Berlin, Germany - Lance P.

Name: Lance P.
Diploma program before the BBA: Business Operations Management
Exchange Partner: Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (University of Applied Sciences) Berlin

What is a typical school day was like?
I usually wake up one hour before class starts. It takes 30 minutes to get from the dormitory to the campus. Classes for every course only take place once per week, so that means three to four hours of lectures and exercises with the same professor! After school, everyone typically goes to one of many sport programs that HTW Berlin offers, or just hangs out at the “Bierkeller,” a student-run bar located in the basement of the dormitory.

What is the campus like?
Both campuses of the university are in East Berlin. BBA students like me have most of their classes at the Treskowalle campus, which is about 25 minutes away from Alexanderplatz by underground train (U bahn). HTW Berlin’s classrooms and facilities are comparable to IZUNA’s (HTW’s washrooms are way better though). There is also a huge hall called the “Mensa” which is like a cafeteria where students can buy discounted or subsidized lunches. Complete meals just cost around $3 to $4.

What did you do to have fun?
The best thing about living in Berlin is that you can never run out of fun things to do. The city government’s marketing campaign tagline accurately describes it as “the place to be”. A friend who moved from the western part of Germany even told me that almost every young German’s dream is to live or study in Berlin.

I did the usual touristic things when I first came here, like sightseeing, visiting museums, and getting to know the city’s history. A typical weekend usually starts with hanging out with other exchange students and then going to some of Berlin’s many bars and nightclubs that the city is famous for.

Why would you recommend exchange to others?
Holidays, vacations, and excursions can occur every year, but going on an exchange for a semester or two can only happen once in a lifetime. It is the perfect opportunity for people, especially those in their early twenties like myself, to start being independent and to get out of our comfort zones. Invaluable life experiences are waiting out there that will definitely help anyone grow through adapting to a new culture and meeting a lot of amazing people from different parts of the world. All these, along with an open mind and a desire to try new things, will ultimately make anyone a better person.

What is your favorite memory or story involving your exchange?
Although I am only halfway through my exchange year, my favorite memory so far is my trip across Belgium that lasted for almost a week. I stayed mostly in Ghent, but also visited Bruges and Brussels. My friend invited me to come with him and visit his hometown, family and friends; he made me feel very welcome. The beautiful Belgian cities and my hosts’ remarkable hospitality made the whole trip very special and unforgettable.

What one tip would you give to students preparing for exchange?
Make sure to spend some time reading about the culture and history of the country and city you’re going to. It also helps a lot to learn a few basic words in the local language. Most importantly, come up with contingency or back-up plans regarding finances, arrangements, documents and any other concerns that may come up while you’re away from home.

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