s food like currywurst with pommes frites (sausages with curry sauce and french fries) , döner (or kebab), or everything that contain potatoes. Basically lived in Germany changed my life forever and I got so many lessons for examples the perks of living alone in foreign country without any family or closest friend, to take care of my self alone when I am sick, and how to solve some problem by myself.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Bocholt a lot with my friends from Germany, Spain, and The USA. Almost everyday after school or in the weekend we spent our day together in my friend’s place. We also spent our time at Aasee the lake when the weather was good by playing fußball (football), volleyball, Frisbee, or sometimes just relaxing, played bowling or darts, had a bbq party almost every week, a house party or spent our time at the bar called Freundenhaus. It was really sad and hard for us when we had to say goodbye to each other because almost everyday in 5 months we were together and we had a really great time and a lot of stories as well.
- Travelling Around Europe
I also had a lot of travelling experiences. I’ve been to many cities in Germany (NRW Region) such like Düsseldorf, Köln, Osnabrück, Munster, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Essen, Oberhausen, Duisburg, and Xanten. Since I did not have any semester ticket, so it was really expensive for me to go to the other city because Bocholt is quite far from the other cities in NRW (Bocholt is more to the north, so close with the Netherland). I’ve also been to Dinexperlo, it was a place which is located in a border between Germany and The Netherlands. I was also had a chance to visit Berlin and I really love it. There’s a lot of historical places and also they have a lot of art places which I love it very much. My travelling journey was begun from Paris on the last week of semester because I did not have any class during that week, so I decided to go to Paris with my friend. I spent about 5 days in Paris so I got a lot of time to explore around the city. Of course, I have been to many famous places like the Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro, Musée du Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, The Disneyland, and the other famous places. The highlight on my Paris holiday was I got the chance to watch the final between Germany and Slovakia at the Eiffel Tower Fan Zone Paris. It was really great because many people from Germany came to Paris to watch the match together, singing, and dancing. My second trip was I went to Italy for 5 days. I went to Venice at the first day and was trying the Gondola around the beautiful Venice. Then, I went to Florence. The architecture of the city is so beautiful and there’re also a lot of historical places as well. On the third day, I went to the Pisa Tower and the beautiful Rome. In Rome, I went to the Colosseum and The Vatican City. I had a really great feeling when I came to the Vatican because finally I had a chance to visit the most important places for the Catholic’s people ,but sadly I had not had a chance to join the mass. Rome is a really beautiful city, but I could not visit a lot of places in Rome because I did not have much time in there. Milan was the last city I visited in Italy and it was pretty nice there. Basically I like Italy but the weather was so hot and humid, so I did not really enjoy my time there because I was sweating all day. My last trip was The Baltic Sea trip. I went to Stockholm in Sweden, Tallinn in Estonia, St. Petersburg in Russia, and Helsinki in Finland. This trip was different because I went to several countries by cruise through the Baltic Sea for a week. I went to Stockholm on the first day and I was strolling around the city, then started to enter the cruise by the evening. The cruise was so big and it has a lot of facilities like several types of restaurant, bar, sports center, and the duty free shop. I arrived in Tallinn in the morning on the next day, then I started my medieval journey through The Old City of Tallinn. It was really interesting because of the old building and architecture and also we can still feel the medieval atmosphere in The Old City of Tallinn. On the third day, I went to St. Petersburg in Russia. I never imagined that it could happen in my life. St. Petersburg was really nice and cheap, and I really love the food. There’s a lot of museums and other famous places to visit, but I did not have enough time because I only had the 72-hours free visa in Russia. On the next day, I went to Helsinki. Helsinki was nice and the best thing was I had the chance to visit Kiasma Art Museum. The art exhibition was so cool and beautiful. Again, I only had 5 hours in Helsinki because I had to enter the cruise to get back to Stockholm then back to Germany. And this was my last trip before I get back to Indonesia.
This student exchange program changed my life forever. I have never imagined that I could have a chance to spend the whole summer 2016 studying in Germany. I was very happy and satisfied with the experiences. I got a lot of new experiences with studying, travelling around Europe and also got a lot of new best friends as well. If I could turn back time, of course I would be so happy to rewind all of it because I was really enjoyed every moment of it. This program has a lot of good things, so it would be very good to the next generations. I got something that I did not get at my home university and they are really useful for my knowledge. This student exchange program was really a big opportunity for me. Once again, thank you very much to Atmajaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Mr. Dr. Eko Widodo as my Dean, Mr. Dr. rer. Pol. A.Y. Agung Nugroho, and Erasmus+ for gave me a chance to experience this student exchange program in Bocholt, Germany.