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My home away from home

My study abroad semester in Reutlingen spring 2018 - Mehdi Bouazzaoui, ENSAIT Roubaix

I had the privilege of going on the higher education exchange programme in 2018 to Reutlingen, a small city in the south of Germany not far from Stuttgart. But let me tell you a few more of the things I learnt whilst on the programme, that continue to influence me positively today and will help in my future career.

Probably one of the Erasmus+ programme’s most celebrated and spoken-about advantages is the fact that its alumni leave with a network of lifelong friends, learn a new language, and experience a new culture. But what if I said, prior to Erasmus, that I was already that person with friends from all over the world, experience of different cultures – I’m Moroccan, live in France and on top of that I was already tri-lingual at the start of the programme. You’d tell me, well how could the Erasmus+ programme possibly be any different to what I already knew. Well, let me tell you the difference.

In the University of Reutlingen, I was forced to communicate in languages I wasn’t so fluent in. Whilst hard at first, I eventually learned to hone into that vulnerability and simply accept it for what it is – getting out of my comfort zone. One of the outcomes of this could be noticed in my communication style - my lack of vocabulary made me go to the essential in what I’m trying to say and this ‘honest’ dialogue was reciprocated by others, which actually created deeper, meaningful and much more genuine friendships. I also want to thank so much all the professors that I had in this semester, it was really kind to work with them.

I also travelled a lot, from Budapest to Prague, which it prepared me for my international career. There’s a saying that most people only visit their home cities when people come to visit them, aka you don’t go to visit your local art gallery unless a foreigner is around. Well, I think that would’ve been true of Erasmus had the group and diversity of incoming students not been so large.

Thank you Reutlingen,

، روتلنجن لك شكرا

Danke Reutlingen,

Merci Reutlingen

My study abroad semester in Reutlingen spring 2018 - Mohamed Essahal, ENSAIT Roubaix

My School (ENSAIT) in France offered me an opportunity to do a semestre abroad, and I choosed the university of Reutlingen for its courses (International Fashion Retail).
I had the chance to spend about 5 months in Reutlingen, everthing started to go so fast , week after week after lecture after party after visits , that is how I would describe my semestre in this city well located.

I had only 3 days lectures per week, so I had enough time to visit and discover this country , I visited Stuttgart, Munich, Karlsruhe and Berlin.
From the Erasmus point of view, everything is so temporary. It is an important part of the charm of the experience. There is never enough time for everything :studying, learning, partying, meeting people , getting to know each other, explaining everything about you and your home country and hearing and understanding the others' stories, especially when you live in student residence such as «The aquarium» where I was living because it helped me a lot to be integrated and I think I was so lucky to had a room in this residence.

I have no regret about this semestre, everthing was perfect, the courses were very important and I've learned a lot from this experience which is one of the best choice I have ever made.

My study abroad semester in Reutlingen spring 2018 - Zemzmi Alaoui Amine, ENSAIT Roubaix

I am very honored and grateful, getting the chance to be a part of this organization, coming to Reutlingen University was not on my first plan however, after my spending this great period, I discovered that it is the perfect choice.

First, the studies was very professional, the quality of what we studied , and the kindness o the teachers , Mr. Koksal , Mr. Friese, Mr. Muller and Mrs. Webber, I had the chance to be their student, they surely managed to influence me with their skills and their information, I have to say that Reutlingen University has one of the best studying systems I have ever seen, focusing on the quality of the information, not only the quantity, we have been studying things that we will be facing someday in our future job.

Secondly, our German classmates were very nice as well, they were ready to help us whenever they had the chance, special thanks to Toni Bokenbrink for his help and his enormous efforts, I got to say he is the perfect buddy. At third comes the University, the school life was amazing, I did a lot of activities and sports, barbecue, football, volleyball, the CARE parties in which I left a lot of memories, the city of Reutlingen isn’t that big, but it has her cuteness and beauty, I had the chance to travel and see a lot of places, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin, Switzerland, Czech republic, hungry…

My period here in this University, in this city will stay in my mind as soon as I am alive, I have known how to live with other people from different part of the world, how to deal, how to negotiate, how to enjoy the time.

Get busy living or get busy dying

The shawshank redemption movie

Thank you Reutlingen

Merci Reutlingen

شُكْراً غُويْتْلِنْغْن

My study abroad semester in Reutingen spring 2018 - Jocylen Collett , Kent State, USA

My semester studying away from my home country (America) was spent at Reutlingen University and this is an experience I will cherish. During my study, I was able to meet incredibly interesting people while seeing and doing new things. My goal coming to Reutlingen was to immerse myself in new cultures and get a taste of the world as a whole. I was able to meet people from countless places and get a glimpse of their culture. I got to know not just Germans, but people of France, South Africa, England, Vietnam, China, and many, many more countries, very well. The diverse exchange program at the University is a brilliant way to allow students to get to know our world and the people in it. It was an eye and mind opening experience, and one I recommend every student should try if they are given the opportunity.

                The university and on campus culture was incredibly helpful in getting to know new people. Events were always made known to the students. From trips to visit a castle nearby or to Croatia, or just watching a movie in a lecture hall, very enjoyable options were often provided.  The university does a great job of embracing exchange students and trying to get them involved. This is something I am very grateful for as it made it possible to feel like I tried every new thing and had every experience I was hoping for.  As the semester closes, the excitement of going home is met with the sadness of goodbye. I am sad to leave Reutlingen and the people I’ve come to know and love. But, I would not have it any other way as this means my experience was memorable and positive.

                Educational and course wise, Reutlingen is challenging but interesting. Coming from a more artistic school made it difficult to switch my brain over to a very practical, business mindset while learning about industry topics. However, this is also something I’m grateful for as it gave me a new arsenal of knowledge. Being a fashion design major at my home university, my studies are typically very creative and open. At Reutlingen, I was able to use my brain in a way different from what I was used to and look at my (hopefully) future job and industry using a broader, but clearer lens.

                Aside from my experience in the actual town of Reutlingen, this semester provided me with numerous opportunities to travel and get familiar with not just Germany, but Europe. Studying here made it easy for me to travel to Italy, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Amsterdam, and several places throughout Germany, including Berlin. Coming from the U.S. where European flights are quite expensive, this would never be possible at such an affordable price.

                Overall, my experience studying at Reutlingen University was positive, life changing, and certainly memorable. Walking home at 2:00 am with a group of people from countries all across the world or running through town for a scavenger hunt with a French girl I didn’t know would later would become one of my closest friends, are memories I hope I never forget. I’ve learned so much about people, cultures, and myself. I was given opportunities to see and do amazing things. For this reason, I recommend any student participate in an exchange semester, and Reutlingen University is a great place to do so. 

           

My study abroad semester in Reutingen spring 2018- Christina Davis, Kent State, USA

My time here in Europe, though short and sweet, has provided me with life changing experiences. Studying abroad pushed me to develop further into an independent adult, to learn new languages, and to take part in new cultures.

I have come to love and cherish Reutlingen and the quiet nature of the town sitting humbly along rolling mountains. I came to value slow and quiet Sundays, as just about everything is closed. Most importantly, I tested myself in ways I didn’t think was possible, life pushed me, and I pushed back.
The professors and fellow students that supported me through the semester, the challenging discussions of political climate and mutual respect, I hope they know how valued they are and how important their roles have been for me.

Besides school work, I was able to spend a lot of time going out and travelling.
Whether it was cycling through Copenhagen at night during freezing temperatures to share a pint of beer with locals, to exploring museums in Malmo, to running around Milan on less than one hour of sleep, and barely missing the bus in Switzerland. To taking risks and renting a car and driving on the famous Auto Bahn, arriving at Paris at four in the morning, drinking wine and beer under the Eifel Tower at midnight with someone I cherish. Heading north to Dunkirk and learning about Operation Dynamo, swimming in the English Channel and to Bruges, to Brussels, and to Luxembourg City. This semester has left me feeling like I have been living a dream and I’m waiting for the moment when I wake up from it. There were many moments that I couldn’t believe where I was and I was at a loss for words.

In the nine countries and countless cities I’ve been to this semester I experienced culture, cuisine, and comradery. I’ve gathered countless stories and memories to share with my friends, my family, and future generations back home.
I cannot possibly provide you with the words to explain who incredible the last five months have been. It has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. This semester has granted me with an international network of friends and its granted me with experience that future employers look for.
I was very hesitant to study abroad, nervous for how I might be perceived and facing challenges in everyday life. But I say to anyone who is thinking of it, to do it. There is nothing else like it in the world and I now understand all the people who told me to jump when I was afraid to.
Mark Twain said it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

My study abroad semester spring 2018 - Manon Geoffray - ITECH Lyon - France

I am student in engineering school specialized in the chemistry of materials textile option, the ITECH in Lyon (France). At the beginning of my second year, we suggested me leaving to make a half-year abroad in Germany. I immediately wanted to realize this exchange which will allow me to study abroad during 6 months without losing time in my studies thanks to the equivalences of skills. I immediately saw the opportunity to have a plus in my CV, to be able to live in another country, discover an other culture, learn a new language and especially live in a country which have a major position in the European Union at the level of the textile industry. In this report, I am going to tell you my experience of 6 months in Germany to the University of Reutlingen.
To come to Germany from France, it has been really easy: no passport, no visa, just a card for sick insurance. I come by car so I manage to take every thing missing in the supposed furnished apartment I rent at the 65 pestalozzitrasse during those 6 months. One thing really complicated here is the payment: first the payment of the flat rent: I need to pay in onetime the overall rents of 5 months and then the credit cart is not accepted everywhere which is the case in my country even for only 1 euro.


When I arrived, I was a bit disappointed to see that all the optional courses I chose months ago was cancelled. And then, I have no choice for the replacement. However, the timetable was nice and leave me a lot of free time to visit Germany and to enjoy the town of Reutlingen. With other erasmus students we went to Karlsruhe, to Stuttgart, to Strasbourg in France, to Lille also in France and to Berlin. I have already been to Germany before this experience visiting Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin and I really enjoyed it. This experience leave me the same feeling about the country: it is a really beautiful one with amazing castle. Indeed, I participated to the visit of the Liechtenstein castle but also I went to the Hohenzollern one. It was amazing. I have a real firm favourite for the town of Tubingen. I also enjoy Reutlingen even if I find it is a quite small city and a little bit shut off.


However I have a bad feeling leaving this place, I regret to not have been really integrated to the university. I was expecting to meet more German students. At the beginning, I though it would be the case with the StudentforStudent organization, which is by the way really really great! And thanks to the treasure hunt organized in town, I believed that a lot of things will be organized. Only few things were organized and at the end of the semester. I things that progress can be done on this point and why not asking the help of the foreigner students which are here to meet German people and to share their culture.
To conclude, thanks for this experience which have been good but could be better with a better integration of the foreigner students.

My Study abroad Semester Spring 2018 - Agathe Bouvard - Itech Lyon - France

As part of my 2nd year of engineering school, I choose to do a semester in the German university located in Reutlingen from March to July 2018. This report aims to share my experience with all future students.

I spent 19 weeks in Germany and these weeks were an opportunity to discover German culture with a total immersion in the country. From my point of view, this is the best way to discover a country, a language and a culture. The practice of a language, even over several years can’t be equal to an immersion experience in the daily life of a country. There are things that German classes will never be able to teach. Art, architecture, the way of thinking, common uses, culinary habits are all things that mobility has allowed me to understand. Living in a country has been an opportunity for me to discover German culture with my own eyes but also to sharpen my tolerance and my critical view of the world. The daily discovery of new habits of life, new ways of thinking, allows getting a critical look about life in France.

During these discoveries, I still had to face hindrances. At a campus party, my bike locker was broken and my bike stolen. This event had a negative impact on my mood and my budget because I bought it new when I arrived in Germany and it was my main means of transport. Other small events put end to end made some days not very good.

This semester abroad allowed me to think about my future professional life. I realized that I would like to do more work where I can manipulate materials, objects, prototypes or samples. It would also be great to combine team work with self-help.

It was very interesting to work in English and with people from another culture, with habits different from mine. After a day of class, I liked the fact that every street, sign, mall, monument and place to see was totally new to me. Walking the streets where every little thing is new and charming was a very pleasant and interesting experience. As a result, my project to work abroad is still in my mind and I will continue to do efforts to make this project possible.

In order to spend a good semester and avoid hindrance, I will advise to gather the necessary documents for visa applications, purchase upstream airline tickets and take any steps in advance to avoid unnecessary delay or hassle. The organization is the element that allowed me to approach all stays (holidays, internships, academic exchange) with serenity and smooth running.

I am satisfied of this Erasmus exchange in Germany because in my opinion, the engineering school gives us the opportunity to reconcile study, internship or work in a company abroad and it is a great chance to be able to perform all these experiments.

My study abroad semester Spring 2018 - Danyan Fan - Donghua University - Shanghai

I am a Chinese exchange student from Donghua University. The six-month exchange study soon ended, and the time of exchange in Reutlingen left a deep impression on my life.

First of all, from the point of learning, my original specialty was product design, and the courses that came after it were completely different from my major. I couldn't understand it in many places, and I couldn’t understand the teacher's lectures. The courses here are biased toward the garment industry. My previous majors tend to draw and design items and model them. So at the beginning, I was very sad when I first started to contact the class. But with the understanding and help of my teachers and classmates, I began to understand the textile and garment engineering slowly.I found that the course was not as difficult as I imagined. The teacher’s class was lively and interesting. The team members also worked hard. I felt a very good learning atmosphere here. In terms of learning, the biggest problem is communication problems.First,we do not understand each other's meaning. This aspect is mainly due to language difficulties, especially since I have never communicated in English before. It is very difficult for me to express myself clearly and accurately. This is also true of our other team members. Because of the involvement of professional knowledge and vocabulary, we often cannot accurately understand each other's meaning.Second,the focus is not the same. We come from different countries. Values vary greatly. Sometimes, one part, one person may find it very important. Another person may feel that it is not important.At last,disagreement on ideas. Everyone thinks differently,especially we are from different countries.Regarding the solution, we discovered during the discussion that although the language is not clear, the drawing is a very clear way. Therefore, when we explain and add drawing, we clearly express our own meaning. Of course, the most important thing is the patience and change of both sides. As far as I am concerned, my English is not very fluent, so in order to catch up with the progress of my classmates as soon as possible, I learn English every day. I also try to learn more about the relevant knowledge to make up for my deficiencies and overcome my own problems. I was very shy and said my thoughts. I am very grateful to the team members for their patience to think with me when I cannot express myself clearly.I also found that each of us is working hard to improve our capabilities and we are getting more and more understanding.

In terms of life, there are many activities in Reutlingen. In class, we seldom held events, but when we arrived here, we participated in a variety of activities. Whether it was the semester travel included in the study program, the opening school exchange program or the Food Street some time ago, it was amazing. I am very happy that this semester has participated in many different activities and experienced the unique customs of Germany. What is more, during this semester, my classmates and I have traveled to other parts of Europe for more experience. This was my first time coming to Europe and I was very impressed by all the countries in Europe. Romantic France. Beautiful Switzerland, gorgeous Budapest, are deeply engraved in my mind. I dare to say that if there is still a classmate to exchange for a worthwhile trip!

[PS: But to go to so many places, the most liked to be Reutlingen, is that its environment is very good. You can sit and listen to the birds and watch the sunset. You will feel peace that you cannot experience elsewhere.] .

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