On the following pages, you can read yourself what students who spent some time at HsKA experienced:
Serene Chen from Taiwan
Serene Chen from National Chung Hsing University spent an exchange semester at HsKA and was interviewed about her experiences by Ms Barth of SEINT e.V., an association for students of the Faculty of Management Science & Engineering at HsKA. The interview is available in Chinese language here
Hong Tsu-Fang from Taiwan
Home University: National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Field of Study: Economics
Degree intended: International Program
Number of semesters: winter semester 2013/14
Period of time: 01.10.2013-14.02.2014
Studying in Baden-Württemberg, Germany was an unforgettable, fantastic, amazing experience. Before coming here, I was thinking how to demonstrate our home country and how to make people impressive.
First of all, the food is always a great starting topic to know each others culture, and I brought some sweets, such as Taiwan-shaped cookies, sweet potato candies, instant soup etc. Second, the language is a necessity to learn well before coming, but I didn't have much time preparing it so that I always had a problem to deal with my required documents with the government as well as the Studentenwerk. However, there's one thing that impressed me much, Germans commonly have good English speaking. As a result, there're seldom big problems to deal with my daily lives here. On the one hand, I'm highly appreciated that there're not so much communication difficulties all the time. As a result, I made up my mind to learn German well so as to have deeper understandings of Germans' mindsets. After a half year, I can finally have short conversations with people as well as doing shoppings in German. Furthermore, I also tried asking some questions in German in classes.
As far as the studies here are concerned, the International Economics has impressed me the most. It was because that our professor Dr. Hagen Krämer can always have his lectures covered thoroughly. For instance, the European Monetary Union crisis, first, we had the structures economic union clear in our minds, then analyzed all the diagrams, such as inflation rates, GDP, and real exchange rates. And the striking inferences of the crisis followed by our discussions and questions with the professor. Second best is the German as Foreign Language, which is lectured by Mrs. Andreas. We not only have our German enhanced but also understand the German culture, such as holidays, politics, and so on. I always remember that there is a date for us to try German cuisines in our class. Besides, we did the Christmas calendar each class, which brought us a lot of happiness as well as enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere. In comparison to my home country, Taiwan, I really appreciate the learning atmospheres here, you can always have chances to bring your questions discussed in classes. Furthermore, students here are keener to discuss after classes. And it always makes me to have desires to learn it more.
On weekends, I usually have a lot of extracurricular activities, such as going to museums, jogging, hiking, playing soccer, and wine testing. The wine testing is one of the most impressive things in Baden-Württemberg, since Baden-Baden is a hotbed of grapes; I had great experience testing wines in a red wine factory. Furthermore, hiking in the black forest here is another wonderful experience, and we can sit basking in the warm sunshine with delightful beer after reach the bars on top of the mountains. Besides, jogging with friends here is a way to help me stay in good shape as well as relax all the time. And I even took part in the Rursee marathon in November, which put me in the place as if it was a heaven with blue sky and fresh and sweet air. The last thing is traveling with international students, and I find it's not only the easiest way to embrace cultures all over the world, but also we can always have a group work to deal with troubles during traveling together. Since I have much leisure time here, I developed my sketching skill a lot. And with the scholarship, I truly appreciated that I can always go to museums to be inspired with other artists' works without any economic worries.
Ernest Hemingway once told his friend, "If you're lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then it stays with you in the rest of your life, for Paris is a movable feast." For me, Baden-Württemberg is my Paris. There are always surprises to be expected in the next instant, and I'm never tired of trying new things and experiencing culture shocks here. Furthermore, living here makes me develop my potentials more, and I can always have a company of friends to discuss with. Without a doubt, if I have a chance to study my master in Germany, I will choose Baden-Württemberg again since for Baden-Württemberg is also a movable feast.
Professor Zachariah Alex: My Guest Lectureship at HsKA
It gives me immense pleasure to write a few lines about my stay at Hochschule Karlsruhe – Technik und Wirtschaft (HsKA) as a guest lecturer. It is one of the results of a successful collaboration between VIT University, India and HsKA, Germany. This academic and research collaboration in the area of Sensor Systems Technology has been very active since 2002.
The initial visits of our Chancellor Dr. G. Viswanathan and other officials in the year 1999 to HsKA paved the way for establishing this collaboration. Prof. Dr. B. Deppisch from HsKA played a major role in establishing this collaboration and helped VIT to start a Master’s degree programme in Sensor Systems Technology in 2002. The sincere and dedicated efforts of Prof. Dr. Th. Leize, director of the Master’s degree programme in Sensor Systems Technology, with the support of his colleagues made this collaboration stronger and successful. As a part of this collaboration we are offering a dual-degree Master’s programme in Sensor Technology between HsKA and VIT, whereby selected students from both universities will be awarded an M.Sc. in Sensor Systems Technology from HsKA and an M.Tech. in Sensor Systems Technology from VIT University after completing the required credits from both universities. Furthermore there is an opportunity for the students to experience different cultures, environments and research and teaching methodologies, which is an excellent way of strengthening the internationalization of their educational experience. We also organize, every other year, a joint International Conference on Sensors and Related Networks, SENNET, as a forum to discuss latest trends in the field of sensors and common research and faculty exchanges between VIT and HsKA. We are also in the process of establishing joint research projects under different Indo-German schemes.
With the initiative of Prof. Dr. Th. Leize and support from DAAD, HsKA has offered me this visiting lectureship. With great pleasure I accepted this invitation and in the first week of March 2013 I reached this beautiful city. I had a wonderful experience to live in -3 °C and was fortunate to witness the snowfall for the first time in my life. During this period, my experience as a visiting lecturer at HsKA was always interesting and stimulating. It has been one of the most rewarding challenges of my professional life. I offered a course on “Remote Sensing” as well as two lab sessions. The interaction with Germans and other international students was very encouraging; I found them lively, pleasant and eager to learn. I have also received excellent support and cooperation in all my activities from faculty and staff of HsKA. This opportunity has provided meaningful collaboration with outstanding HsKA faculty and students during the last five months. This programme has allowed the time for development of new research initiatives which will be carried out with the support of DAAD or other funding agencies soon. The opportunity that I have had to be involved in the educational innovations through teaching and research has been invaluable. It was a great experience for my family too. During this visit, we did a lot of sightseeing in different parts of Germany, France and Austria. Summarising, we had a wonderful and unforgettable time in Germany.
Sincere thanks to the Chancellor and other officials of VIT and the President Prof. Dr. Meisel, Vice-President Prof. Dr. Höpfel, Dean Prof. Dr. Grünhaupt and other officials of HsKA for their support and encouragement towards internationalization of education. We express our sincere thanks and gratitude to the entire faculty,
staff and students of HsKA, Sensor Systems Technology, especially Prof. Dr. T. Leize and family, Prof. Dr. B. Deppisch, Prof. Dr. Keller and family for making our stay in Germany a memorable one.
Reflections of an American Professor at HsKA
“Technische Redaktion” – it’s been four years since I heard those words. At the time, I wondered what they meant, but I knew they had to be related to technical communication because I had received a request from Dr. Joachim Lembach, of the International Office at HsKA, to visit the Technische Redaktion professors in Karlsruhe, Germany. I am the chair of the Department of Technical Communication in the School of Engineering at Mercer University in Macon, GA, and Dr. Lembach had contacted me to see whether we could establish a faculty/ student exchange program between our two universities.
So, in October 2008, I paid my first visit to the University of Applied Sciences. To my delight, I found lots of similarities between our two programs and lots of potential for faculty and student exchanges. Now, after three years of planning and the support of my colleagues both at Mercer and here at HsKA, I am finishing my sabbatical as a visiting professor for the summer semester in the Department of Technische Redaktion. I would like to share with you some of my experiences and observations, both professional and personal.
Opportunities to Work with Industry
One of the strengths of the Technische Redaktion curriculum is the strong ties the professors have with industry and the ways in which these connections help students gain practical experience. While we at Mercer require an internship in industry, we do not have the same kind of close working relationships with industry as the HsKA faculty members. Our students, like the HsKA students, complete a semester-long internship. However, Mercer students do not have as many opportunities for class projects that are connected with a local business. I was impressed by the number of class projects that were directly related to problems or opportunities in industry and the way that the HsKA students worked in teams to solve these real-world problems. These kinds of industry-based projects really help students see the connection between theory in the classroom and practice in industry.
Strong, Relevant Curriculum
Another of the strengths of the Technische Redaktion program is its well-structured curriculum. It was very clear to me in talking with both professors and students that the goal of this program is to educate practicing professionals who can make an immediate contribution to employers who need experts in technical writing, document and information design, content management, usability testing, translation, multimedia, or database management. One of the advantages of situating a technical communication program within an environment such as HsKA, or the School of Engineering at Mercer, is that the students are exposed as much to the “technical” as they are to the “communication” disciplines. Graduates of technical communication programs in the US which reside in English departments lack this grounding in math, physics, chemistry, computer science, and basic engineering courses; therefore, these graduates are not as well equipped to work with highly technical, engineering-related subject matter.
A highly structured curriculum has both strengths and weaknesses, though. One strength is that the students and faculty know exactly what will be taught each semester and the students move through the curriculum in cohort groups. However, unlike Mercer, the students have no options to pursue other areas of study. For example, in the Mercer B.S. degree in technical communication, students can choose a second, complementary discipline as a “minor” field in which they take five additional classes to gain more depth in areas such as computer science, business, digital photography, marketing, management, or internet programming. These “minors” give the Mercer students a broader skill set, which is necessary because the US marketplace is not as heavily focused on documentation creation, translation, and management as the European market.
I am in awe at the number of classes taught each semester by the Technische Redaktion professors, all while managing industry-based classroom projects and consulting. As I told my Mercer colleagues, “do not complain about our workload. The professors here teach at least two or three times as many courses per semester as we do.” For example, a typical 3-credit American college course meets three times per week for 50 minutes each time, and American professors usually teach 3-5 courses per semester. Therefore, it was quite an adjustment for me to teach six 90-minute classes every week. However, for the first time in over 20 years, I had no administrative responsibilities, so it was a real pleasure to be able to concentrate on teaching, creating new lectures, and designing different assignments and projects. This experience has reminded me what I really like about being a professor … namely interacting with students.
What Did She Say?
Although I enjoyed interacting with the students, I am sure it was sometimes challenging for them to interact with me as I taught all my classes in English. “Are you with me?” is an expression used by air traffic controllers when they communicate with pilots. It means, “Are we on the same frequency?” I frequently asked this question as a way of checking to see if the students understood my lectures. When we were not on the same frequency, we had fun figuring out what different words meant in English and German and learning a variety of colloquial English and German expressions. I was very impressed by how fluently the students spoke English and many of them expressed how much they appreciated the opportunity to practice speaking English. And my grasp of the German language has significantly improved, but I am a long way from being fluent.
What I Will Remember
Rapping: No, not the musical kind, but the rapping of knuckles. One of my fondest memories is my first day of class when the students rapped their knuckles on the desk after the lecture was over. I looked around in surprise, because I had no idea what was going on. I was informed that it was customary to do this after each
lecture; the better the lecture, the longer and louder the rapping. What a wonderful custom! Still brings a smile to my face each time it happens, and I hope to start this tradition at Mercer.
KVV, DB, ICE, TGV: It has been delightful to use public transportation to commute to work as well as to travel across Germany. The trains are clean, punctual, full of a variety of people, and much more interesting and relaxing to travel on than automobiles. I can’t wait to come back to Karlsruhe and see what the Kaiserstraße looks like with no trams!
Romantic Road: Germany is a beautiful country, full of history and culture. My husband and I took every available opportunity to visit as many of the historical sites as we could, and even after living here for five months, we feel that we have barely scratched the surface. We were particularly captivated by the Historisches Festspiel in Rothenburg. I kept a blog of our travels for our family and friends; it currently has 40 entries and over 600 pictures. The blog won’t win any awards, but it does bring a smile to my face when I look at it and remember all the places we have visited and all the wonderful people we have met.
Wurst: I tried as many varieties as possible, but I know I didn’t sample all of them (one more reason for a return visit). We have thoroughly enjoyed the German cuisine; schnitzel, maultaschen, and rippchen, wonderful bread and pastries, cheeses, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. We will miss shopping at the Gutenbergplatz market on Saturday mornings.
Vogelbräu in Ettlingen on a Sunday morning: Brunch with beer and a fabulous local band, the Reindeers.
50 m2: We have learned that less is best and we can live in a small apartment without a lot of stuff and be very happy. Although we did miss our vegetable garden, we did not miss cutting the grass or taking care of a large house. It will be a shock to go back to the heat and humidity as well.
First, many thanks to the professors and staff at HsKA for their help, especially Dr. Joachim Lembach, Prof. Dr. Dieter Höpfel, Prof. Sissi Closs, and Frau Lobach. Thanks also to the many new friends we have met, especially to Prof. Jürgen Muthig and his wife Rebecca, with whom we have shared lots of good meals and laughter. Finally, thank you to my husband, Art, for sharing this adventure with me.
In retrospect, I have a renewed appreciation for the opportunities that a degree in Technische Redaktion gives students, and a deeper understanding of the contributions technical communicators can make in the global workplace. I will return to Mercer refreshed and equipped with a variety of experiences that I can share with my graduate and undergraduate students. I look forward to further opportunities to collaborate with my Technische Redaktion colleagues.
Yeh Yu-Chin from Taiwan
Home University: National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Duration of stay: 1 semester
Time of stay: February – August 2013
Do you ever imagine how different it is between western culture and eastern culture? For me, it was a whole new experience and a beautiful lifelong memory. Every story, every adventure started from the very first time I located in Frankfurt airport. I was really nervous at that time because I almost cannot speak any German, but surprisingly, more than eighty percent German can speak good English which is really different from Taiwan. Thanks for those good English speakers, I found the long-distance train station easily and my way to my exchange school without any problem. When I was in Taiwan, lots of people who had experiences stayed in Germany, they all told me that Germans are not really “easy-going”, however, I did not feel that at all. Whenever I carried my big suitcase, there would always be some people willingly to help me and when I was lost my way or held a map in my hand, there also would be some people trying to help me, I did not even had to ask for help. In my humble opinion, maybe Germans are not as talkative as Spain or Brazilian, but they are definitely friendly, ready to help and also easy-going. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Taiwanese are friendly, but we performance in different way. That is why I really feel interesting and like to discover the difference between western and eastern culture.
Life in Karlsruhe
After I arrived in Karlsruhe, I found it was a wonderful city for study. It was not full of tourist, it was not the most busy business town, but it had a lot of schools and universities which made this city full of student instead. I lived in a student dormitory, and it made me met lots of friends from different universities and also all over the world. It is hard for me to describe how much I like it. All of my flat mates were from different countries, however the most amazing thing was, we all can communicated with each other, even though sometimes I had to use my not-that-good German. Everyone there was trying hard to understand each other and it was the most beautiful memory when we sat in our dining room and discussed about our own country, our special culture or cooking and sharing our typical dishes. It was nice that when I lived in Germany but I could also experience other cultures. I would never know how much I would like it if I never been an exchange student.
Student life and courses
Study in all English speak classes was not a new experiences for me, but it made me feel nervous every time. Due to I studied Business Administration at my home university, I chose four classes which were related, they were International Marketing, Intercultural Communicating, Presentation Techniques and Germany Today. It will always be important to know the different culture when people want to do some business, and the class Germany Today surely helped me to understood lots of Germans’ point of view. Germany Today talked about lots of historical stories that made huge effect on Germans and how to get along with and make friends with Germans. Also the economic issue was an important chapter in this class. We discussed about the situation of the euro zone and compared with other growing-up countries. I learned many things that I did not know even though I already read a bunch of books and articles about Germany. The more I knew about this country, the more I liked it. My second favorite class is International Marketing. We all knew that Marketing is always depends on the country, so it would never be the same in each country. However it was amazing when we took a deep look into the case studies and made presentations about these case studies. Everyone had different ideas and opinions about the marketing. One interesting thing I want to emphasis is everyone was surprised to found that marketing was so different in Hong Kong and Taiwan even though our locations are so close to each other. It is obvious that I do not even have to mention the difference of marketing between western and eastern countries. These courses not only helped me to improved my English and knowledge but also broaden my horizons.
If you ask me what I like to do most when I was an exchange student, the answer will definitely be “travel”. Europe was a mysterious land for me. It is one of the oldest lands in the world and that is why it is full of history. Every country in Europe is so similar but meanwhile, there are also so different. I was addicted to experience different cultures and the scenery in Europe made people breathless. I did not have the nerve to traveling alone before I went to Europe, but now I found it is wonderful to travel alone, because it is the best chance to meet people and make friends. Traveling also let me realized how important it was to learn how to speak different language and how beautiful every language was. I was always believed that once we can speak English, it was quite enough, now I understand I was wrong. Learning language now is my new and favorite hobby. When it comes to Germany, it might not be the oldest country in Europe, but it probably would be the one which had the most stories. Each time when I crossed west to east or south to north in Germany, I could feel the difference. Though I stayed in Germany for almost six months, I still only knew a little about Germany, if I ever had chance to get back, I hope I can know more histories and stories about this amazing country.
I never imaged how much I would love this country while it was so different from my country, but it happened, I love this country so much. The culture shock was never a problem for me, because I love this country since the first time I stepped on it. I was so lucky for had the opportunity to be the one who had been picked as an exchange student to Germany. Now, I am also considering getting my master degree in Germany, though I know it will be harder than I can imagine. Want to experience different cultures? Germany will always be my most recommended.
MSU Mankato students at HsKA
Research project with students from Scotland and Spain: What Culture Shock?
More and more international exchange students come to HsKA not only to study, but also for research projects, conducted and supervised in English. In December we spoke to six students from the University of Glasgow (Scotland), the University of Valladolid, and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), who by then had spent several months at HsKA working on an automotive engineering project in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics under the supervision of Mr. Fino Scholl and Mr. Denis Neher from the University’s Institute of Applied Research (IAF).
magazin: First of all, could you tell us what this project is about?
Fino Scholl: The main project is called HSI, which stands for Hot Surface Ignition. Basically what we are doing is replacing spark plugs from regular gasoline and gas engines with glow plugs. This new ignition system was mainly developed for the use in combined heat and power engines that enable to convert fuel energy into electricity and heat at the same time.
magazin: Where do you students come from, and what made you decide to come to Karlsruhe to work on this project?
Adil Majeed: I’m from Glasgow, and I study Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow University. I am in my 5th year, and I came to Germany to conduct my final project that is required for the degree. I’ve always wanted to come to Germany – we all know that it is the hub of Europe for engineering and one of the top places in the world to come. The opportunity was there, and I just went for it. I thought it would be really rewarding and an excellent experience.
magazin: How did you find out about the project?
Adil Majeed: The secretaries that had contacted the university advertised it and sent an e-mail to the year and once I’d received the e-mail I was quite interested. There were other projects as well, but I applied to this one in particular because of my interest in the thermodynamics of engines.
Robert Meechan: I’m from Newcastle, England, and I also study Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow. Like Adil I’m in my final year. I’m here just to finish my Master’s project. I came for the same reason. We got the e-mail, and the more and more I enquired with Fino, the more and more it just seemed a better idea to come. I thought it would be more exciting and interesting than staying in Glasgow. It’s harder than being in Glasgow, because it’s a different country, and also in Glasgow we’re getting nursed through it with the project manager a lot more.
Paul Healy: I am also at the University of Glasgow, doing the integrated Master’s in Mechanical Engineering program. I came to Germany for my project because I thought it would offer a different kind of challenge compared to the Glasgow University project. As Robert said, in Glasgow we generally have a bit more guidance, I guess. At this stage the German students have already done a Bachelor’s thesis and a year’s Praktikum, whereas with us it’s just been lecture teaching so far, so I think at the start there was quite a steep learning curve. The German students have quite a bit of project background already, they kind of know what’s asked of them whereas for us it was completely new and it took quite a while to get adjusted to it, but I think it’s been a more interesting project than I would have been able to do in Glasgow.
magazin: Do you think having come here will help you with your career?
Paul Healy: I’ll have been here just over 6 months when I finish, whereas in Glasgow we are given only three months to do the project, September to December, so it gives you a lot more scope to do an in-depth research project. I think when I go on to look for work after university that’s definitely something I’ll be able to talk about a bit more than just the short project I would have been able to do at home.
Just the going abroad on its own sets you apart a certain amount, like adapting to a new culture and learning the language is certainly a good selling point, but the fact that we’ve been working with industry and know the demands of what university research actually requires is definitely a good selling point. I think when people read “German university research” on your CV that’ll definitely look good. The role of industry is quite an important thing, finding out the sort of research a company would want to do on a product rather than just doing a student project for the sake of it.
Darío Gonzalo: I am from Spain, from the University of Valladolid. The reason I am here is because one of my professors encouraged me to come here because I have worked for a long time in internal combustion engines in the university, and she told me about the work here, and I thought it would be a good idea. I have finished my studies in Spain. It’s a good opportunity to come to Germany to learn some Deutsch and the German way of working maybe. This could be the first step to try to work here in Germany.
Héctor Arruga: I study Industrial Engineering in Valladolid, with a focus on power engineering. I thought about coming to Germany because it is a very important professional opportunity. As Robert said, I think Germany is at the top of industrial engineering, and it is a good opportunity. My intention is to find work here after finishing my studies. I am doing my final degree project here, my Master’s thesis. I am designing a heat pump with automotive parts to be coupled to the micro cogeneration unit. The work is interesting because it is a very innovative project.
Victor Teschendorff: I come from Valencia, the UPV. I came here because I wanted to finish my studies. I had some credits left, so I was interested in Mr. Schultz’s Renewable Energy programme. That’s what I did the first semester. Everything we did there was really interesting. What was then left was the project, the Bachelor’s thesis, so I asked in the university what kinds of projects were available, and I found the HSI project quite interesting. I started doing my Bachelor’s thesis there. After four months I had the chance to stay as a HiWi for two months, and when I got my degree in Spain I was employed as a Mitarbeiter for the project. I see this as a first step to German industry. I want to continue my career in combustion engines, and the opportunities here seem to be really good compared to Spain because of the crisis right now. Germany, like everybody else here said, is the best place for industrial engineering. I’ve got the language, I’ve got the opportunity, it is the moment to do it.
magazin: How are you finding life in Karlsruhe? How is your German coming along, and what about culture shock?
Adil Majid: I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Germany. The past six months have just flown by. The international group that we have, the supervisors, everyone that I work with have been very helpful and welcoming, which has helped me settle down really well into Germany. There was a lot of talk back in Glasgow before we departed about culture shock. I don’t think it was a huge culture shock for me here, although there were slightly different things that I observed day-to-day, for example shops aren’t open on Sundays here in Germany, so you have to do all your shopping on Saturday evening. In Karlsruhe especially there is a huge society of international students – you’ve got KIT, you’ve got the Hochschule here, there’s a lot of Spanish students, Mexican students, a couple of people from Britain as well I’ve bumped into, people from the States, so there are people from all over the world, and when you meet these people it really opens your eyes, you get to learn about other cultures just by talking. At the same time it is not really good for your German because you converse in English, so you don’t get to practice your German as much, but apart from that I’ve really enjoyed it. The reason I want to develop my German is to keep the door open to come back to Germany, either for further studies or some sort of professional experience, or even a proper job.
Paul Healy: As far as Karlsruhe is concerned I think it is quite a good city to come to as a student, because even though it’s not that big there is a very big student population. You get the chance to speak with people from Spain, from Germany, from all over the place that have come here on ERASMUS. Everybody can speak English, so you seem to get on quite well. I’ve been doing the German more as an interest rather than “I need to learn German”, because all the work here has been in English, but it’s been going quite well. We’ve done quite a few Sprachtandems, where you meet up with a German person, speak some English and speak some German. You get to learn from them, get to ask some questions about the language. That’s been quite good to learn a bit about what young people in Germany actually do, whereas in the DaF courses it tends to be more textbook grammar.
Darío Gonzalo: For me it is a bit more difficult here, because everybody can speak English, but not Spanish. I think the Spanish students here have two advantages, because you can practice two different languages, German and English. Many people here in Karlsruhe study Spanish now, so it is easy for Spanish people here to find a tandem. For me it is very interesting here, because I can practice English with British people and German with German people.
Victor Teschendorff: My grandfather was German, I went to a German school in Spain, so for me it was not that hard. I think Karlsruhe is a really multicultural city with all the ERASMUS students, and it is really easy to find people from other countries and speak to them in English, because their level of German is normally not that high. But it is also really difficult to find German friends, I would say. The German friends I have right now, all of them speak Spanish. They have travelled and they are more open. With other German people, for example in the lessons here, you talk to them, but they don’t really want to make friends, because they have their social life already, and you come for just one year and then you go away again, so what’s the point.
Robert Meechan: Yesterday we had a dinner with some people that are going home that we’ve met here, and when we were asked what we missed none of us could really think of that much that was important. It was just little funny things like bacon, fish ’n’ chips, so it wasn’t like the culture shock we were promised, like there’ll be a week when you break down. What else? Bread is better, beer is better – and cheaper.
Interview: Joachim Lembach
Someshwar Roy from India
Lehua Chen from China
Master's degree student in Sensor Systems Technology, starting in summer semester 2008
Studying Master's program at HsKA
I was a graduate in July, 2007 from Department of Physics in Dalian University of Technology in China. In Dalian University of Technology, I studied in the major of Optical Information Science and Technology. By the experiences in the lab, I had learnt that the optical sensor systems produced in Germany held good quality and high precision. I admired the advanced technology of Germany and expected having the opportunity to go on my study in Germany. In March, 2008, I was recommended for admission to school graduate student in Optical Engineering. My tutor told me that he could recommend me to going on with my study in Sensor Systems Technology at Karlsruhe University of Applied Science in Germany. But my parents are peasants and my two young sisters are studying in school. My parents have no enough money to support my studying in Germany. Following my tutor’s advice, I applied for the Baden-Württemberg Scholarship 2008. Thank the Baden-Württemberg Scholarship for helping me to achieve my dream of learning advanced knowledge in Germany.
On March 1, 2008, I reached Karlsruhe via Frankfurt. I was attracted by the beautiful outside scenes of the window of the CIA from Frankfurt to Karlsruhe. But I felt a little anxious because I can’t speak Deutsch. Everyone around me is talking in a language which I can’t understand. I need to suit to the new society. I moved to the dormitory which we had rented under the help of Ms. Angelika Günter-Warth in the International Office of the school in the afternoon of the same day. In the morning of the second day, I took part in the extensive Deutsch course which lasts ten days. After that the major courses began. In this semester, there are nine required courses: Deutsch Language, Computer Science, Chemistry Exercise, Digital Signal Processing, Analog Signal Processing, Physics, Control Theory, Physical Chemistry and Solid State Physics. I chose three optional courses: Understand Capital Markets, Management and International Marketing. Except Deutsch Language, all the courses are taught in English. It is still new to me, because courses are taught in Chinese before. But there is no problem for me to understand what the teachers are talking about and the content of lectures is not too difficult. I have a lot of time to learn Deutsch and improve my English. The teachers give us some notes about the lectures and we need to search for the corresponding books in the library by ourselves. We like the learning style because we are learning how to study by ourselves. I studied hard to do well in the lectures in the whole semester, because I hoped to get a good mark in all of the lectures. Study is student’s duty and is my goal for coming to Germany.
In April, I had a travel to Baden-Baden with my classmates by the Studikarte for free. I was pressed by the convenience of the travel and the beautiful scene. In May, our teachers organized us to Nuremberg to visit a sensor exhibition. I saw many advanced sensor and the good foreground of our major.
I built up good relationship with my neighbor. Though there are a lot of difficulties for us to communicate with each other because all of them speak in Deutsch, they favor me to learn Deutsch. In most time, they speak slowly with me in Deutsch, and interpret in English if it is necessary. Now I can understand some simple German words. I cooked Chinese dishes for them sometime, and they taught me to make Pizza and Spaghetti. We are friends. In the class, I mixed well in my classmates. We have small parties for several times. We shared our cultures and experiences to each other. We are a group.
It is my first time to go abroad. Learning in Germany is a new and exciting life to m. First, my English has been improved greatly while I studied in the lectures in English. When I studied in China, English is a required course and I learnt English for more than ten years. But I have no opportunity to speak it in practice. Now I use English everyday as a communication tool. It is helpful for me to improve the oral and listening English. Second if I studied in China as a graduate student, maybe there will be no so many courses. We need to spend most of our time to stay in the labs to finish the task that the teacher told us to do. But now I have to consider about everything. I have much space time in which we should do something besides study by ourselves, such as extending the visa, insuring myself in AOK, and making the accommodation contract with the studentenwerk Karlsruhe. In the summer vacation, I plan to find a new dormitory because the accommodation contract will be overdue at the end of August. I am also trying to find a part-job to earn some money to support myself in the following year when I have no scholarship. By doing these, I learnt how to do things in myself and improve my communication ability. It is really important to me for my future. Third, I make many foreign friends and share their thoughts about different cases. The German life let me to compare the Chinese culture and European culture, from which I learn a lot about life.
In a word, thank Baden-Württemberg Stipendium for giving me the opportunity to studying in Karlsruhe University of Applied Science in Germany. I will work hard to finish my study in time and come back to China to attribute myself to the development of the sensor system in China.
Francisco Bartolo from Mexico
Exchange student in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, winter semester 2007
My experience in the FH Karlsruhe
My Name is Francisco Bartolo, student of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in the ITESM Campus Monterrey Mexico. Last semester I had the great opportunity of studying in the Fachhochschule Karlsruhe. Here a small account from my experience:
- FH Karlsruhe is a small university but it is equipped with excellent laboratories and really good teachers.
- Teachers are really strict but they are also sometimes comprehensive with the international students.
- Most courses are given in German but some can be found in English especially in the master courses.
- The laboratories are fantastic; The equipment is really good and a clear example is the “IFP (Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Produktion)” a Manufacturing center inside the school equipped with a high technological manufacturing equipment and really good infrastructure.
- The school’s student exchange office is excellent;
- They situate most of the students in Europahaus that is a student residence located 1 min away from campus; it is full of students from around the world where a true multicultural experience can be lived.
- They also support students a lot with the paper work needed when arriving to Germany; visa, resident registration, internships and bank accounts
- Really good trips are also organized during the semester for the exchange students.
- The university also arranges a free intensive German course for 2 weeks just before starting university for all exchange students.
- The University is located 10 min from downtown Karlsruhe, were a variety of shopping centers, banks, post office, clubs and libraries can be found.
- Karlsruhe is also situated in the middle of Europe, so it has a really nice weather all year and is ideal to travel because it is close to many important southern cities in Germany as well as to France and Switzerland.
I can sincerely say that I had the best time of my live studying in Germany, it was not only school but also all the people from around the world you can meet, the amazing German working culture, the order and the opportunities to find internships in many international companies. Therefore I would definitely recommend Karlsruhe and the FH Karlruhe to study in Germany.