I enjoyed how the ISU allowed me to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I also liked how I got to vicariously experience other cultures by hanging out with other ISU participants. For example, my roommate/ fellow host family “brother” was from Jordan – hearing about his experiences was awesome.
The excursions included in the program gave me a realistic idea of German culture and daily life. Being able to gain a first hand impression of the diverse historical scenes and events has been a thrilling and exciting experience for me.
Amanda (United States):
I really appreciated the close relation with my host family during my stay in Germany. Everybody has been really nice and welcoming with me, which made my depature even harder. The educational program combined both functional and cultural expertises, giving me an ideal impression of German lifestyle and college life.
Other voices and impressions
Durbis Javier Castillo Pazos (México):
Studying abroad gives you a new vision of the world and the people living in different countries, with different habits and ways of thinking. You can get new ideas and get related with new kinds of challenges (for example, the language, the way you express your ideas or simply the fact that your parents will not be there to solve your problems). It is an opportunity to be more independent, to know new places and to grow as a better person: everyday you can learn something new.
Academically, you acquire abilities and tools that will be useful the rest of your life; and you can also create new networks for future plans and projects. At this point you learn how to bear some difficulties you would not face staying at your home country, for example, how to build a project cooperating with people with different points of view about the use of the time, money, and space.
During the program I stayed in Lohfelden, a little town close to kassel (30 minutes far), with the Wright family, accompanied by another ISU student from Egypt, Mohamed El-Hebeary. It was a good opportunity to see how German people live, how they think when they solve problems, and appreciate some habits and cultural aspects of a typical German family, included cooking or how they save energetic resources. Besides that, sometimes you need help to start going from one place to another in the city, or to read the bus schedules properly.
From the program I also learned a main cultural difference between Latin America and Germany which is how the people see responsibilities. Germans have rules for the time they spend and every sentence they say is almost a promise; here in Mexico the situation is a little bit more flexible and the final facts count more than everything said before.
For me, the most memorable moment occurred on the last day, when everybody had to say goodbye. It is incredible how you, in just one month, make friends and get related to things you did not even know before attending the program. As I said before, all of us will be looking at the same sky.
I would say "Genau" is one word that I remember the most. But the statement I treasure the most is "The important message in this program is that we come from different places on this planet, but we can always get together and have a good time, build new projects, and share personal plans and dreams".
Srael (South Korea):
The best part about the ISU was the atmosphere. The courses were smaller, which helped to create a relaxing environment that was engaging and encouraged class participation.
I liked how ISU incorporates home life with a German family. Your host family really treats you like a family member. It was a lot of fun watching Game of Thrones together with everyone on Sunday nights.
My favorite excursion was our trip to Berlin. It’s too difficult to choose my favorite part of the trip, but if I had to choose it’d be when we all went on a pub crawl together.
Personally, my favorite workshop was soccer. But the ISU is great because you have a lot of freedom to experience Kassel on your own in addition to doing things as a group. And the food in the Mensa is always delicious and cheap – also very important.
Brian (Hong Kong):
Berlin was my favorite trip – Alexanderplatz was amazing and clubbing and shopping in Berlin was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the Pergamon Museum about the Roman Empire as well.
Tomas O'Brien (USA):
Learning a new language in the country that speaks it is by no means an easy thing to do! At first you’re overwhelmed. I realized that two year old babies on the train knew more German than I did… but I didn’t let that get me down. That’s what our German class was for! As our classes began and we started to learn German, it helped me learn what everything was outside of the class. I was much more familiar with things literally after the first week. I could navigate the trains in Kassel with ease and knew a lot of the major landmarks of the city. It goes to show that completely immersing yourself within a language definitely accelerates the rate at which you learn it.
Another great thing that is gained from studying abroad is the fellow students you meet. I met such a diverse group of people from around the world, ranging from China to Brazil, Australia, India and Mexico, parts of the U.S, and even my own school. I became good friends with many of these people and had some exciting times living in such a beautiful country.
Studying abroad in Germany might have been the best decision of my life. For the first time, I got to experience living with a host family; I could not have asked for better people. Every meal my Host Mother served me I devoured; her cooking was to die for. On top of that, my Host Father always made me laugh. Needless to say, while I was living under their roof I was always having a good time. I even became good friends with my roommate Gary, who ironically attends the same school as I do. I cannot thank my hosts enough for letting me live with them and allowing me to experience this once in a lifetime ordeal. Overall, while living in Germany I learned a lot of great life lessons and got to meet exciting new people in what felt like the shortest month I’ve ever lived. Tschüss und Danke schön Deutschland!
Mohamed Elhebeary (Egypt):
It has been a great opportunity to join this Summer University for a month, everything was highly organized. During the program, I lived in a nice place in Lohfelden, with a cute German mother and friendly father. I learnt how to be always on time especially for dinner at 7PM. Everyday in the morning they made sure that my “younger brother” Durbis (another ISU participant from Mexico) was awake and ready to go with me to the University. Then we ran to the bus stop after getting a great breakfast. I met my colleagues Andrew (USA) Durbis, Darin (USA), Kenneth (Singapore), and Michelle (USA) in the bus every morning on our way to attend classes. In this 20 minutes journey, I enjoyed hearing Andrew and Durbis saying “Genau” in a serious way and hearing Michele laughing loudly which was breaking through the silence in the bus. During the ISU program, I took the nano-module which was a good introduction to the nanotechnology; and engineering module which covered several topics and showed the state of art of the research that tries to solve big problems with introducing simple solutions.
Besides excursions and a visit to the Hessen Tag (which was held for several days!), we were offered several cultural programs in the evening: awesome dancing classes where folk dance from all over the world was brought to us by a group of professional dancers; cooking the tasty German food in a group was also a great idea, I really like schnitzel and I cooked it several times later; etc. or you could also just go back home to study. You don't need to plan your weekend because someone has already planned it for you and scheduled a visit to one of the most beautiful places in Germany like Frankfurt with its huge buildings, Eisenach and Marburg with their beautiful sceneries. I was really proud that Hercules monument became a part of the world heritage while I was there, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you have free time you have to go to Orangerie lake and lie on the grass to relax after a long day full of classes.
The most memorable moment for me was when I did the performance of "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (German: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten) on the stage during the closing ceremony where I acted as the cock (German: Hahn). Making new friends (still in contact with most of them), learning about other cultures, living the same atmosphere as German students, gaining some experience about how research is carried out in Germany and to what extent they are advanced in several fields are the benefits that I gained after taking part of the ISU.