One of the greatest experiences of my life, I ganed so much from it, knowledge, experience and independence.
My name is Steven Wright and I studied at FHDW University of Applied Sciences in Hanover, Germany. To begin with I can safely say with utmost confidence that this was an experience which I will remember for the rest of my life. I had a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would definitely recommend going to the FHDW and Germany for your Erasmus placement.
Let me start with Hanover itself. The city has a
population of 520,000 people. It is a good city to live in. It's very
clean and has an excellent public transport system. In the city, sights
include the new town hall (Neues Rathaus) and every year like all German
cities, Hanover has its Christmas market "Weihnachtsmarkt". Also you
have to watch a German football match. Hanover 96 are Hanover's team. I
absolutely recommend you go and watch them play at least once.
Moving on to the university itself. It has only around 400 students so much smaller than my UK university. But this adds a much more personal feel to your stay as you see faces that are familiar every day.
In terms of the classes, I studied all of the International Management modules at the university. The classes again were small maybe 20 people in the class at the most. Also the topics were really interesting. It really did open my mind to a lot of things that I otherwise wouldn't have thought of. To give you an example you could not believe how much things change for business when crossing borders. Motivation, leadership and strategy have to change as a result of going global. All in all the time I spent in classes most certainly has given me different perspectives and ideas when it comes to my work.
But it's not just studies you will do here oh no, I'm now going to tell you now about FHDW's unique feature which is the opportunity to undertake a work placement with your studies. All students at the FHDW have to undertake a work placement as part of their study programme and you are no different to them. You’ll get the chance to do one too. I did mine at Aventics Pneumatics AG in Hanover. It was a fantastic experience for me and I was able to apply what I had learnt in university. I took part in the annual European Sales Conference and came into contact with people from all over the world. It is a great addition to my CV and was great fun too.
Okay now I would like to take a moment to give you a few tips regarding the FHDW and Germany. Starting with the FHDW. In terms of accommodation you will be given a great deal of help by the Erasmus Coordinator Pamela Seidel. She helped me secure a place with no troubles at all. I would recommend you take this accommodation as it removes a huge pressure from your chest. Going back to Pamela Seidel she will be the biggest source of help you will have at the FHDW. Any problems regarding most things she will help you. She even picks you up from the airport when you arrive in Hanover for the first time, which I will tell you is a great help and removes a lot of the fear when arriving in Germany.
Moving on to Germany, let's start with the winters in Germany. They are colder than the UK in fact much colder. One weekend we had -17 degrees. So make sure you pack a woolly hat, scarf, a big coat and your gloves. Next is the issue of punctuality. The German stereotype of being punctual is 100% true. Lectures start at 8am on the dot. Which brings me to my next point: they start earlier than the UK. So you must bring your alarm clock and set it earlier than usual. Lastly it may be short but always, always, always obey the red man at the pedestrian crossing!!!!
Let me end this with the best possible advice I can give you if you were to pick FHDW as your study placement.- which is to travel!!!!! Guys this is a once in a lifetime opportunity you need to seize the moment at hand. I did and I travelled to Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Munich, Nürnberg, Wolfenbüttel and Wolfsburg. Berlin in my opinion is the best, this city is essential to visit in Germany. But all the others are good too. Hamburg is a beautiful city, Munich and Nürnberg give you a taste of Bavaria (you will learn about the difference between Bavaria and Germany while you're here) and Frankfurt am Main is a very modern city.
What's more being in Hanover gives you the best opportunity to travel. It is in the centre of the country, you can get everywhere in Germany without having to change trains. Also you have to buy a Semester ticket. It's 320 Euro's but it's worth it. You get the public transport in Hanover for free and you get to travel to Bremen, Hamburg and all cities in Lower Saxony for free for 10 months. So you have no excuse, you have to travel!!!!
So this brings me to the end, which is this experience was fantastic. I combined studying, working and travelling in one placement. It was life changing for me, so I would recommend you consider and pick FHDW in Hanover and Germany as your placement, you will not regret it, trust me.