When your whole life turns upside down

Russian national Alena Turtseva studied in Landshut, fell in love with a Spaniard there, and moved with him to his hometown of Guadalajara

A new country, a new culture and thousands of new experiences – a semester abroad is the fulfilment of a long-held dream for many young people. Every year, a number of people from all over the world come together at the campus in Landshut. The university chatted with a couple of them and got some special insights into the lives of exchange students. Some of the stories are real Hollywood material and would give Rosamunde Pilcher a run for her money! In this miniseries, we’ll be reporting on individual people’s experiences.

Pedro Torcal Callejo and Alena Turtseva both spent the 2016/17 winter semester in Landshut to complete their bachelor theses. They got to know each other through trips organised by the International Office and events in and around the campus. The Spaniard and the Russian were in their early twenties at the time. They quickly noticed that their connection was deeper than with the other exchange students. They have been a couple for four years and live together in Spain. “I would never have thought that I would find my life partner on my semester abroad”, recalls Pedro. “Moving to another country can actually change your whole life”, adds Alena.

Leaving the nest

But, the very low chance of finding the love of your life during your time abroad aside, Pedro and Alena can only recommend the experience. Alena points out that it is very important for young people to leave the safety of their homelands so they can develop personally and professionally. Even when things don’t always run smoothly. “As I’m from Russia, I had to apply for a visa, which means a lot of bureaucracy. The International Office at Landshut University of Applied Sciences was super supportive and always helped when I had questions.”

Pedro was also very thankful for the professional help and organisation: “There was always someone to talk to and our first few weeks were superbly structured with events and trips.” Pedro made the decision to go to Landshut early on. As a Mechanical Engineering student, he wanted to study in a city that played an important role in his field of studies. Pedro also benefitted from the commitment of his professors. “I got a lot of support when writing my bachelor’s thesis, got an internship afterwards and am still in occasional contact with some of them.”

The pair will always remember the joint trips together with the other international students. “We were never bored”, says Alena. “There was always something to experience.”

Photo: private

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