Work Abroad: University of Mannheim (Germany)
How was your experience studying abroad?
Picture this! It is your time outside of a country that isn’t Canada or Pakistan. You pack your bags and mentally prepare yourself to live by yourself for the next 5 months or so in Germany. You’re all ready for the experience of a lifetime and eager to backpack through Europe. You’re 2 months in your study term at Mannheim and the COVID cases just will not stop rising *sigh*. Given the severity in March, all student in Europe was called back mandatorily. I did not get to experience all of that I wanted to, but as a disguised blessing, I experienced something unique and I’m forever grateful for the experience.
What challenges did you experience? How did you overcome them?
Perhaps the biggest problem was the language barrier. Most of Mannheim is either German or Turkish folks. While Mannheim students could speak English, most of the working class could not. I tried to learn the basics of German and as we all know in today’s age, Google is our best friend (and ahmm *spy* ahmm).
Another apparent challenge was tackling COVID-19. As soon as the cases began to rise, UTSC took full responsibility and called us back safe and sound. With proper precaution, we all came back safe and sound. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed positive with COVID-19 one week at home. I quarantined the remained 2 weeks, and am alive and well! 🙂
What skills did you develop in your designated country?
If you feel like your independent, you cannot say that until you manage everything of yours yourself. I learned how to plan travelling, manage budgets and financials, and most of all adaptation. Nothing says adapting like being in a foreign country alone during peak COVID.
What was your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment was from Prague, Czech Republic. My first time in Europe, walking through the city streets, I felt a whole new world surrounding me. The people, the language, the aroma, the culture. Everything so new, yet so beautiful. I’ll never forget my memories of walking through those streets.
What are some tips you wish you knew before going abroad?
The number one advice is be ready to adapt and enjoy your time there because it’ll never be the same again. Yes things might seem all over the place initially, and you might feel a bit anxious. Remember to embrace it and take it head on. Do your preparations in advance, but nothing works exactly as planned. Take is a learning opportunity and emerge from it as a better version of yourself! 🙂