CulTÜre magazine

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culTÜre ISSUE 1 | AUGUST 2021 STUDY, WORK AND TRAVEL ABROAD INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE

UNIVERSITIES OF EUROPE HOME INSTITUTIONS

EUROPEAN STUDY EXCHANGES

WORK ABROAD

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN EDINBURGH

HOW TO LEARN A LANGUAGE ON A YEAR ABROAD

UNIVERSITY TEACHING: THE JOUNREY AND THE EXPERIENCE

BY JASMINE REAY


TABLE OF CONTENTS - A SELECTION -

CULTÜRE

UNIVERSITIES OF EUROPE Editor's Welcome

02

About Scotland

Focal point

04

Edinburgh

Study at home

06 10

Lausanne University

Oslo

22

Studying in Edinburgh

Full time abroad

26

Milan

Work abroad

32

Taking a look beyond Europe

33

Thank you

Barcelona

European Study exchanges

How to learn a language

17 18

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HOME INSTITUTIONS EUROPEAN STUDY ABROAD EXCHANGES WORK ABROAD


UNIVERSITIES OF EUROPE

WELCOME! Hello and welcome to the first issue of CulTÜre: Universities of Europe By Jasmine Reay

With 50 countries, 24 official languages, over 700 million people and more than 2000 universities, Europe is certainly a unique and culturally rich continent and will be the focus of this first issue of CulTÜre, with a particular look at Scotland. Despite border and travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, we should and can still celebrate the connection and diversity that such a continent has to offer and look to the future. This magazine was founded as part of my work for the Scottish Stevenson scholarship linked to my Erasmus+ study abroad exchange at Ebehard Karls Universität Tübingen in Germany. This issue contains a collection of articles and memoirs from students studying at universities across Europe primarily, but also beyond and is split into sections according to country. Travel lovers can learn about university cities, the benefits of time abroad and gain tips on language study.

A key aim of the magazine is to help students who are considering whether to study, travel or work abroad in Europe, be that full time or for short term exchange. Such decisions can be difficult and overwhelming with courses, social aspects and distance from home needing to be considered. There will therefore be many articles containing experiences from those who already study and work at European institutions or who have been on exchange to them. Living abroad and employability, love and the Erasmus programme also feature and I hope that the content found in these pages can assist, be informative and give a taster for the further issues of CulTÜre to come. If you want to know more please feel free to contact the available authors or head to the Instagram: Culture_Tu or email: culturetu@yahoo.com

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"THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD LIES IN THE DIVERSITY OF ITS PEOPLE." UNKNOWN

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Image: Canva


SCOTLAND: FOCAL POINT ABOUT SCOTLAND By Jasmine Reay

As the focal point of this issue is Scotland, CulTÜre would not truly be complete without an overarching piece dedicated to describing its rich culture, landscape and traditions. With a population of over 5.4 million people (2019), over 790 islands and a bustling festival city, Edinburgh, as its capital, Scotland offers so much. Its three official languages are Scottish Gaelic, Scots and English but 170 other languages are also spoken, reflecting the international element of the country. Scotland even boasts the UK’s oldest building and post office as well as its tallest mountains. It also feels unique with drinks such as Irn-Bru making it “one of the only places in the world where locally-made soft drinks outsell coca-cola” (Scotland.org). The currency is Pound Sterling but the banknotes feature famous Scottish figures and food such as haggis (sheep intestine) and deep-fried mars bar can be bought. There are many small (or wee), cute (bonnie) pubs in Edinburgh along the Royal Mile where folk music is played. Whisky is famous with the supermarkets only selling alcohol between 10am to 10pm and not until 12.30pm on Sundays, so things feel quite uniquely Scottish.

The highlands are also an important part of the country which cannot go unmentioned. Covering almost 1000 square miles in the North, they are an outstanding and treasured area of natural beauty with mountains, lochs and islands. Just watch out for the midges and getting bitten in late summeryou will need a face net for hikes! University societies, of which there are hundreds include Hillwalking. Such societies are run by students, funded by memberships of other student members and the Student Union. The Hillwalking society organises cheap walks and stays on weekends to nearby nature. Islands such as Skye with stunning white beaches, rugged rocks and medieval castles are also a must see and the Celtic language of Scottish Gaelic can be heard. For anyone wanting a few phrases: “Is mise…” or “S’e…” is “My name is”, with “Ciamar a tha thu?” being “How are you?”. Scotland also has some unique sports. The likes of Ceilidh which is a very fun and lively Scottish dance or Shinty (a sports game derived from hurling, like hockey) are there to be tried out for example in universities or city clubs such as those also promoted in this magazine. Scotland can be dark, cold and rain but it is also a magical place of history, culture and uniqueness.

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HOME INSTITUTIONS CULTÜRE | PAGE 5

This part of CulTÜre focuses on articles written by students about their home university- the one that they study at full time in their home country. This is meant to provide more information about the respective university, town, city and surroundings to help those who are deciding where to study abroad and to provide insight to other readers who may also just be wishing to travel or spend time in these destinations.


SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH BORN AND BRED: STUDY AT HOME As someone who was born in Edinburgh (in a hospital a five-minute walk away from campus), and grew up just outside of the city, studying at the University of Edinburgh was a natural choice for me. It’s one of Scotland’s best universities, I had heard glowing recommendations from alumni and it’s a relatively short commute from my family home, meaning I could stay at home throughout my studies.

BY ALEX PATERSON

Most of all, I chose the university

Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t

because I like Edinburgh – being the

have access to the campus but the

understood everywhere speaking

capital of Scotland, the city is

university have worked to support us

English, so there’s no need to worry

teaming with history and culture; the

through online learning and multiple

about that. However, learning a few

Old Town, shadowed by the

Zoom classes each week.

impressive Edinburgh Castle, is full of old churches, alleyways and houses; the New Town, as well as its multiple shopping streets and centres, also provides museums, concert halls and the fantastic Calton Hill, offering panoramic views of the city. It’s a city where old meets new, with 16th century buildings a moment’s walk from the modern Scottish Parliament.

- that being said, you will be

Scots words (such as ‘aye’, which means ‘yes’, or ‘how ye daein?’, which

While this doesn’t make up for physical classes (or, for those language students like me who should have been abroad, the loss of immersion to a language that one experiences living in a foreign country), the combination of speaking classes, as well as cultural and historical

means ‘how are you?’) or Gaelic phrases (for example, ‘halò’, which simply means ‘hello’, and ‘dè do chor?’, which means ‘how are you?’) may earn you some extra brownie points!

teaching, helps to prepare us for our last year at university, as well as future employment.

Its social scene and nightlife (whilst

While I’m most likely biased, I’m still in no doubt that Edinburgh is a great place to live and study! The city offers

admittedly not as wild as Glasgow’s!)

While the process may have been made

a wide selection of anything you

offer the public and students a varied

more difficult by Brexit, Scotland is very

could wish for; the country offers

selection of places to relax from the

much still open to the world! The

beautiful scenery as well as

stress of university life, with quiet

University of Edinburgh, as well as the

metropolitan cities all within easy

cafés and night clubs all within easy

Scottish Government, are committed to

reach; and the University of

reach of main campus. And, of

remaining part of the European

Edinburgh provides excellent

course, one mustn’t forget the

community. Edinburgh, and Scotland as

beautiful rural towns surrounding Edinburgh, one of which I get to call home!

a whole, are very student-friendly and outward-looking, and while there’s no word for Willkommenskultur in English, Scotland definitely represents the

Studying an MA in French and German (with an MA being an undergraduate

meaning of this! Our diverse landscape makes Scotland what it is; from deep-

degree in most Scottish universities for

blue lochs to mossy, green, mountain

those who aren’t used to the system

tops; from descendants of the Picts to

here!), I am now in the third year of my

first-generation migrants; from tiny

program, and I truly enjoy it! The ‘feel’ of

villages to sprawling cities.

the campus, with a mixture of Georgian

well as lecture theatres, encompassing a grassy square, is what really drew me to the university.

Our three official languages (English, Scots and Gaelic) make for an interesting linguistic melting pot" "

caring cohort of staff on a warm and welcoming campus in the heart of the nation’s capital. So, if you’re looking to spend some time studying in an English-speaking country, come to the University of Edinburgh!

If anyone is interested in studying in Edinburgh or Scotland and would like some guidance, please feel free to email me at:

a.m.paterson@sms.ed.ac.uk

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houses, and modern office buildings as

teaching, delivered by a friendly,


SCOTLAND T O P 1 0 T H I N G S T O D O I N E D I N B U R G H

BY EMMA HUNT

1) VISIT PORTEBELLO BEACH Located on the eastern edge of the city, Portobello Beach is a favourite spot for locals, students and tourists alike. There’s plenty of space on the sandy beach for groups to relax, and some brave souls do choose to swim in the sea! Would definitely recommend a wetsuit if you want to swim – the North Sea gets very cold.

2) FIND A CUTE COFFEE SHOP Edinburgh definitely has all of your usual international coffee shop chains, but there’s also a lot of smaller chains and completely independent coffee shops around too. Some of my favourites are Thomas J. Walls, which is very near campus or Project Coffee in Brunstfield. They’re run by the same people but have quite distinct aesthetics. Cult, in Newington, is also a student staple, and I also really like August 21 in Sciennes.

3) VISIT THE MUSEUMS The National Museum of Scotland is one road over from campus and is completely free to enter and have a look round. It’s got a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, so there’s normally something new every few months. There’s also a coffee shop in the central atrium, which is a nice place to work.

4) GO ON SOME WALKS

5) GET OUT OF TOWN It’s very easy to get caught up in student life and never leave the city centre, but the Pentland Hills Regional Park is gorgeous and has some wonderful walking routes for avid hikers and novices alike.

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Edinburgh is surprisingly green. Besides the obvious activity of climbing up Arthurs Seat, here are some of my other favourite walking routes: Blackford Hill and Braid Burn (near Kings’ Campus), Braidburn Valley Park (walkable from Brunstfield/Morningside), Colinton Tunnel, Brunstane Burn Path (pick it up from the No.1 National Cycle Route), Water of Leith Walk & Dean Village, Union Canal Path (10km out to Hermiston Gait, then get the tram back into town!)


6) HAVE A PINT AT TEVIOT ROW HOUSE Edinburgh University’s Student Union building at Teviot Row House is the oldest purpose-built student union in the world. It’s got a number of venues inside, but my favourite is the Library Bar on the ground floor. It’s the perfect setting for a pint or a soft drink, surrounded by old library collections. They also serve food: the curly fries and the nachos are staples.

EDINBURGH IS THE FESTIVAL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. Emma is from London and studies Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She is happy to be contacted at: Emma_Hunt@outlook.com

7) HAVE A BBQ ON THE MEADOWS Another student tradition is to have a barbecue on the Meadows as soon as the weather is passably warm enough. The Meadows is a large public park right round the back of central campus, and it has designated areas for barbecuing. Barbecues are also common after the end of summer exams!

8) TAKE IN SOME CULTURE Edinburgh has a huge array of galleries and theatres, as well as museums. The Scottish National Gallery is on Princes Street in the New Town, but the Edinburgh College of Art also puts on regular exhibitions of students’ work. Edinburgh also has a huge number of theatres catering for all tastes, from huge spaces like the Festival Theatre and the Kings Theatre, to tiny stand-up comedy venues and everything in between – including the UK’s oldest completely student-run student theatre, Bedlam Theatre. On that note…

9) VISIT THE FESTIVALS Edinburgh is the Festival capital of the world. In the summer, you’d be hard pressed to find a day where there isn’t a festival of some description, from the Edinburgh International Film Festival (June), the International Book Festival (August), the International Festival (August) and the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August), there’s something for everyone, and the atmosphere is like nothing else.

10) JUST EXPLORE! Edinburgh is one of those cities where you literally never know what you’ll find if you just go for a wander around – from amazing street art, to quirky bars and coffee shops to beautiful parks, there’s something to be said for just going for a walk and seeing what you find!

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EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS' ASSOCIATION: PROGRAMMES

TANDEM Tandem Language Exchange is a student group that provides a range of activities and opportunities for students to practice their oral skills in a range of languages. There are quick-fire speed linguas to learn key words and phrases from a new language or language themed events in collaboration with a range of student societies which also help members find language exchange partners. This coming year, Tandem plans to hold language taster sessions for Mandarin and British Sign Language, as well as celebrating a range of International cultural events.

GLOBAL BUDDIES Global Buddies is a Peer Support Scheme for incoming International Students at The University of Edinburgh, assigning them a group of fellow international students, as well as trained current students who act as Group Leaders. Events, meet ups and other activities are organised by these Group Leaders, allowing students to adjust to living in Edinburgh, navigate social life, support opportunities across the university, and make friends. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provision of Global Buddies was changed from focusing on visiting international students (i.e. those on a year or semester abroad) to all incoming International Students, regardless of level or duration of study. At the beginning of the 2020-21 Academic Year, over 2600 International students signed up to take part, with 377 current students undertaking training to become Group Leaders; numbers that are expected to keep growing.

SOCIETIES

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There are 53 international and multicultural societies at Edinburgh University Students' Association, from the African Caribbean Society, to Turkish Society. These groups aim to bridge cultural gaps between students from different countries or cultural backgrounds, and attract students who are interested in learning further languages. Some of these societies attract students studying key languages associated- for example those studying Spanish might attend Latin American Society to gain some cultural insight before embarking on a year abroad. Other societies may appeal to students who have never had an opportunity to learn about a part of the world before- for example Yugo Society is a group for and about those from or interested in ex-Yugoslavian countries.


SWITZERLAND

LAUSANNE UNIVERSITY BY CAROLINE JOYET

Considering travelling or studying in Switzerland ? With 12 state run universities, 7000 lakes and ranked as the most innovative country in the world in the 2018 Global innovation index, Switzerland is certainly a unique and prestigious place. Caroline is from Morrens and studies Medicine at Lausanne University. Here she tells us more.

What do you know about Switzerland? Usually, in people’s mind, Switzerland is the country of chocolate, watches and banks… I have to say that this is quite true but there are also a lot of other things to discover! Lausanne is a swiss city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It’s the fourth largest city in Switzerland, the capital of the canton of Vaud and hosts the International Olympic Committee. The city centre is really nice and you’re able to get into nature if that’s where you want to be. As Switzerland is a small country, you can easily visit different places and take a day out as a tourist (public transports is well developed!). Lausanne stands next to the Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) but it is also surrounded by mountains which can be reached in less than an hour. The university campus is primarily located a little outside of the city, offering you a beautiful landscape. In five minutes you can walk from the library to the lake if you want a break or just to relax after a day of studying. A lot of exchange students and students from abroad come every year to study in Lausanne. There are also a lot of activities and sports that are offered by the university for the students. If you want some more information, you can visit the university’s website: Main page: https://www.unil.ch/central/en/home.html Page specially dedicated to international students: https://www.unil.ch/international/en/home/menuinst/etudiantsinternationaux.html

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Caroline is happy to be contacted for more information at: caroline.joyet@uni.ch


IRELAND

Trinity College Dublin BY

GRACE

As the capital of the Republic of Ireland and lying on the east coast by the sea, with one of the youngest populations in Europe, 666 licenced pubs and five universities, Dublin is a vibrant city to study in. Grace is a fourth year Law and German student at Trinity College Dublin, which is Ireland’s oldest university founded in 1592, boasting alumni such as Oscar Wilde and beautiful historic libraries containing a copy of every book printed in the UK and Ireland. Read on to find out more about Grace’s home city, the university, and her experience.

GIVEN

The college year is punctuated with a variety of events such as game nights in the ‘Pav’ (the student bar), masquerade balls held at castles in the Irish countryside and charity boxing matches. But by far the best event is the annual Trinity Ball. Trinity Ball takes place on the grounds of the college at the end of the academic year. Each year a variety of acts perform at the event which attracts over 7000 attendees. Some of the acts that have taken the stage at Trinity Ball over the years include George Ezra, Jessie J, Imagine Dragons and Ellie Goulding. The night is an otherworldly experience and not to be missed.

Having grown up and attended school in Dublin, I always knew that I wanted to study at Trinity. Trinity is located in

Trinity is an inclusive, welcoming and active college. The

the heart of Dublin city centre but has retained the charm

campus is beautiful and historic, the community is vibrant

of a historic university campus. Studying at Trinity truly

and innovative, and the student experience is unparalleled.

combines the past and the present and makes for a

It is said that your years spent at university are the best

completely unique college experience. I love walking

years of your life. I most certainly agree with this

across Front Square with a coffee in hand, en route to a

sentiment and couldn’t be happier to be spending these

lecture in the Arts Block. Exam period is often punctuated

years at Trinity College Dublin.

with (perhaps excessively long) lunch breaks in one of the many restaurants dotted all around the city. On occasion

Trinity’s location is not the only thing that sets the

my friends and I have even ended up taking a study break

university apart. Trinity College Dublin is one of the seven

on the beach due to a particularly challenging essay.

ancient universities of Britain and Ireland. Founded in 1592, it is widely considered the most prestigious

A really interesting aspect of society life is the role it plays

university in Ireland, and one of the most elite academic

in facilitating meaningful interaction between students

institutions in Europe. Alumni include various Nobel

and lecturers. The Germanic Society hold a weekly

laureates, poets, presidents, scientists, human rights

‘Stammtisch’ in a bar close to campus, this event allows

activists and artists. It is a great privilege to be able to

students to engage with their lecturers in a casual and

study at an institution that has fostered some of the best

informal setting. Students and lecturers often go head-to-

minds throughout the ages.

head in debates held weekly by one of the debating

Not only is Trinity renowned for academic excellence,

societies. Such events draw the college community

the university itself is vibrant and provides an incredible

together and foster the welcoming atmosphere that Trinity

student life. The college community consists of over 18,000

is so well known for.

students and Trinity has over 120 dynamic college societies. No matter what interests you, from Quidditch to politics, DJing to astrology, there is a club for everyone. During my first year I joined over 20 different societies and it was a great way to explore new interests while also making friends from all walks of life. Image: The Campanile at sunset. (The Campanile Curse says that anyone who walks beneath the Campanile is doomed to fail all their exams.)

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"MASQUERADE BALLS HELD AT CASTLES IN THE IRISH COUNTRYSIDE AND CHARITY BOXING MATCHES"


ENGLAND

DURHAM BY MIEKE BUCKLEY Established in 1832, Durham is home to England’s third oldest university. The university is made up of seventeen colleges, acting as little communities and each being said to have a different personality. Durham city itself is close to the Scottish border, lying just south of Newcastle. The city is tiny but very beautiful, with cobbled streets and ‘Palace Green’ in its centre, where the famous Durham Castle and Cathedral are located.

If you’re studying in Durham, here are some of the things you have to do before you leave...

01

OBSERVATORY HILL

Watch the sunset from the top of Observatory hill. It’s a short 10 minute walk from the university’s main library (The Billy B) and is well worth a visit. You’ll have a great view over the whole city, dominated by Durham Cathedral and Castle. Both are free to visit if you’re a student. The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many claims to fame, the most exciting being that the cloisters were used to film a whole couple of scenes from the entire eight-film Harry Potter franchise.

02

KLUTE: OLDIE BUT GOLDIE

Don’t be tricked by its claim as being the ‘Worst nightclub in Europe’: this club is not one to miss. Infamous for being packed to the brim one night, and completely empty the next, Klute is a champion of all the classic bangers. If you enjoy good music, this is probably not the club for you...

CHEESY CHIPS AT STANTONS

No Durham night out is complete without cheesy chips from Stantons. A short walk from most clubs, Stantons is a late-night chippy available to satisfy all your artery-clogging cravings. To really embrace the Northern culture, try cheesy chips with gravy.

04

FINCHALE PRIORY

One of the best things about Durham is the surrounding countryside: there are so many great day trips you can do: from the island of Lindisfarne, to Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast. One of my favourite walks from Durham city centre is along the River Wear to the ruined remains of Finchale Priory. The priory originates from the 12th century and acted as a formal outpost of Durham Cathedral. For the braver hearted, there are a number of great swimming spots along the route.

05

FORMALS

A long-standing tradition of the university, formals are formal dinners held in college. Different colleges have their own takes on formals; the traditions vary, but the general idea is a smart dinner, offered within college. It’s a great excuse to dress up and socialise with people in your college. Some colleges require you to wear a gown, whilst others opt for fancy dress instead.

Mieke comes from London and studied Chemistry at the University of Durham. She can be contacted at: annemariekecbuckley@hotmail.com

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03


SPAIN

The image above was drawn by Ruben who studies Modern languages and literatures at Compultense University of Madrid in Spain, a country with a rich cultural history and over 70 universities rated highly in world rankings. He would prefer not to describe the art too much and rather leave it to your own interpretation. It is his expression of Spanish culture. Description: upper part- Guernia, the left- war propaganda and Charles V, centre- Don Quixote and Sancho traversing a Muslim arch of crumbling columns, the right- Goya, Gerca and baroque skull and bottom- sea and colon’s carabelas. Ruben can be contacted further at: rubent01@ucm.es

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By Ruben Torrez Urcelay


SCOTLAND

G L A S G O W ‘WHEREVER I GO MY HEART IS IN GLASGOW’

BY NICOLE STEVENSON

"WHEREVER I WANDER, WHEREVER I ROVE, THE STREETS OF GLASGOW FOREVER I LOVE." (BURNS, 1798)

The city lies on the river Clyde in the west central lowlands of Scotland with a population of over 600,000 (2019) and is one of the UK’s most visited cities. It is a cultural hub, hosting the Scottish Opera, ballet, national theatres and football as well as universities like the University of Glasgow founded in the 15th century. Nicole is currently in Bible College and she can be contacted for more information at: nicole.stevenson2000@gmail.com

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Scottish poet Robert Burns famously wrote, ‘My Heart is in the Highlands’. It is easy to sympathise with Burns- many people would share his affection for the north of Scotland. However, I would like to pay tribute to a place which rarely receives the love it deserves. A city whose beauty is sorely overlooked. An underappreciated dot on Scotland’s map, Glasgow is a city where I have lived, studied and worked; it is the place where I feel most at home. I know the streets like the back of my hand and yet somehow I am always happening upon new beauty spots. I never feel lonely when I am in Glasgow because it is a friendly city, populated with people who value good banter and pubs full of people who are always up for a laugh, nor do I ever go hungry in Glasgow- the city has such a variety of cuisines on offer and caters to everyone’s taste buds. Certainly, one of the reasons Glasgow is such a special place to me is because it is where I go to church- you see, I have travelled to many countries, explored many cities, seen many wonders and yet my heart strings always pull me back to Glasgow.


EUROPEAN STUDY EXCHANGES THE ADVENTURE AWAITS The following section of CulTÜre will focus on temporary European university study exchanges. Many of the articles written here are by students who have taken part in the Erasmus programme.

DID YOU KNOW?

HOW CAN TIME SPENT STUDYING OR WORKING ABROAD HELP?

-Erasmus is the world’s most successful student mobility programme.

Time spent abroad has been shown to increase employability with students gaining invaluable cultural awareness, openness and language skills

- It has given over three million European students chances to study and work abroad.

as well as confidence, independence and an ability

- Love is in the air! More than a million babies have been born from

to overcome challenges in working things out for

couples who met during the Erasmus programme and over 25% of

themselves. Self-development and the forging of

students who took part in the programme found their soul mate

new networks and relationships. also evidently

abroad (Euboserver).

occur. WHAT IS THE ERASMUS PROGRAMME?

A big enabler of such experiences is the Erasmus Programme, an European Union student exchange programme which has been running since 1987. The programme’s longer official name is

WHAT ABOUT IF I WANT TO STUDY OR WORK IN THE UK OR OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE EU DURING MY DEGREE?

The UK is currently working on and has produced the Turing Programme which can provide funding and will replace the Erasmus

European Community Action Scheme for the

programme which the UK is no longer taking part in, after having left

Mobility of University Students and offers funding

the EU. Many UK universities still have long-standing links to

and opportunities to study and work abroad

universities throughout Europe and other countries outside of the EU

during a university degree.

such as Norway are still part of the Erasmus programme..

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SPAIN B Y

HOLA, COM VA?

M E R E L

D E

K L E R K

Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s capital city for neuroscience, which was my field of interest. Three of its biggest universities – among others the Universitat de Barcelona, my host university – provide courses on this matter. Although I went on exchange to Barcelona for my bachelors, I was free to choose master courses, which match better with my background in Psychobiology than the bachelor courses offered at the university – both with regards to the content and regarding the level of education. It should be noted, though, that many courses are offered only in Catalan or Spanish, but as the university offers a Spanish language course, of which the ECTS course credits may be included in impossible. However, the main language of Barcelona is Catalan, and to connect with the people there it would really help to try to pick up a bit of Catalan, which looks like a mixture between Spanish and French. When I arrived at the airport I thought by myself: “Why is everything

bit like Scottish (at least to me). Many of my friends visited me while I studied in Barcelona, and they all agreed that the city was surprisingly different (in a good way!) from what they had expected. The same actually applies to me. Barcelona has so much more to offer than the Gothic quarter and the extended nightlife. All barrios are very different from each other and in each barrio you will notice a different atmosphere. With many cafes, Sant Antoni is my favourite neighbourhood (check out Carrer del Parlament). It is customary to start a Sunday with brunch and a vermut, a very popular and also my favourite drink. The cafes are perfect for studying, which I did extensively there. During my study breaks, I tried to catch some sun while walking to the next café, simultaneously getting to know the neighbourhood and the city better. GUADEIX DE L'INTERCANVI!

Merel comes from the Netherlands and studies Neuroscience. She took part in the Erasmus programme in Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain, located on the north eastern coast and founded as a Roman city. She can be contacted at: mtdeklerk@hotmail.com

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your curriculum, it is challenging but certainly not

written in French, but misspelt?” Despite that, it sounds a


HOW TO LEARN A LANGUAGE ON A YEAR ABROAD 03 WRITTEN BY TOBY GAY These may be crazy times, but if you happen to find yourself abroad and trying to learn the native language like I am, these 10 tips should benefit you regardless of any global contagion/lockdown/meltdown.

01 DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE CHANGES

WORK OUT HOW TO USE ONLINE TRANSLATORS EFFECTIVELY

For the record, I have never dreamt of using google translate for even a single word while writing academic essays in Spanish. Not once. Ever. But… if I were to ever try it, I may be inclined to say: a) download the app onto your phone (along with – for Spanish – Spanishdict to translate more colloquial expressions), (b) use DeepL for very long texts, (c) do extensive research on what google translate gets wrong when translating into your target language. For Spanish it’s the difference between the prepositions “por” and “para”, for example.

Although it’s a cliché to say that learning a new language is a commitment you have to make every day, you will only truly understand this when you go abroad. Whilst it may seem like it’s easy to immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture, give or take a couple of awkward weeks at the start, the truth is you can surround yourself with the culture's people – flatmates, colleagues, teachers, students and cut yourself off from your native language speaking people and media but still not make real progress in learning a language if you lack the motivation for it. Find people to talk to and set up a daily routine to remind yourself of why you're there and why you love doing what you do.

Set up a daily routine to remind yourself of why you're there and why you love what you're learning to do.

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Chances are you will have moved to your destination without much prior planning. This may have led to you to making some big commitments far too quickly: what to study, where to work, where to live. Be assured, it is never too late to make a change if things aren’t working out. People will be understanding and helpful, and while the bureaucracy involved could be a bit daunting, unless you’re in a Germanic country, the enforcement of regulations is usually pretty lax. So you can probably afford to a cut a corner or two. You can’t learn how to communicate with people if you don’t have anyone to communicate with, so do everything you can to surround yourself with people you are confident to make mistakes around.

02

REMEMBER IT'S A DAILY COMMITMENT


04 FIND FRIENDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE Undergoing a barrage of new, masked and socially distanced faces, quietly speaking a language you barely understand let alone speak yourself, you could be forgiven for keeping to yourself on the first day of an internship or university course. Sadly, it’s more important than ever to make friends on a year abroad quickly, when the threat of isolation, loneliness, and plain confusion looms so large. Trust yourself to make a good first impression and make time to get to know the people you meet afterwards.

05 GO ABOVE AND BEYOND IN THE GROUP COURSEWORK …or whatever you’re working on in your job/internship. The harsh reality is that, to start with at least, you’ll be a burden to whoever you’re asked to work with, which is why it’s more important than ever to burn the midnight oil a bit (but also not too much) and go that extra mile with regards to homework / preparation for work. You’ll gain the respect of your peers, hopefully make a positive contribution, and improve your grades, as well as your language skills.

06

Across the world, people love an opportunity to practise their language skills. Make sure people realise the first time you speak to them, that you’re here to learn their language.

START CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EARLY Because it’s a great excuse to explore the area you’re staying in. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, it’s always frustratingly easy to slip into a routine. I find the best excuse to explore a new neighbourhood or town is to think of your nearest and dearest and become a tourist again in the process of finding gifts for them. Basically, it’s important to remember how blessed you are to be in the position you’re in, and enjoy the huge variety that life has to offer you while abroad. There’s nothing like getting to grips with the local material culture to animate your desire to learn the language.

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TELL PEOPLE NOT TO SPEAK TO YOU IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE

07


08 PUT A COUNTRY-SPECIFIC TWIST ON A HOBBY OF YOURS OR PICK UP A NEW ONE! Love cooking? Do a local cooking course or get a flatmate to teach you how to prepare the local cuisine. Join a football club if that is your thing. Or, even better yet, try something completely out of the ordinary and totally unique to where you are. The more niche and traditional it is, the less likely you are to hear your native language being spoken, which is obviously something you want to limit.

YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT MORE THAN JUST HOW TO COMMUNICATE AND CONNECT WITH OTHER PEOPLE – BUT ABOUT YOURSELF AS WELL.

09

10 GET INVESTED IN YOUR AREA, IT’S PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE!

USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND FRIENDS

Having said that, everyone needs a break from constantly learning to speak a new language and adjust to living in a different country. For this reason, it’s important to have a connection back to home in the form of your native mother tonguespeaking friends. It can be tricky to find new friends of keep these contacts though sometimes, which is why I would recommend turning to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. to find people with things in common. You may even find speakers of your native language belonging to a group based where you’re staying on Facebook, or a weekly event featuring music, stand-up comedy, poetry etc. in your native language, where you can meet people to chill with and recover from the energy guzzler which is learning a new language.

Lastly, (and this is something you can do in spite of the effects of any microscopic killing machines (Covid)), you can find out about the history of the building, street, neighbourhood, town, province, or country you’re living in. You can write articles, contribute to social media pages, do selfguided walking tours, or even fill out Wikipedia pages, in the spirit of getting in touch with where you’re living. It will provide access points for conversations with locals or friends, give an opportunity to learn a more academic style of the language you’re learning or help to inform yourself of the social and political issues happening where you are. In fact, if history isn’t your thing then you can forget about all that and dive straight into local volunteering and activism (obviously stay away if it appears to get dangerous though!).

The bottom line is: Be brave. Try new things all the time and remind yourself constantly why you’re out here. You’ll learn more than just to communicate and connect with other people, but about yourself as well.

Toby is a British 3rd year Spanish and Linguistics student at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently on his Erasmus+ exchange studying at UAB in Barcelona, Spain. He is happy to be contacted at: tobyasg1999@yahoo.co.uk

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GERMANY ONE OF THE

TÜBINGEN

ASPECTS I LOVED MOST ABOUT LIVING IN TÜBINGEN WAS

YEAR ABROAD

THE AMOUNT OF NATURE IN THE

BY JASMINE REAY

TOWN.

Think quintessential German postcard town, amazing town hall or “Rathaus”, stunning colourful buildings, red roofs and a beautiful river running around an island and you have Tübingen in South-Western Germany where I spent my university Erasmus study year abroad for German and Linguistics. Tübingen is based near the Swabian Alb, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. There are lots of hiking trails nearby such as the waterfall at Bad Urach, the black forest, castles like Schloss Lichtenstein. Smaller towns can also be easily reached by train or bus and, often, very cheaply with the student semester ticket. One of the aspects I also loved most about living in Tübingen was the amount of nature in the town itself. For example, where I lived in the student dorm area of Waldhäuser- Ost was a ten minute walk away from forests and fields (which were great for running in), as well as a farm and riding school! The town’s size was also perfect in that I couldn’t get too lost and often bumped into friends when in the centre which made for a nice community feel and really helped strengthen friendship bonds.

language. This felt very novel compared to where I live in South West England, where it takes a while to even get to France!

There are lots of independent shops selling everything from coffee to chocolate and

The university in Tübingen also offered a range of courses in English and is

lamps, as well as fresh fruit markets during the

very organised. There is a foreign languages centre "Fremdsprachzentrum“

week. Unfortunately I missed out on the

which offers orientation and language "Start“ courses for the university. This

Christmas and chocolate markets due to

was great for settling in and the perfect opportunity to meet people. There

Covid and the annual punting or for these! Although the town is small, one in three residents are students and there is much to do. The Sommernachtskino (summer night outdoor cinema) was a particular highlight which showcased interesting independent films in the open air with refreshments, and sometimes a live band. Italy, Switzerland and France are also easy to visit and suddenly you are in a different culture with a new cuisine or

German. These were run by friendly, supportive teachers. Tübingen may be too small for some, but I learnt so much about myself and the world whilst being in this town and met so many great people. Jasmine is from Torquay in Devon, South-West England and studies German and Linguistics in Edinburgh. She curated CulTÜre whilst in Tübingen (as the name suggests). She is happy to be contacted about CulTÜre, Devon, Edinburgh or Tübingen and can be reached at: jasminereay14@gmail.com

CULTÜRE | PAGE 20

„Stocherkahn“ race but I will definitely return

were also level based language courses which really helped to improve my


NORWAY OSLO SEMESTER ABROAD BY PHILIPP MELITZ I study law at the University of Tübingen. In the winter semester of 2018/19, I spent time abroad at the University of Oslo (Faculty of Law), in the capital of Norway. On the website of the Faculty of Law in Tübingen, I came across the various Erasmus programmes under the heading "International". Because of Scandinavia's good reputation and my desire to have lived there at least once, I decided on going to the city of Oslo. I received good organisational support from my home university, for example by attending the information events offered as part of the preparation or by contacting the Erasmus contact person at my faculty at any time with questions. The application was done online and without any problems via the portal: "Application for exchange students". Immediately after my successful enrolment at the host university, I received a "Letter of Admission" by email with a reference to the central hall of residence administration in Oslo (SIO - "The Student Welfare Organisation of Oslo and Akershus") as well as instructions about how to apply for a room within a student dorm. Without any intermediate steps, I was offered a place in a student hall of residence about two weeks after my application.

Moreover, I was very satisfied with the accommodation during my entire stay - in terms of criteria such as hygiene, size, priceperformance ratio, flatmates, etc. I would therefore advise any student to apply for a room in a student hall of residence. Accordingly, I would advise every student looking for accommodation to do so with the help of the above-mentioned organisation: SIO. I travelled to Oslo by plane. There is a simple train connection, "Flytoget", from the airport directly to the city centre at a relatively cheap student price of just under 13€. The university itself offers a variety of English-language courses, as well law. If you have a basic command of English, you should have no problems with the courses - the lecturers are often very lenient with students who do not have a full command of the language. There were 2 semester hours per week for each chosen course, which is why you have a lot of free time during the week - at least in the weeks before the exam period began. The courses differed from the learning methodology in Tübingen in that you were given a "reading list" and had to read this for the exams. More detailed information about the exams and the respective material was only presented in a very abstract way. Nevertheless, the exams themselves were not too demanding in terms of level. This was mainly due to the fact that the exams were so-called "open-book written examinations" and you could therefore take your own notes and textbooks with you to the exam. The location of the law faculty was perfect. It is located directly in the

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"The many international contacts you make during your semester abroad shape your character and lead to longlasting friendships." centre of the city at the end of the largest shopping street and very close to the Royal Palace. There were also plenty of opportunities to search for literature in the law library in the law faculty. However, if you need an even larger selection, you can get to the Oslo University Library in just 15 minutes by "TBane" (underground). Many computers are also available there. The host university offered an information point within my faculty specifically geared towards Erasmus students, which you can contact at any time during opening hours or by email. The so-called "Buddy Week" also provided many impressions of the city of Oslo and you quickly got to know new people and were thus able to integrate well into the new social environment. The so-called "buddies" (students at the University of Oslo) help with all questions, whether university or non-university related. The city of Oslo offers many different sights. With the help of the "Visit Oslo" app, you can get a good overview of possible activities in all areas. Since contactless payment by credit or debit card is now almost the only way to pay throughout Scandinavia, I recommend that you focus less on cash and more on a bank that charges little or no foreign transaction fees for card payments. Public transport is very well organised and you can get to your planned destinations quickly by bus, tram or metro. As a student, you pay just under €45 for a digital monthly ticket. In terms of living costs, Oslo is a very expensive city and you have to be very careful with your finances. Some of the simplest everyday purchases can lead to expenses of 20-25€. Supermarket chains like "Rema1000" are still relatively cheap though. The stay abroad in Oslo was very good. From the smooth preparation to the well-organised integration in a new country and city to the departure from Oslo, I did not face any insurmountable problems. Above all, the relaxed mentality throughout the city created a good atmosphere and made the time in Oslo very pleasant. The many international contacts you make during your semester abroad shape your character and lead to long-lasting friendships. With the help of Erasmus, everything went very well and it was an important part of my life.

Phil comes from Stuttgart, Germany and studies law at Ebehard Karls Universität Tübingen. He is happy to be contacted at: philipp.melitz@gmx.de

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GERMANY Weihnachten By Jasmine Reay

Eerie stillness permeates the streets, Behind closed shutters distanced but sweet. As this invisible, disastrous blend Twists and mingles Strange sorrow Beautiful, haunting, frost enthused cold Family, tradition, warmth, and gold.

Familiar yet far, marooned yet at peace, A cultured bunch gather to meet. A tangling of lives from fateful mistake, Craving exchange and togetherness amidst this harsh world, Away from one in which all suddenly were hurled.

Yet at that one moment, at that one place, After every decision counted on and made. From far reaches of the globe, courses, and goals, There is a at once a family, quite special to behold.

Exchanging and connections, sparks red and blue, Although along the way, we may have lost a few. A merging of lives, spear headed to one purpose, Far from home, yet homes bought together, For a unity though that will once again tether.

Decades from now in lands far away We shall all look back in wonder and grey, From scientist to lawyer, or mother or woe, In this small moment all came together. A single glimmering, joyous night of fusion,

This poem was written during the pandemic and describes the Christmas spent abroad in Tübingen, Germany with many cultures and a time of togetherness with lives meeting for a short while.

CULTÜRE | PAGE 23

All that felt right, delicate inclusion.


FULL TIME THE FOLLOWING SECTION LOOKS TO STUDENTS WHO HAVE DECIDED TO STUDY FULL TIME ABROAD IN A EUROPEAN COUNTRY. DOING A DEGREE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY LIKE THIS CAN BE A JUMP IN THE DEEP END BUT AN AMAZING WAY TO IMPROVE LANGUAGE SKILLS, INDEPENDENCE AND MAKE CONNECTIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. YOU CAN READ ON MORE TO FIND OUT ABOUT HANNA AND PATRICIA’S EXPERIENCES IN SCOTLAND AND THE NETHERLANDS!

ABROAD CULTÜRE | PAGE 24


SCOTLAND FULL TIME ABROAD:

STUDYING IN EDINBURGH As part of the UK, with excellent transport links, a rich culture and surrounded by the sea, highlands and islands, Scotland is a popular study destination for students from around the world. Edinburgh, as the capital, boasts national libraries, theatres and museums and even an extinct volcano as well as six universities. Hanna comes from Munich in Germany and is a full time Latin and Ancient History student in her 4th year at the University of Edinburgh, which is not only one of Scotland’s ancient universities founded in 1583 but is also the largest university in Scotland with over 13,000 international students (2019) and is ranked 16th in the 2022 QS World University rankings as well as the second best student city in the UK (QS Best Student Cities 2019). Read on to find out more about Hanna’s story of starting out in the UK, studying in English abroad and her love of the cities’ coffee shops!

before I came to a place I never had been to, to stay for four years with a language I wasn’t 100 percent confident in. However, when I arrived a week before the start of the semester with my family for a bit of sightseeing, it hit me. I was super nervous and cursing myself for not choosing the easy way of studying at home. Everything was unfamiliar and overwhelming. I had no clue about what to expect, where to start and knew nobody. Even when I met a few people on my first evening in the new accommodation and I successfully survived Freshers’ Week, afterwards I just wanted the first three weeks to be over, so that all my first-times-foreverything would be over already. (First time meeting my flatmates, first time finding my way around campus, first classes, first time shopping, first time figuring out the

CULTÜRE | PAGE 25

Hey, my name is Hanna. Originally from Munich, I am now studying Classics in my fourth year at the University of Edinburgh. When I decided that I wanted to study abroad, I was in the middle of my voluntary service in Thailand and staying at home after a year of living on my own in an exciting new environment would have felt like a step back. University in Britain (USA and Canada were too expensive for me to consider) also seemed much more hyped and elaborate with all the colleges, societies and hundreds of different sport clubs as well as other offers. When I got a conditional offer for the University of Edinburgh, I thus couldn’t believe my luck. My plan B had been practically non-existent, or at least had no real passion behind it. I didn’t really have much time to worry about the difficulties and challenges that I might face


important step each time is to find a new coffee shop nearby that I can adopt as my studying space for the following year. Edinburgh is perfect for that and I was really lucky when new cafés opened twice, just after I moved to the area. I love studying at coffee shops because the atmosphere is just perfect, cosy, warm and friendly, with a cup of coffee and a bit of social interaction. My bed is also not right next to me to tempt me there! My first year coffee shop is still my favourite place in Edinburgh, the OQO Coffee Nook in New Town. During welcome Week I still have the habit to check out all the taster sessions that interest me, to find a new activity to try out for the upcoming academic year. The amount of offers always pressures me a bit, but I found a few things to start with to which I could potentially add more. It took me a while to understand that I prefer spending time with a few people and things, to really get to know them rather than too many superficially. All that said though, Edinburgh has been great in terms of my experiences as well as in terms of the city itself: small but not too small,

uni-centred, but also a lot more than student areas. There is nature and culture, amazing architecture and a lot of coffee shops (I had to give them a mention again here, given that I spend almost every day in one!). My favourite things are the evenings I spent with my friends, ceilidhs in crowded bars, binge-watching Game of Thrones, poker with M&Ms, getting takeaways, dancing together in the kitchen or playing card games as well as the casual meet ups at bars or coffee shops, going to the Playhouse for a musical on my own, the feeling of achievement after a day of studying and the knowledge I gained from my courses that helps expand my understanding of the world. I am forever grateful for the friends and experiences I have made here and I can’t believe that I am already in my seventh semester of eight. Studying abroad might seem scary at first but it is definitely worth it.

By Hanna Schuster

Hanna is happy to be contacted at: schuster.hanna1@web.de

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washing machine and all the tiny banal things you never waste a thought on beforehand but that give you a small panic attack when you realise that your skills do not yet extend that far). In hindsight, all of this makes me smile now and my decision to study in Edinburgh was definitely the right one - I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any second of it or any of the amazing people that I met. It wasn’t always easy though. At the beginning I could barely follow my classes because my vocabulary was not equipped with the nuanced and uncommon words needed in translation courses for example . But everyone was very considerate and my advancements in English are probably the most salient ones that I am also very proud of. I did miss home quite a bit as well, especially before I had my established friendship groups. But all my experiences made me the person I am now and I am very happy about that. After three years I can see some patterns emerging about the way I go about a new uni year (although COVID did disrupt that quite a bit as well as everything else). So far I have moved flat every year and the most


THE NETHERLANDS

well as beautiful sites! The whole country is also very bike friendly. There are even more bikes in the city than citizens which is quite funny! Fast forward to the present and I am 4 months into my studies and if there hadn't have been Covid, it certainly would have been a tremendous experience. To my advantage, the Netherlands was quite slow to adopt any measures at the beginning of the pandemic, so I managed to explore a little in September. I made a day trip to the island of Schiermonnikoog in the north, participated in an international dinner organised by the Erasmus Student Network and became a committee member of my study programme. Although the beginning of the academic year hasn’t been the most fortunate so far, I´m trying to keep my head up and think that in a few months I´ll be able to live my university life to the fullest.

FULL TIME ABROAD

Hanze University of Applied Sciences: Groningen. BY PATRICIA KOCOVA Groningen is a vibrant, historic city in the north of the Netherlands, 147km from Amsterdam. Patricia is from Kosice in Slovakia and studies Marketing Management full time abroad there. Hear more from her experience, the university, and the city as she starts out on this adventurous journey.

She is happy to be contacted at: kocova@gmail.com

CULTÜRE | PAGE 27

Hi! My name is Patricia and I´m Slovak. I´ve always loved going to different places, and therefore always knew that I'd end up studying in a foreign country. This year I started to attend Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen in the Netherlands. The selection process was quite long and, at first, I was a bit indecisive about choosing which study programme it was that I would enjoy the most. When I finally decided on Marketing Management, I found that there were only a couple of universities in the Netherlands with this study programme. The university in Groningen was one of them and when I was doing my research, I discovered that a girl from a class above me in high school was already studying there. We started to chat and she provided me with a lot of insights about the city. There was no going back at that point! I fell in love with the city; it had so much nature, a lot of lakes as


This next section takes a look at university related work experiences; either internships that university students such as Phil took part in during their degree in Europe or working and becoming a language teacher within a university such as Zuzanna. You can hear more about their experiences and get inspired here.

WORK

WORK ABROAD

SPENT ABROAD, NOT ONLY FROM MEETING NEW PEOPLE BUT ALSO ABOUT THE CULTURE, GEOGRAPHY, FESTIVALS, CUSTOMS AND OBVIOUSLY THE LANGUAGE".

CULTÜRE | PAGE 28

ABROAD

"WE CAN LEARN A LOT FROM TIME


SCOTLAND FULL TIME ABROAD (TEACHING)

LIVING AND WORKING IN EDINBURGH THE JOURNEY AND THE EXPERIENCE BY ZUZANNA WINKE

As a child I was always really interested in Scotland. I obviously had no

people it can be hard to imagine living

idea then though what was where, the names of the cities, islands or lochs

in Scotland because there is so little

but I always knew that it is a magical country with fairytale-esque forests

sun or as it is too cold. I am of a

and sheep- which I always liked and even had two myself at home in the

different opinion though and

countryside! I knew back then that, in my opinion, I could not find

personally feel very good here. The

something like this in Poland nor in Germany. There was something else

country’s location only has advantages

too- I always wanted to be a teacher (I still had a dream of becoming a

for me.

dentist but ultimately I changed my mind and became a German teacher,

In my opinion these were the largest

11th in 2010, because I sang in a choir, I travelled to Scotland to take part

challenges: Firstly I had to leave

in a Christmas concert. It was a wonderful time and everything was as

everything which I had already worked

fairytale-esque as I had always imagined it would be. It was also very

for as well as my nearest and dearest.

slippery with the streets full of snow and covered in ice. I wanted to get

Secondly- the language, English, which

out of the minibus and then it happened- I was suddenly lying on the floor

I never learnt in school or beyond and

with my face in the snow laughing, when all at once, I saw a hand before

thirdly- English with the Scottish

my eyes and heard a warm voice: "Can I help?". Yes, and so it began. I fell in

accent. That was not easy but I do not

love with this helpful man and not only with this country. Romantic but

regret my decision. I learnt the basics

true ;) In 2015 I was in Edinburgh more and more until, in September 2017, I

of English rapidly with only 60 hours

began to work at Edinburgh University.

of lessons. My students had, and continue to have, a lot of patience and

Why Edinburgh exactly? It was definitely not because I had just picked out

explain many things to me. I teach

this city due to it being the capital. In my case, it was because I had fallen

them German and they me English and

in love here and then had read and learnt more and more about this

actually I feel like a student myself

beautiful city. I can remember the time well when I watched all kinds of

who got a scholarship, but my time

YouTube videos to know as much as possible about Edinburgh before

here just lasts a little longer… ;)

visiting. A larger advantage for example is also the climate here. For many

CULTÜRE | PAGE 29

which I also really love). One day in December, to be more precise on the


"I simply like everything here: The city, the whole country, the countryside, the air, haggis." I simply like everything here: The city, the whole country, the countryside, the air, haggis;) I love my job and am very happy that I can continue with what I have learnt and with what has always been so fun for me. Teaching is my passion. The colleagues and students are very nice and when we talk and have lessons, the time flies by; The atmosphere is very good. The colleagues, all the teachers- not only those in the German department, were and are very helpful as well as patient and I learn more every day. I can remember well when I led my first lesson. The students were those who had never learnt German before and I had to explain everything in English. It meant a lot of stress for me but at long last everything was accomplished. At the beginning I always prepared for three hours before the lesson. I had translated all the words, then the complete sentences and hoped that there wouldn’t be too many questions ;)! I prepared myself though for all possible versions of questions and answers. Then came the grammar, all the rules, all to be explained in English- that wasn’t an easy time but today I can say that it was the best lesson for me and although I was thrown in at the deep end, I could hold myself above the surface and with time, swim better and I continue to swim further. Currently, because of the pandemic, times are different, teaching methods have changed and it is also different to teach online, when both student and teacher really miss the buildings and classrooms. That is also a definite challenge. No-one had expected that but humans can adjust to many situations, get used to them. All in all I think it is great when people are given the opportunity to study or work abroad, although it is also connected with fear (especially at the beginning). I also believe that when fate awaits us, then, it doesn’t matter whatever the path is that we choose because we will always reach the same destination in the end anyway. We can learn a lot from time spend abroad, not only from meeting new people but also about the culture, geography, festivals, customs and obviously the language. From my perspective that all looks very positive and, with clear conscience, I can recommend such an "adventure“ to anyone.

CULTÜRE | PAGE 30

Zuzanna is German/Polish and was born in Olesno, Poland. She studied Germanistik in Breslau and now teaches German at the University of Edinburgh, where she is well loved for her bubbly personality and fun teaching methods. Since 2015/16 she has lived and worked in Scotland and is happy to be contacted at: zuzanna.winke@gmail.com


ITALY

WORK ABROAD INTERNSHIP MILAN

By Philipp Melitz

In March 2019 I worked in a law firm in the centre of Milan. Life in Milan is very interesting and full of new impressions of a different culture. There are many bars and restaurants you can visit and despite Milan being a very big city, it has many green and quiet spaces where you can read a book and relax for a bit. Food prices are fairly cheap, however the accommodation rent costs can be pretty high in the city centre. I therefore recommend living a bit outside the city since the public transport (Metro) is really well connected and gives you flexibility to easily visit many interesting places. The people are very nice and you’ll have no problem communicating in English only - still it is appreciated when you try your best to speak a little Italian. I am really happy with the experiences I had in Milan. The city allows you to gain an insight into Italian culture and inspired me in many ways.

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TEASER: TAKING A LOOK BEYOND EUROPE. GLOBAL EXPERIENCES

Read on to find out more about study abroad experiences outside of Europe. Max’s time in Taiwan provides a teaser of what is to come in future issues of CulTÜre as we look further afield to global opportunities as well as further specific countries which will serve again as focal points.

CULTÜRE | PAGE 32


TAIWAN

were about to leave, when a group of Taiwanese students called us over to join their game and turn it from a practice to a full 5 on 5 game. They were really friendly, seriously patient considering the language barrier, and helped us out by motivating us to become more comfortable as we practiced our Mandarin with them. This happened on multiple different occasions and is a great example of the hospitality of the Taiwanese. What I learned from this experience is that you can be placed somewhere with little to no local language skills and you can still use certain hobbies or passions to form new bonds or even as a pretext to improve your language skills. Of course, the most difficult part is taking the first step and getting out of your comfort zone by approaching some locals and giving it a shot. Sometimes though you might get lucky and all you’ll have to do is accept an invite and say : "I'm in".

National Taiwan University SHORT STAY ABROAD BY MAXI FRENZEN

Maxi comes from Germany and studies at Ebehard Karls Universität Tuebingen, where he also help to lead the StudIt international students group. The National Taiwan University where he stayed for the experience talked about in this article is located in Taipei City and is one of the highest ranked universities in Asia.

CULTÜRE | PAGE 33

A few years ago, I attended a Mandarin learning program at NTU (National Taiwan University) in Taipei, Taiwan. Although the program was great, my friends and I knew that we weren’t going to find the much-needed environment to improve our mandarin skills only inside of the classroom within our group of international students. In addition to that, we were starting to notice the effects that the local cuisine and many nights of going out were having on our waistlines! This led us to agree to make use of the university’s excellent public sports facilities . So, once or twice a week we’d meet for a game of basketball, volleyball or any other sport anyone suggested, depending on who had the equipment or if we could rent it from the uni. We soon realized however, that we couldn’t have the courts to ourselves every single time because of the local uni students. One day we got slightly disheartened at the sight of all the volleyball courts being used and


THANK YOU Thank you for reading the first issue of CulTÜre. I have learnt a lot about other cultures, towns and universities through its creation and hope it has also done the same for you and helped aid any travel, study or work abroad decisions you may have to be making or that this issue has inspired any future ideas! Thank you for all the support of friends and family in this issue's long creation and for our contributors and promoters. I hope to welcome you back again soon in future issues of the magazine where there will be articles focused on specific countries and where we will also look to travel, work and study opportunities beyond Europe !

Jasmine

Please note: All images other than logos used in this issue are copyright free and have been taken by the authors themselves with consent along with name, personal photo or contact detail use.


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