Claires Diary

So basically I have always been interested in travelling and when in school I decided that I wanted to pick a course that allowed me to travel the world and meet new people. The International Business degree in DCU does just that - allowing me to study in a college of my choice, depending on my language. Our college has partnerships with many colleges throughout Germany and after much deliberation, myself and two friends decided that Paderborn - a small city located in the centre of Germany- was the place for us!    

Paderborn is a place not many people have heard of. A place I hadn’t heard before I looked into potential partner Universities. It is a beautiful City located in Germany and is best known for the fabulous Catholic churches located all around the City. However it wasn’t the churches that I was looking at on arrival day. I was looking for students and excitement. Somewhere I could see myself living happily for a year and that’s what I found! After the initial shock, that is! Nothing crazy happened but the area wasn’t what I expected.

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.

Settling into Paderborn has been an unbelievable experience. As I have said this is a small city in Germany but one I love to be part of! I am here now two months and it really feels like home. College began two weeks ago and so it isn't too stressful yet. One thing I will say is that the weather is taking a turn for the worst. Winter is truly upon us! Unfortunately!

I have now been a resident of Paderborn for two months and being honest it feels like longer. This really feels like my home now. I have a great circle of friends around me, a part time job and I am also a member of the local football team too which is great! We are getting so many opportunities here. Just last week we got to meet the Mayor of Paderborn who talked with us all and gave us some great information about the history of the City.

With Christmas only a few short weeks away it seems only right to take a short break and reflect on all that has happened in the first semester! Between class, the culture and new friends it has been very exciting. As I write this final blog, I am on route home from Cologne where I met two other Erasmus students from my class which was wonderful! We spend the weekend touring the city and also got a taste for the amazing night life!

I have been very lucky this past Semester! I have managed to receive most credits without doing any major exams! Most modules included presentations and short essays which on reflection was a major relief. I have of course done German exams but most have been in my language modules. This Thursday will be my first German exam through Business and it is a scary prospect.  The exam halls here are no bigger than those we sit in at home in DCU but something about the whole experience will make it a lot more intense!

The opportunities that have become apparent throughout this Erasmus year are something I cannot explain! I have just finished an eight day stay in Spain where I visited one of my closest friends. She is also studying International Business and has spent the last six months studying in Alcala, a short distance from the capital, Madrid. While there I visited some of the most iconic features in Madrid. Some of which included a tour of the famous Bernabeu Stadium (which was UNBELIEVABLE) as well as walking along Grand Via.

Easter in one of the bigger festivals celebrated in Germany.  The local stores decorate their windows with painted chocolate eggs and the supermarkets, much like in Ireland, are filled with different chocolate treats. The painted egg, which is traditional here in Germany is said to symbolise new life. Often, in schools, children decorate the various eggs and bring them home to their parents adding to the excitement of this festive time. Supermarkets are full of people too who stock up their fridges as the shops close for the entire weekend!

Exam fever is in full swing right now here in Germany. Although my second semester doesn’t officially end until the end of July/ beginning of August I am under a lot of pressure with assignments. Just this week I had an oral exam in Communication and Leadership as well as an exam based on Sports Economics.In comparison to last semester my work load is a lot heavier and so I can really feel my language benefiting from all the intense learning! Of course the negative side to this is I know all too well what time the library opens and closes at!