Hallo meine Lieben!
I’m sure all of you are super busy managing time between essays, exam preparations and the fast approaching study abroad application deadline. Here’s a virtual hug and a tap on your shoulder, you is smart, you is kind, you is important, and you can do it.
To get your mind off your stress for a wee minute while still doing something productive (thinking about your study abroad application), get yourself a cup of tea, a blanket, sit in a comfortable position and read away. Since Holly already wrote such a good and informative post about the actual application process, I thought I should give you more specific tips as to why I think you should apply for Berlin if that’s a possibility for you.
- To put it very simple: Berlin is amazing
Whatever tickles your fancy – whether it’s electronic music, art or history (Berlin breathes history!), beautiful cycling views or gigantic flea markets – you’ll find it in this city of freedom. For me, Berlin was the first big city I ever visited where I could imagine living. B really has the best features of a metropolis: there is always something interesting happening and it is huge with its four million inhabitants, but you still don’t feel suffocated.
- You’ll be fluent in German
People exaggerate when they say life is too short to learn German, but you do really have to work for it! In order for you to do you study exchange here, you’re expected to have a certain level of the language already, but don’t be surprised if regardless of years of studying the language you find yourself really struggling in the beginning. You just need to speak and read in German and not let people talk English with you, even though Berliners easily change the language once they realise you’re not a native German speaker. As I told in a previous post, attending a language course before the start of semester was a great idea.
- Traveling in Europe couldn’t be easier
If Berlin starts to get boring (doesn’t happen that easily), or you just want to get a weekend getaway to forget uni stress, you’re just a cheap train (Deutsche Bahn sometimes surprises you and has good offers) / bus (Flixbus) / car sharing (BlaBlaCar) / plane (RyanAir) ride away from so many amazing places. Traveling in Europe from Berlin is as affordable and easy as it gets, you’re in the middle of everything basically! Germany itself is huge as well and has a lot of different interesting places to offer.
Studying overseas is of course a great opportunity, but for many people the idea of living so far away from Glasgow for an entire year is too scary, or the flights and living costs might quite frankly just be too expensive. Erasmus is in that sense an ‘easier’ option, since you’re just a relatively cheap and short flight away from Glasgow, and are eligible for an Erasmus grant during your semester/year abroad. The amount of the grant varies yearly depending on the living expenses in your host country, but for example this year the amount we get in Germany is 280€ (about £240) per month. Not a huge amount, but surely helpful! The future of the UK’s participation in the Erasmus scheme is of course at stake because of Brexit, so this could be your last chance to profit from this great opportunity.
- The high level of the universities
Last, but surely not least, both Glasgow Uni’s partner universities Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Freie Universität belong to the German Universities Excellence Initiative, as in the ‘elite universities’. You will surely gain academic skills that will enrich your studies and make your degree that much more interesting and appealing out in the real world.
Good luck with your applications and wherever you choose to apply, make sure you feel like it’s the best possible place for you, and you’ll have the time of your life
if when you go! Again, you can e-mail me any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help out in any way I can.