Embarking on an adventure: a semester abroad

This winter semester, more than 20 international students are starting a new chapter of their lives at Landshut University of Applied Sciences

A foreign country, a foreign language and the chance to make new friends – for many young students, spending a semester abroad is a great adventure. And it’s an adventure that more than 20 students at Landshut University of Applied Sciences are embarking on at the beginning of the winter semester. Since the end of September, the campus has been the new backdrop to their lives. In an interview, they talk about why they wanted to study abroad, what their first weeks in Landshut have been like, and why they decided on Lower Bavaria.

Giada Ginefra and Laura Lamacchia are both from Apulia and originally wanted to come to Landshut in 2020: “The pandemic forced us to postpone our plans, though.” They are all the happier that things have finally worked out. “For us, the semester abroad is a great opportunity to get to know a completely different way of life, to become more independent and to improve our language skills,” says Giada. “We learned German at school,” adds Laura. “That’s why we really wanted to come to Germany and combine improving our language skills with our studies.” The young Italian students really like the university. “Everyone has given us a very warm welcome and is approachable if we need any help,” says Giada. The International Buddies, students at the university, are very helpful in this respect, as they give advice and support and make it easier for the new arrivals to settle in to their new lives.

Timothy Bolton and Leonard Frost had a long trip – having made the journey to Landshut all the way from the USA. While Leonard only made the decision to arrange spending a semester abroad in 2020, Timothy first decided that he really wanted to study in Bavaria six years ago: “We visited Munich, which is only an hour away from Landshut, with our school in 2016. It was then that I decided I wanted to go back to Bavaria when I was a university student.” Both have one overriding goal in Landshut, which is to improve their career prospects and their German language skills. They already feel at home in the heart of Lower Bavaria. “Life here is so pleasantly relaxed and easy going,” says Leonard. “Both the city itself and the surrounding countryside are breathtakingly beautiful,” adds Timothy.

Chiara Schiehl, who comes from Alsace, France, has a special connection with Germany. She was born in Germany and has German roots. “And that‘s one of the main reasons why I decided to study here. I want to improve my German,” says the young French woman. Making new friends is also high on her list. She is really looking forward to meeting the other international students. Chiara only knew Landshut from photos: “The city really appealed to me and it’s great to have arrived here.”

Nicoló Stefani grew up in Rimini and has already spent time living abroad. When he was at school, he spent a few months in Canada with the goal of improving his English. “That was such a great experience, I decided that I wanted to do the same during my university studies. This time with German, though.” At Landshut University of Applied Sciences, Nicoló very much wants to make some new friends and experience studying in a different educational system. He’s already a fan of the campus, as unlike the universities in Italy, it is very compact rather than being spread across the whole of the city.

Ander Zumeta travelled from sunny Spain to a presently rather cold Germany. His main motivation for spending a semester abroad in Landshut: to leave his family home for a few months and get to know a country that has a different culture. Ander deliberately decided not to have any big expectations for his time in Lower Bavaria: “I prefer to be surprised – time will tell what happens.” What does he like the best about Landshut? “The proximity to the Oktoberfest,” he says with a wink.

Alamu Abdulazeez Adeleke was born in Nigeria and deliberately chose Germany as his destination. “Germany plays a very important role in the EU,” explains Alamu. “I’m very curious about the German language as well as the culture, landscape and economy of Germany.” What he particularly likes about Landshut is its central location in Bavaria and its student accommodation: “It’s a perfect place in which to study and continue with your education.”

Joel Eriksson perhaps had the most eventful arrival. Joel hails from a small island in Finland, and has to take three ferries to get to the Finnish mainland. He made the decision to spend a semester abroad when he was still at school. “I didn’t have a precise destination in mind, I just knew that I really wanted to spend some time in Germany!” Joel sees his stay abroad as an opportunity to experience a new culture and make as many new friends as possible. “And who knows, maybe I'll find love here too,” he says with a smile. And experience shows that this wish might just come true. After all, International students have found love in Landshut before.

Photos: Landshut University of Applied Sciences

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