Jami Walsh – Exchange in Germany
Where did you go on exchange?
I went to the Technical University of Aachen in Germany (Rheinisch-Westphalisch Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen) Aachen is a lovely old town about 1 hour from Cologne (and 3 hours from Paris on an express train!). It is also very close to 3 land point – where Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium all meet.
Why did you go on exchange?
Having learnt a bit of German at school, it was my dream since I was 14 to go on exchange to Germany . I really wanted to learn another language properly and experience a different culture. I could not afford it while I was at school, so when I found out I could do exchange while at uni I was really excited. I’ve always wanted to travel around Europe too, so this was a great chance to get there.
What were the highlights of your trip?
- Progressing in my German knowledge from a very basic level to being able to have meaningful conversations about relationships, politics, science, religion etc.
- Getting to see so many wonderful cities around Europe, and being amazed by standing in churches over 1000 years old
- Making some wonderful friends from all around the world who I am welcome to stay with (in Czech Republic, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, Turkey, Indonesia, China and of course Germany)
- Learning and experiencing the German culture – especially student life. In some ways it is very different to Australian culture, but in other ways quite similar.
What was a hard/difficult thing during your trip?
- Trying to express myself when my German was not so good.
- It takes a lot longer to make friends when you have a language and culture barrier – After 6 months I was just starting to become good friends with some people and then I had to leave :( Leaving was definitely a hard thing.
What would you say to someone considering going on exchange?
- Do it! Its the best thing you’ll ever do and now is the best time to do it! Start planning now and starting saving up now.
- Don’t give up if you come across barriers to you going – I went to a university that was not partners with UNSW. I would recommend going through the exchange office at UNSW to a partner university, but it’s not the only way. If you can do it, go for a year – 6 months is good but a year would have been better.