Erasmus Student Exchange Report Winter Semester 2016 Marcel Liawnardo
Before I got an opportunity to study abroad in Germany this year, I have only dream to go there just for traveling. I always think that studying in Germany or Europe is very expensive. I must think about how much money which I spend there such as airfare, living cost, insurance, and soon. However, this year Erasmus+ would grant for the airfare and the living cost for 4 months. Erasmus+ gave 1.100 Euro for the airfare and 800 Euro for the living cost per a month. When I heard about those, I tried to apply this scholarship and I was so thankful to God because I could go to Germany to have a semester of studying abroad. I studied International Management in Bocholt Campus during 4 months. I also got so many experiences and new insight about Germany and Europe. There were some facts that I couldn’t know and understand before. Nevertheless, when I entered to real situation and having social interactions with the people, I got a new viewpoint, especially the cultures an the lifestyle which I couldn’t get from books or lectures in university.
B. Studying in Germany
- Westphalian University of Applied Sciences Overview
Westphalian University of Applied Sciences (Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen, Bocholt, Recklinghausen; Westfälische Hochschule) was founded on August 1st, 1992 and has headquarter in Gelsenkirchen. All campuses are located in Nordrhein-Westfalen state which is the most populous state of Germany, approximately 18 million. All campuses of Westfälische Hochschule comprise 8 departments that offerings more than 30 degree study programmes. Here are some key data of Westfälische Hochschule:
- About 7,500 students, among them 340 international students
- Four campuses
- 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
- International Management
This course consisted of 3 courses such as Cross Cultural Management, Normative and Strategic Management, and also Operative Management and Controlling. In Cross Cultural Management I learned about challenges and prospects of globalization, cultural differences, cultural intelligence, and managing multicultural teams. In Normative and Startegic Management I learned about the basic principles of management, stategic options, stategic choices, and strategic programs. In Operative Management and Controlling I learned how to doing a business by running a virtual company.
2. International Economics
This course talked about exchange rate systems (fixed and floating exchange rate), from the history until how the pegged (fixed exchange rate) break. Also, it consisted of trade theory, trade policy, foreign direct investment, and economics of scale.
3. International Marketing
In this course, the lecturer divided the class into some small groups. Each group got different topic from other groups about 2 similar enterprises and must presented their comprehension according to international marketing startegy (potential, process, and program). Some topics that offered such as Apple iPhone VS Samsung Galaxy, Audi VS BM, and H&M VS Zara.
4. German Basic
This course taught us everything about German from the basic level (A1). We learned about the greetings, time, and artikel (nominativ and akusativ).
5. My Study Experience
The class of International Management in Bocholt Campus was not a big class. It was only consisted of one class for one batch around 20 to 50 students. Actually, I prefered the way to study here than in my home university. First, I only need to do one exam during a semester (final exam), beside every student can choose when they want to do an exam. I surprised when I know some of my German’s friend will take an exam on September 2016 and March 2017. If you failed on your exam, you also can take another chance when the exam is available. Second, there was no absence system, but the students still have inisiative to attend the class. Even they did not attend the class, they still study at home, read some tasks or journal, and submit the assignment. Shortly, I can say that the students have responsibility of their study. Third, every student could speak to lecturer freely about their idea, suggestion, critique, and disaggrement. It is very contrast if I compare it to my home university. As long as I have taken my education from elementary school until university, almost of our teacher or lectures are dislike when be interrupted while speaking, break their opinion, and when the student looks more understandable than them. From my experience of studying abroad, I have looked for several time when German students disproved the lecture and the respone of the lecture still postive.
C. Cultural Exchange
During 4 months living in Germany, I really learned how to valuing time. German are punctual people. I could mention it by not only read it from literatures, but also I encountered it. From my Cross Cultural Management course, one of German “kulturalstandards” is strict of time management. Someone that is being late for only 1 minute would not treat valuing the time. The way of German value the time is reflected on German’s public transportation such as bus, train, tram, and metro. All of public transportations are connected to the integrated system. It also helped me as an exchange student when would take public transportation. I could track when the bus or train come, in which platform, and how long the delay. This condition is very contradictive in Indonesia. Indonesia, especially Jakarta faces traffic jam every day and our public transportations are not available to handle it yet. If we try to be more valuing time and more discipline, I’m sure that Jakarta will be better.
When I was in Germany, I also spared my time to travel in Germany and some European countries. I went to some big city in Germany such as Köln, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Münster, Dortmund, Aachen, Hamburg, München, and Berlin. In the other hand, I also went to another countries such as Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, and Greece. The most unforgettable moment for me is when I watched UERO 2016 live in Parc des Princes, Paris between Northen Ireland VS Germany where Germany won the match. From childhood, I always dream to watch international football match like World Cup, Euro, or Champion League directly from stadium. Finally, the dream came true when I had studying abroad this year. When I was traveling around Europe, I compared every aspects from city to city like the wheater, public transportation, living cost, cleanliness, and easiness for tourist. According my journey, I put Zürich as the cleanest city because I couldn’t find any waste there. However, the living cost in Zürich and others city in Switzerland is very high. As I know, Switzerland is not part of European Union so it makes that country has highest living cost. For the easiness for tourist, I put Netherlands in the first rank because as long as I ask the person there, everyone could speak in English, so tourists from around the world could go there since they can speak in English. For Germany, I put it for the best public transportation. As I mentioned it above it was so easy to travel with German’s public transportation because it has integrated system as well as the train in Germany is the most enjoyable train for me.
My experience of studying abroad in Germany has changed my life. I got many new knowledges about Europe as well as I learned new cultures there. After finish this program. I will try to get a scholarship of my master degree in Europe, especially in Germany.