The first day on campus is a day filled with emotions. I guess everyone’s experience varies but mine was quite stressful. Basically, I only arrived in Germany the day before my language course began so I didn’t get a chance to scope the area, research my lecture hall or any of that. I did however give myself enough time, barely, to factor in getting lost and the likes on day one.
The excitement of getting to know new people and a new campus with various facilities and opportunities is fantastic! Students were hustling by me, looking pretty frantic. Something I found quite amusing for a grand total of thirty seconds, before realising I too didn’t have a clue where or what I was doing. The University here is no bigger than my home University but of course it was brand new, and therefore huge to me. I looked like a typical first year ( No offence to my sister, who just started college) racing around from building to building searching for the correct room with the map of the campus being no help at all! I did however, immediately get to practise my German and asked some other students if they could help me find the building. To be honest, my first impressions were so positive you wouldn’t even believe me! Students and Lecturers went out of their way to help me and were really interested in why I was here and what I planned to study during my Erasmus year too.
So obviously I did find the room, eventually. I met my classmates, my teacher and we were given a tour of the language department on campus which was really interesting. The next obstacle was lunch time. Similar to Ireland, there is a huge cafeteria on campus. Here it is called “ Mensa”. It offers great deals for students. I mean you could get a proper dinner for less than four euro. I am talking Spaghetti Bolognaise, the good stuff! It’s fantastic!! The only problem for me was my lack of German when it came to the different meats on offer. I would consider myself an experimental eater. However, when you think you have eaten chicken and it turns out to have been rabbit it only motivates you to broaden your vocabulary! Haha!
The first time on campus can be over whelming but it’s great knowing you’re not alone. All the international students stick together and really look out for each other. Furthermore, the International office here in Paderborn is of the highest standard with lots of information and friendly staff. It was advised that we visit the office on our first day, just to introduce ourselves and collect bus tickets and student cards too.
After our classes we got to do another tour of the grounds on campus. I am excited to play sports here in Paderborn, and the facilities look out of this world! There is a gym, various courts depending on the sport and different levels available to play at!
The most important thing for the first day in my opinion is not to get overwhelmed! Getting lost is something that happens daily now and so I am used to it! This change is an opportunity and so I am just talking it as it comes and enjoying it! I still get nervous about finding new rooms and not being late but now, after a few weeks, I am eventually starting to settle and feeling like a real part of this amazing student body!!.
Bis bald, Claire x