Surprised by all the bicycles
Every year, many young people come to the University of Münster, from abroad, to begin their studies with international students accounting for around eight percent of the total number of students here. Studying abroad often entails some obstacles – but it also offers opportunities for exchanges and personal development. In what ways is Münster different from other universities? How have the students settled down in the city? And how does communication work out between them? Four international students talk about their initial impressions of the University.
Hanna Louise from Norway (Training to be a teacher of English and History):
Something that made a positive impression on me right away is the principle of the city being the campus. Because not all institutes and buildings are located in one single place, you get to know the city much better – especially when you’re new to Münster. That doesn’t affect me so much, though, as the Faculty of History and the Department of English are situated right next to each other. As far as English is concerned, especially, I have a lot of freedom: the curriculum is organised with individual students in mind, and I can choose courses to match my interests. The lecturers do a lot to support the students and they show a lot of commitment. As I already speak German relatively well, I’m fortunate in not having many difficulties in communicating with fellow-students and lecturers.
Leonora from Denmark (Bachelor’s course in Maths, with Physics as a minor subject):
When I arrived in Münster, in September, I was very impressed by the city. The University buildings, especially, are very attractive, which was something I wasn’t accustomed to back in Denmark. My impression is that work has to be done very quickly here, as we have to work on a lot of assignments – some of them difficult – one after another. I like that because it means I’m being stretched as I should be – and I also enjoy tricky assignments more. I already speak German and so I understand almost everything that other students and lecturers say. It’s just in Physics that I have to concentrate because the many specialist terms are very complicated – some of them in my mother tongue, too – and so they’re all the harder for me to understand in German. But it’s getting better all the time, and so I’m sure that I’ll get used to it.
Luis from Mexico (Bachelor’s course in Physics):
Many years ago, I was already determined that I wanted to have a special experience during my studies. And now the opportunity presented itself to go and study in Münster as an exchange student. My first impression of the city is that it’s really nice here – but also very cold! Since I arrived in September, I’ve not had a single day when I was bored. I remember very well my first contact with other students: we organised a speed-friending session at the University and I handed out Mexican sweets – which went down very well with the other students. What I also like is that my lectures are in German, even though my German isn’t fluent – but means that I can become accustomed to the language faster. I can recommend anyone to spend at least one semester studying abroad.
Ryuki from Japan (Master’s course in Physics):
When I arrived in Münster I was surprised to see so many bicycles at the railway station. I noticed pretty quickly that almost everyone has a bicycle here, so I bought myself one too, and I’m getting along very well. I came to Münster in mid-September and since then it’s been raining a lot and I’ve often needed my rain jacket and my umbrella. I very much like the University and my studies; however, I don’t speak German and that makes communication a bit difficult. Luckily, the master’s programme in Physics here at Münster University is also offered in English. Even though I still have to get used to studying in a language other than Japanese, the subjects we deal with in my course suit me very well.
Alisher from Uzbekistan (Master’s course in Information Systems):
The first thing that went through my mind when I set eyes on Münster was that I had seldom seen anything so beautiful! Although there are around 320,000 people living here, the city still makes a quiet, relaxed impression. Everyone respects me and helps me whenever I need help. At the same time, I learn a lot through self-study because in many things we have to take responsibility ourselves. This is very different from the university where I did my bachelor’s degree, where a lot was presented to us on a plate. As I have already worked on developing games, I’m familiar with a lot of the content in informatics. Nevertheless, the master’s course offers me a lot of new things and we work with a lot of interesting datasets. I’m already very pleased at having embarked on my course here in Münster.
Laura from France (Studying International and European Governance):
Since I’ve been in Münster, I’ve been surprised again and again at how much nature and beautiful scenery there is in Münster and the Münsterland – for example, the Rieselfelder. My studies alternate between Münster and Lille, in France. Last year I was in Lille at the Department of “Sciences Po” (Political Science). The two University systems are very different. At Münster you have to work with a greater degree of independence. The focus is on working with other students – discussing texts and exchanging opinions – as a means of learning. In Lille, it’s the other way round. There, a lot of importance is attached to structure, lectures and hierarchy. I’ve been very much influenced by the reactions shown by other students and by lecturers whenever I’ve given a presentation. Everyone provides friendly, constructive feedback, and exchanging views in seminars is very enjoyable.