Hallo, Wie geht's?

Hallo from Germany!

My experiences in Germany
Hallo, wie geht’s? This is my first experience as an exchange student from Finland. As a student, my exchange experience has been full of adaptation and growth. Initially unsure about the cultural differences, I’ve gradually adjusted, exploring the city and tackling academic challenges. Here’s a glimpse into my experiences and a comparison of educational systems between Germany and Finland.

Studying abroad is always challenging, pushing you out of your comfort zone and broadening your knowledge and vision. Exposure to different cultures and traditions fosters confidence and acceptance. This semester, I went to Germany for my exchange study program at Technische Hochschule Ulm (THU), located in the southern city of Ulm. Ulm is small and beautiful, and it’s also the birthplace of the famous scientist Albert Einstein. I feel lucky to see the place where such a great personality was born.

Initially, I struggled with courses outside my usual field. The German academic system differs from Finland’s, with long lectures lasting 4 to 6 hours and theoretical, paper-based exams that require memorization. In Finland, as a software engineering student, we focused on practical work, with grades based on projects and assignments. In Germany, exams are frequent, sometimes with two in a single day.Despite the challenges, this experience has given me valuable insights into different education and exam systems.

Exploring German Culture: Adapting to German culture has been easier thanks to the buddy program at Technische Hochschule Ulm. My buddy, a local German girl, has been wonderful, showing me around cities and helping me understand German culture and lifestyle. By meeting and interacting, I came to know How straightforward and disciplined Germans are. The buddy program is helpful for exchange students to integrate and navigate thelocal culture, making stay wonderful.

My buddy invited me, and I attended the German spring festival in traditional attire. Dancing, singing, drinking beer, and playing different games were the main attractions of the festivals. I felt really welcoming. It was a wonderful experience.

The university arranged educational tours, including visits to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, science museums, Linderhof Palace, world’s oldest beer industry, and cities like Munich, Stuttgart, and Augsburg. I discovered Germany’s rich cultural heritage after visiting numerous castles. The beautiful landscapes, large agricultural fields, big industries, and innovation centres were impressive, as was the efficient transportation system.

I also explored cities like Konstanz, Köln, Berlin, Hamburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Nuremberg, each with its unique beauty. Overall, my time in Germany has been an enriching experience.

Comparing Educational Cultures: Germany vs. Finland The hierarchical structure in German education, where professors are formally addressed as “Herr” or “Frau,” contrasts with Finland’s informal approach of using first names. The rigorous exam schedule and emphasis on memorization in Germany create a high-pressure environment. In Finland, the focus on project-based learning offers a more relaxed atmosphere during exams, fostering creativity and practical application.

Conclusion: Exposing to new culture and adapting to new places is challenging and rewarding at the same time. My stay and study in Germany has been challenging but has also broadened my horizons. The differences in educational styles between the two countries highlight the strengths of both systems. The beautiful landscape and scenic view were beyond my expectation. The culture and traditions, beliefs were completely different from my own culture. However, this experience has boosted my knowledge and personal growth, giving me a balanced view of cultural differences. I am thankful to my home university, TAMK, and my host university, THU, for this great opportunity for enhancing my personal and professional growth.


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Ciao! Come stai? Postcard from Italy

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