It feels like it’s been ages since the last time I posted here and many things have happened during this time. At the moment I’m finally coming to full realization that my time in Freiburg is almost finished and I have less than 3 weeks left. Looking back I can see that I learned a lot, perhaps not necessarily what I was supposed to learn(concerning my studies), but the whole experience was certainly a rewarding one.
And yet, I must admit there were drawbacks too… It was harder to find a place to stay for the next year in Edinburgh, I was denied some internship and interesting job opportunities due to having to study through June and July and had to spend lots of time away from my friends and loved ones…
Do the advantages of doing an exchange outweigh the disadvantages ? Honestly? I don’t know.
Was it worth it anyway ? Yes. No doubt in that. Positive experiences open your heart and mind to other cultures and people and the negative ones make you stronger and wiser in the end.
Anyway… There are a few things I would like to share with you that I wish I had done or known about:
1. I wish I had bought a printer at the beginning of my exchange. It would have saved me money and time (besides the current printing system in Freiburg was always a massive source of annoyance for me):
2. It would have been a good idea to get a bike. You can get one quite cheap from other students and flee markets and sell it before you leave. Somehow I never got round to it…
3. Don’t expect to automatically receive all the necessary information and be persistent (otherwise you might miss some key-information, in my case, a German course organized by German department and specifically intended for internationals which for some reason is not mentioned in the course catalogue or anywhere else really). Needless to say, the difference between Freiburg and Edinburgh is a significant one. Here you can’t expect that your personal tutor (which doesn’t really exist here) or course organiser will contact you and tell you all you need to know, that pretty much never happens, you have to actively seek out the information yourself which usually means writing lots of emails in German and going to the Sprechstunden.
Last but not least, be brave and don’t be afraid of challenges! Non scholae sed vitae discumus! (lat. We do not learn for school, but for life)