blog fsv uk

Students abroad: Anna at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany

23. 11. 2023

Can you tell us something about yourself? What do you study? Where did you spend your exchange stay?

Hello, I’m Anna Štorová and I’m currently a Bachelor student of Area studies at FSV UK. I love exploring new countries and cultures. That’s the reason why I took the opportunity and decided to study one year in Germany via the Erasmus programme.

What made you choose Ruhr-Universität Bochum? (destination, course offer of the university, previous experience of your friends or classmates)

I chose Ruhr University because I could find some interesting courses in English there. I also wanted to visit some part of Germany I previously didn’t have the opportunity to visit. And, in addition, Bochum is close to Belgium and Netherlands, which I planned to visit.

Students going to Germany do not usually have any problems with the lack of courses held in English. Is it true?

Actually, it was much harder to find interesting English courses there than I though. Many German universities don’t offer lots of English courses. On the other hand, at least from my experience, the English classes are full of German students so you can get to know the local students.

What courses did you take and were you satisfied with your choice? Did you have to modify your LA after the course registration?

In the winter semester I took four very interesting courses about migration, conflicts, and humanitarian action which you wouldn’t find at Czech universities. The courses offer in the summer semester were much less diverse and interesting for an international relations’ student. However, if you’re not satisfied with the courses at the Ruhr university you can also choose a course from two other universities of neighbouring cities, attend them, and get credit points as usual. That is possible because of the agreement the three universities have. I took this opportunity and was glad I did because I got to know another German university (University Duisburg-Essen). It was very enriching experience for me.

What I found very pleasant were the language courses offered by the university. You could study languages such as Arabic, Chinese, or Turkish along with other worldly-known languages even from the beginning – for free and even gain credit points for it. That was awesome!

Does the academic approach differ from the academic approach at FSV UK?

Yes, it does in some ways. German students are generally much more active during the classes, and they also prepare themselves much more for the lessons by reading the obligatory texts. They are not shy to ask (however stupid) questions or oppose the teacher’s opinion. I believe that is because they are led to be active during lessons from a very early age. However, the approach of the professors is not different. They are usually very nice and ready to help you.

What about the university facilities? (library, study rooms, gym, menza…)

The Ruhr University has one huge campus, so everything is in one place which is very comfortable. The university library is perfect for individual study if you need to concentrate. The university menza is brilliant! If you’re vegetarian or even vegan, you’ll be satisfied by the vegan part of the menza. It’s very delicious there and very cheap. Moreover, you can also try the normal menza, which offers many diverse dishes for student-friendly prices.

How long prior to your departure to Bochum did you have to secure your accommodation? Was it difficult to find one? If you chose private accommodation, how did you make sure it was not a scam?

I was able to find a place in one of university accommodations. That is because the Ruhr University has many of them so if you register soon enough, you don’t need to worry about finding accommodation on your own. However, fill the application as soon as possible, just to be sure. It was very comfortable to live in the university facilities because regardless of which type of student dorms you choose, you’ll always have a room for your own. Also, the price was very reasonable.

Every Erasmus student is entitled to a scholarship. Is the sum given enough or did you spend a lot of your savings?

Fortunately, Bochum is a cheap city – for German standards. I used approximately half of the sum for the accommodation. Together with the costs for groceries and other free time costs the scholarship was just enough. However, one needs to count with special costs at the university, such as social fee (consisting of Semesterticket which allows you to travel throughout the whole Bundesland for free) and broadcasting fee which are obligatory in the whole Germany.

Would you share with us your favourite memory/ experience?

I have so many of them so it’s very hard to pick just one! I think my favourite memory would be the one from a birthday celebration of a very special friend I met there. Over the whole year I experienced many parties and celebrations with my fellow exchange or otherwise students. But this one was special because that friend turned out to be my soulmate, I didn’t know I needed. The party was full of emotions because it was shortly before the end of our stay. At that moment, laughing with the group of those amazing (mostly Italian) friends, I felt like I was home. And when we got to the pictures of the whole year, I knew I made the best decision ever to prolong my stay.

Looking back at your Erasmus+ what is/are the most valuable thing/s that you learned or gained?

I grew up so much thanks to my Erasmus experience! One of the most valuable lessons I learned was that the world is a very diverse place. It was priceless to meet people from different cultures, talk to them, befriend them, and explore their cultures. I think I understand the world a little better now. As much as it pains me to say, that is not possible in Czechia because our country is not that diverse. What Erasmus also taught me was how to be more independent, how to take care of myself. And eventually, I improved my German significantly, and I grew to be confident in speaking German.

Sometimes students do not want to go on an exchange as they do not want to leave their comfort zone. What would you tell such students?

I’d tell them to stop overthinking and worrying about it and just try it. It may seem unnecessary for you but trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing out. And even though it can be tough at the beginning, it’s worth it and once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Last but not least, you are in your final year of your bachelor study. So, what do you plan next?

My plan is to continue studying. I’m not sure yet which master’s degree I’ll choose but one thing is certain – as soon as I find another interesting opportunity to go abroad, I’ll definitely grab it!