My study experience in Germany - Trinidadian Anika Gellineau reportsEnlarge image Anika Gellineau in Berlin (© A. Gellineau)
"I received a scholarship from the DAAD to read for my Masters of Science at the Brandenburg University of Technology at Cottbus, Brandenburg, 125 km southeast of Berlin. There I was enrolled in the interdisciplinary programme of Environment and Resource Management. The programme was well-structured covering a myriad of topics. Among others the focus was on group work and presentations which indeed are important skills needed for career life, laboratory assignments in well-equipped labs, site visits throughout Germany’s advanced industry and unique landscapes, and exposure to various environmental software programmes.
As a result of the programme being taught in English, it attracts students from every continent in the world. Thus was I able to interact and learn from students of different cultural backgrounds in addition to those of the German students. This added an invaluable aspect to the lectures in Germany where besides learning from the lecturer, the students shared ideas and situations of environmental management in their countries. The diversity of the programme allowed cultural nights from different countries. We were able to share a bit of our culture with the German student population. The city also included the university in the annual festivals, where students’ talents were showcased and students were encouraged to display informative cultural booths, which resulted in students interacting more with the Cottbus community over Bratwurst mit Brot und Bier (Bratwurst with bread and beer)!
Even though classes were in English, in order for me to fully immerse and enjoy all that German culture had to offer, I knew the German language was a necessity which I embraced wholeheartedly. Once the German community realized that I was trying to communicate in their own tongue, the interactions were amazing and warm. It was such a laugh when I had these bilingual conversations, with German native speakers to improve my German and their English, es war sehr lustig! I must admit it is somewhat daunting to open a bank account or visit the doctor when you are not versed in the language, but once you prepare certain vocabulary and get advice from tutors, it is possible to carry out the task with ease. Besides taking a German Language Course which the DAAD organized for me in Berlin two months prior to my studies and continuing it at the university, listening to the radio and watching television also aided in improving the German language.
I really enjoyed travelling throughout Brandenburg State and wider Germany; the transportation system is so efficient and hassle-free. Taking the train to spend the day or weekend in another city was one of the pleasures I truly delighted in. Not only were the history and the places of interest of the city enjoyable but going through the German landscape as the train sped on was awesome! It was certainly a well-rounded experience."
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