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Students abroad: Jenny at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf

1. 7. 2024

Hello, my name is Jenny Kaufholdová and as part of my Master’s degree in Territorial Studies with a specialization in German and Austrian Studies at Charles University in Prague, I was given the opportunity to travel abroad and study for a semester at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. My four-month stay brought me countless experiences, memories and insights. Therefore, I would like to share my journey with you.

Where did you learn about the Inter-university programme? Why did you choose this programme?

I learned about the partnership between my home university and the DAAD project and the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf during my Bachelor’s studies, when I was informed about this opportunity by the heads of our institute.

Why did you choose your destination? Previous visit, university reputation, other students’ recommendation, course offer…

Germany is a second home for me because I spent part of my childhood there and also a whole year during my Bachelor’s degree. I knew I wanted to go abroad again as part of my Master’s studies. I had already been to Düsseldorf once before my time abroad and the city and the entire campus made a great impression on me. The state capital Düsseldorf was therefore the ideal city for me to spend a semester abroad.

As part of my Bachelor’s studies, I also met some of the professors who teach at the university, which also encouraged my interest in studying at the HHU.

Did you have any previous experience with study mobility such as Erasmus or so?

As I mentioned before, I had previous experience with Erasmus from my Bachelor studies. My major in Czech-German Studies at the IMS Faculty of Social Sciences at the Charles University was designed as a double degree program, so I studied for a year at the University of Regensburg. This study was an unforgettable experience that influenced me so much that I became even more interested in studying abroad again.

Tell us something regarding your first days. Any acclimatization problem – culture shock?

As you might expect, my first days were not without emotions and a bit of moving stress. Nevertheless, I still remember them fondly. There are WhatsApp groups working in the dorms, through which I quickly managed to meet other students. In addition, the ESN Düsseldorf association works very well in Düsseldorf, where students from abroad come together and do many activities together.

As far as culture shock goes, I was prepared for most of it, but just in case, I would advise anyone going to Germany to be aware of the fact that credit cards are not accepted everywhere. Another recommendation for living in Düsseldorf is to always carry an umbrella with you.

Would you share with us your favorite memory/ experience?

I have many fond memories of studying abroad. Even though I spent a winter semester in Germany, there was so much to experience. Together with other international students, we celebrated Halloween or the traditional German carnival in Cologne. Düsseldorf itself offers a wide range of activities of all kinds, we visited for example the K20 and K21 art collections including the special exhibition “In Orbit”. As soon as the Christmas season started, we set out to explore Christmas markets in the German cities nearby. Another favorite memory of mine is going ice skating together and having international dinners.

Would you recommend the HHU to other students?

Absolutely, the HHU is a great university. From the wide range of academic courses to the friendly environment and the sports on offer, the university offers everything I’ve come to expect from a university in Germany.

Going abroad can be financially challenging. What percentage of your costs were covered by the scholarship of university?

I was able to get a place in the dorms, so the scholarship was quite sufficient for me. Even though I had to pay a semester allowance in Germany, the scholarship covered the costs.

What are your plans after you finish?  And are you thinking of returning to Germany?

Since I went abroad in the first semester of my Master’s degree, I would like to focus more on life in the Czech Republic now and finish my studies here. However, Germany still has its place in my heart, so I never rule out the possibility of coming back again.