Coming from a small eastern European country in the midst of a global pandemic I was not sure what to expect. Additionally, I was out of the academic world for a few years already and facing the unknown made me feel both excited and anxious at the same time. The anxiety however, disappeared in the first couple of days of the orientation week. Firstly, the staff – from appointing individual meetings to get to know you and offering support for everything you can think of, through organizing events to help you get to know the city of Erlangen and all-important places in the area. Everybody is always ready to assist you, give you advices, help with administrative things /which can be quite annoying to deal with, especially if you are not familiar with German bureaucracy/and be supportive.
Next, the students – being part of a small group of people coming from multiple different parts of the world, allowed me to establish new friendships and thought me to understand and appreciate other cultures a lot more. Lastly, but not least – the teachers – providing transparent and swift communication, open to feedback and extremely knowledgeable, it was a pleasure to learn from them.
Regarding the content of the program, it provides a great platter of different disciplines, so everybody can choose what they like and are interested in. Social Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Economy was only a small part of the available choices for me. While the mandatory classes lay the foundations while the elective classes give you the freedom to follow your interests.
In addition to the curriculum, the program offered me multiple different knowledge gaining opportunities by providing us with variety of workshops such as improving on our soft skills, negotiation skills or learning new tricks for time management . Furthermore every week we were part of the Guest Lecture Series, where we can communicate with and learn from many different scholars and discuss many different relevant and important topics.
In my one year of studies, I feel that I have not only improved on my personal academic knowledge, but also established very good network of friendships with other knowledge driven people.