I really enjoyed my time in Berlin at Humboldt University.
The course ‘Introduction to International Economic Law’ was extremely interesting. Our teacher, Hanno, delivered the content in a very enjoyable and understandable way. The classroom atmosphere was relaxed and open, and our classmates gradually became our friends. There were students from all over the world including Indonesia, India, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland and Brazil. In a class of 15 students, there were 6 Aussies and 5 of them from UTS (easily could have formed a voting bloc with these kind of numbers). It was educative to listen to economic issues from the perspectives of different countries and highly entertaining to listen to personal stories of people who have lived such different experiences. I really hope we have a chance to catch up one day and see if our dreams and aspirations have been realised.
I also enjoyed the cultural aspects of the program including the tour to Potsdam, tour of the Chancellery and the Bundestag, and outdoor ice skating at night. It was a fun way to get to know our classmates better and students in other courses. Of course, we also learnt a lot about German culture and history…and German humour.
Germany is very different to Australia in many ways and the most obvious one was the weather. I got to escape the series of heat waves of the Australian summer as it was winter in Germany. It’s easy to ‘brag’ that Australia was the hottest place on Earth when you’re far, far away. Watching the snow fall through the classroom window was a simple but mesmerising pleasure on the dew days we were lucky enough to experience snow. One thing I did not enjoy was that you have to pay to use the public toilets in Europe. Also, do not assume that ‘office hours’ means Mon-Fri 9am-5pm because it might mean 8am-9am Tues-Fri (yes I’m looking at you, Janitor of student accommodation).
I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to do a short exchange overseas (or is just looking for an excuse to get away). The program is well structured with classes (3.5 hour classes x 4 days per week) with many cultural activities that you can sign up for if you are interested. You have plenty of free time to go out with your new friends and also travel to neighbouring countries during/ before/ after the program. I travelled with another UTS student to the top of Germany, Zugspitze, and saw some really cool dogs!
Overall, the BUILD program has heaps of different programs on offer so definitely take the opportunity to get out there!
By Theresa Duong