I have always admired Germany as one of the most developed countries in Europe. However, I could never even think of the opportunity to study there. But I was fortunate enough to participate in a special student exchange program between the Ukrainian National Forestry University and the Rottenburg University of Applied Forest Sciences.
I lived in Germany for three months. My three-month stay at a guest university was covered by the program and funded by the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM Scholarship Fund. The University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg has prepared everything necessary for my stay in Germany.
It was my first trip to Germany, a country I was not familiar with and a language I did not speak. However, almost everyone at the university spoke English, so there were no communication problems. My first impression of Germany was very good, everything seemed very tidy and surrounded by beautiful nature.
My accommodation was a 50-minute walk from the university and a 10-minute walk from the city center. The distance between my residence and the university was quite significant, but I could use a public bus or bike provided by the university. Several people lived with me in the house. Most of them were Germans, but there were also representatives of other countries.
The University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg is a university that offers students the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. The University is very interested in students’ development and organizes various interesting excursions to enterprises whose activities are relevant to the training of future specialists. I was able to join a tour of several enterprises organized for freshmen to get them acquainted with the potential prospects for their further development as professionals. I was also pleasantly surprised by the warm and close relationship between students and academic staff of the university. The university has two lecture rooms, a technical and chemical laboratory and a campus. The campus of the university has many green areas where students have the opportunity to enjoy some time outdoors with friends. There is also a cafeteria on the territory of campus, with a wide range of dishes at affordable prices.
I spent most of my time in the university's technical laboratory, working on the experimental part of my master's work. The purpose of my work was to study the effect of different polymer films (SoRET, SoPa and LDPE) on the properties of plywood. For me, it was a great opportunity to work with new equipment and gain experience from competent specialists.
I always believed in the stereotype that the Germans are very harsh, serious and restrained. But my opinion changed after my acquaintance with them. The German students were friendly and cheerful and always offered help whenever possible. University staff always showed respect and kindness. It was very interesting for me to dive into social culture in Germany. One of the big differences between this country and Ukraine is that in Germany, people care more about environmental protection, waste disposal and recycling, make more efficient use of all the resources available to them, and take good care of their health. I believe that we should follow these positions.
When I decided to participate in the student exchange program, I wanted to try something radically new, get a unique experience and share it with others. I am so happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to work on my master's work abroad, in a beautifully equipped laboratory, accompanied by wonderful specialists. I recommend that each student take advantage of a similar opportunity, regardless of the end. I am sure that this experience is invaluable to everyone.