After completing my fourth semester of school, I wondered how to best improve myself. I came across the exchange student program on our university community website. At first it was really hard to decide which university to apply because there were so many available and in so many various countries. I thought about it for a long time and finally chose a German university because I had easy access to other European countries, its standard of living was lower than other countries, and I heard that HNU does its best to help exchange students adapt to their new circumstances. It was my first trip ever to Europe so I sought out lots of help from the visa process to housing. After finishing the summer exchange program, I realized I had made the right choice. Germany and HNU enabled me to have experiences that I would have never dreamt of before.
HNU, a University of Possibilities
One interesting thing about HNU is its location. It is located in Neu-Ulm, Bavaria in the southern state of Germany. It is possible to go from that state right over to the next state situated next to it, Baden-Wüurttemberg. Neu-Ulm is a small town and the university is located near Ulm, which is in Baden-Wüurttemberg. By crossing the Donau River, we arrive in another city. HNU is a university of Applied Sciences. Therefore, it focuses on practical fields, especially Health Management, Information Management, and Business and Economics. Visa students can choose to enter the Business and Economics Department or Information Management Department. Nevertheless, it is still to enroll in the other department lectures. Unlike at Korean universities, HNU starts its summer semester from the end of March, and it holds a three week orientation program for exchange students. During this long orientation, foreign students can collectively solve paperwork demands and tutors help them with important aspects like registering at the residence, signing up for courses, and applying for a visa. Thanks to tutor and fellow students, everything seems easier. The university also offers various programs for exchange students. In my case, I joined a tour to nearby attractions and played games with other students. Also, students were given German language lessons and there were presentations about important aspects of school life.
Various Opportunities for International Students
HNU makes many programs for us. During summer semester, there are International Flavor Week, international day & fair. International students send their countries’ dessert recipes and other students can order it from cafeteria menu on International Flavor Week. For me, HNU offers a variety of programs to foreign students. During the summer semester there is the International Flavor Week, an international day, and a culture fair. International students prepare their nations’ most sought after desserts, and local students, as well as international students, are given the opportunity to taste them at the school cafeteria International Flavor Week. International Day and the Culture Fair were most memorable. Students were given the opportunity to introduce their home countries and universities. Some students wore traditional outfits while others presented onlookers with traditional sweets or snacks. I also took pride in wearing traditional Pungmul and presented students and professors with items such as Korean bookmarks, sweets, and postcards. We were able to visit other nations without actually traveling to them in person. HNU’s international office held a quiz game for everyone on campus, and I was lucky enough to win a prize.
Because HNU is so near to Ulm, students may take courses at Ulm University. It was fabulous. Students have the chance to experience life at two different schools. Also, students have the opportunity to enroll in sports from swimming to riding at Ulm University. The classes are very popular, so if you want to enroll, you need to be quick. Although there are additional costs to enrolling into those activities, most of them only cost 10 Euro for the entire semester. It is also easy to get to. In Germany, the state pass allows up to 5 people to ride the train, bus, and tram in that state very inexpensively. HNU students usually purchase two state tickets. When you buy a ticket in Neu-Ulm, you buy a Bavaria ticket and vice-versa. I made excellent use of both tickets when I travelled to nearby area like Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart with my friends. Also, because the Memmingen Airport is not far from the university, I hopped on a plane to visit Italy and English at a reasonable price.
Life in Neu-Ulm
Neu-Ulm is small and quiet. Something you cannot experience in Seoul. I usually went to the Donau River to rest. It is very beautiful and makes people forget their worries. Many people spend time their time there; it is typically filled with smiling families, couples, and friends. HNU has few buildings, but it has a huge wide lawn. You can smell the soil and the grass throughout the campus, which doesn’t really happen at Korean universities. Some friends even saw wild rabbits and hedgehogs wandering about on campus. There is also a lake situated nearby the university. To get there it takes just 5 minutes by bus. There you can swim or enjoy a beer with friends. During the summer semester, I stated at the Donau-residenz, not the dormitory, so I had to take a bus each day to get to school. Still, I loved my place. In the house, 6 people lived on the same floor and there were two toilets and one kitchen. Fortunately, I was able to get a room on the ground floor and only had to share the toilet with one other girl. There was no need to buy kitchen utensils and household items like chairs or a desk lamp because the house owner prepared them for us. Also, a housekeeper came daily to clean the house. The best thing about living in the residence was the opportunity to make friends. Unlike at a university dormitory, you can make friends with others sharing the same floor. I made a great friend. Her name is Karolina, and I had the chance to get to know her Patrice as well. We often cooked and had dinner together. Patrice couldn’t eat Korean spicy food, but Karolina really liked it. At the school festival, we exchanged gifts. I miss them terribly, even now. Although most of my words are words of praise, Neu-Ulm does not have many shopping places nearby it. It was until March that the area got its first big shopping mall. It’s actually quite huge, and there are many brand shops in the mall. It took 10 minutes on foot from my home to get there. Therefore, I didn’t need to go to Ulm on the bus, which made life easier.
At first, I thought I could enroll in all the courses I wished to take; however, I soon came to know there was a limit to the number of students who could enroll, especially for more popular courses like those in the Department of International Marketing. As a result, I had to continuously adjust my timetable. The International Office staff said courses were first come first enrolled. Since all exchange students submit their requests at the same time, I couldn’t really determine how the school officials decided who came first. Hence, you should keep this in mind when trying to apply for courses. The most beneficial course I took was Intercultural Management. The course offers practical knowledge about Western countries and discusses how Western people see Eastern people. I can now tell the difference between a German and an Italian. In this class, the professor focuses on discussion so students are expected to share their ideas with local German students. Although Communication Project is also an interesting course, it was really difficult. In that course, the professor gave us two project choices: HNU MBA Program and Sustainable Day. Our team chose the MBA Program but all of us were international students. Although professors shared German data, our group couldn’t really understand the German MBA program. Regardless, I took a lot of things from the course. My only final advice is that before registering for a course, truly investigate the course’s objective to see if it is a fit for you.