Hallo from Berlin! Finally, my exchange session has begun after much anticipation. This semester I will be studying international business at Hochschule fur Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW). One of the two student buddies assigned to Lachlan and myself, Marusja, waited for us at the airport on arrival to take us to our student accommodation, Wonnheim Oberfelstrasse which is about 30 minutes train and bus from HTW, via bus and s-bahn (that’s one of the rail systems along with the u-bahn and Trams). Marusja took us to a nearby shopping centre in Biesdorf where we bought everything we needed like plates, cups, pots and pans, and helped us set up in our new homes. That first day was slightly overwhelming coming off our 24+ hour travel, but it allowed us to explore the city on Sunday. We went to the East Side Gallery and Altes Museum then decided to cycle to Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial.
Because our semester only started on the 2nd October, and our 2-week intensive language course started on the 17th September, Monday to Thursday was spent in Barcelona! The great weather, food, and sights of Barcelona made it a great pre-semester trip. I highly recommend seeing the Sagrada Familia, a Catholic Church still under construction that towers over the city (buy your tickets online to avoid lines).
On Friday an orientation for all the incoming exchange students was held at the Treskowellee campus (where most my classes this semester will be as opposed to HTW’s Wilhelminenhof campus) where we met some the people we will be studying with this sem, as well as the other people in our student dorms. A tour of the campus was also given as well as the means to purchase German health insurance which is compulsory for Non-EU students. That night we went to Union Berlin vs Duisburg with a few of the guys we met at the orientation and returned home where a welcome party in the Bierkeller (the bar in the student accommodation) was well underway.
One thing I’m having trouble with is activating my pre-paid sim as in Germany there are some new rules about ID checking when registering a sim. Hopefully with help from our other student buddy, Lena, it will be sorted on Monday when she will be helping us to open a German bank account and register at the citizen’s office. Also still need to buy a router for my room so I can finally get some WiFi! Also, although many Berliners (especially the younger) speak English, the language barrier is greater back where we live in Marzahn-Biesdorf in the east of Berlin. I am looking forward to improving my Deutsch so ordering food and drinks will be easier.
All things considered, my exchange experience so far has been great. Having met some great people, I am looking forward to start the semester. Tschüss!
Bachelor of Business
Hochschule fur Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) Berlin
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au