Whether it is an internship, a study visit or studying abroad – every year, some 200 people from all over the world make their way to Landshut University of Applied Sciences. To familiarise the students with the university and the campus after their arrival, during the Welcome Weeks in March and September, the International Office organises an interesting and varied programme which includes excursions in the surrounding region. Another highlight is an official reception with the Mayor of Landshut in the ceremonial rooms of the Town Hall. This time around, however, the coronavirus put a spanner in the works. Many students were unable to come to Landshut due to entry restrictions or health concerns, and it was not possible for the larger excursions to take place.
At the beginning of the winter semester, the university was therefore all the more pleased to welcome nine incoming students to the Landshut campus – with the same number of students completing the winter semester online in their home country. Two of these students report on how they have settled in Landshut and how they are handling the current situation.
Socialising with other students is difficult
Charles Seon lives in Strasbourg, ten kilometres away from the German border. Charles is 20 years old and studying Business Administration. He decided to spend his semester abroad in Landshut just over a year ago. At the time, the coronavirus was yet to have struck. “Even after the outbreak of the pandemic, it was clear to me that I definitely wanted to come to Landshut, and I’m glad to have been given this opportunity,” explains the young Frenchman. The second lockdown in early November hit Charles hard. “My classes are all online, so I’m mostly in my apartment.” Things were different shortly after he arrived in September: “I was able to meet with my fellow students, such as playing sports or in the town.”
Charles describes the current situation “as very challenging”. Last year, he spent a semester abroad in Flensburg. At that time, there were no restrictions. “Now I spend most of my time studying, cooking, exercising and playing the guitar,” explains the young man from Strasbourg. Charles’ hope: that the situation eases again in the new year. Despite the exceptional situation, Charles feels that he is in good hands at the university. “The communication with the lecturers and the International Office works very well. We always get the support we need,” stresses the 20-year-old.
Feeling at home despite the pandemic
This is also the opinion of Léonard Ott, who, like Charles, hails from Alsace. “We are regularly informed about the latest developments with the coronavirus.” The 24-year-old is completing a double German-French degree in Business Administration in Landshut, and won’t be returning to France for at least two years. “Unless I decide to stay here,” explains Léonard. “Landshut is a beautiful town and I love living here, and the coronavirus won’t change that.”
The lockdown has also posed huge challenges for the young man from Alsace, who often spends his free time exploring the town and its surrounding countryside on foot and playing his hunting horn in the countryside. “I would have loved to have been able to join a club or an orchestra. It is a great pity that social activities aren’t possible at the moment. The lockdown came so quickly after I arrived in September that I wasn’t able to get to know anyone new at all, except for the other international students. Socialising online can never replace meeting with people in person.” Léonard is therefore hoping that the numbers will come down again soon and that at least a hint of normality is able to return.