Campbell – Philipps-Universität – Germany
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Communication / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Hello! My name is Campbell and I was fortunate enough to spend an unforgettable semester abroad in Germany thanks to QUT Exchange. I study Law and Communication and am about to enter the 4th year of my degree. Last semester I undertook the International Undergraduate Study Program at Philipps-Universität in Marburg, Germany. This was a truly life-changing experience and I believe that anyone who is able to undertake an exchange would feel so.
Preparing to leave Australia was one of the most daunting experiences of my life. I was filled with equal parts anticipation and also angst. What if I hated it once I was over there? What if I didn’t like the people in my program? These were all questions I asked myself multiple times in the preceding months and are something I imagine every eminent exchange student goes through. It also didn’t help me in this department as I waited until the last few weeks to apply for my passport. At this time the estimated wait time was exactly the time I was scheduled to leave and that added a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. I would recommend to any prospective exchange student to be aware of their passport situation and not make the same mistake as me.
After 24 hours of travel time, I finally arrived in Germany. My first afternoon in Frankfurt consisted of me tiredly wandering around the Frankfurt Römer looking for somewhere to eat. I learned quickly that it is customary to sit yourself down in restaurants and then wait for the waiter to come around to you rather than getting seated by them. I personally really like this system (especially as a foreigner with very little German language knowledge) as it allows you to take a seat where ever works best for you and your group without having to ask a staff member. This is also where I had my first piece of real German food in the form of a Jagerschnitzel. I went to bed nice and early in order to make my journey to Marburg the next day!
Starting my journey at Marburg
I was mildly concerned about my train the next morning as I knew German natives love to complain about the railway system, however, coming from Australia where trains and busses are routinely running late it was a welcome change, and getting to Marburg was a breeze. My first impressions of Marburg were all very positive; the city seemed safe, clean, and extremely pretty. Everyone on the IUSP team was extremely nice and helpful and quickly dissuaded any of my worries about my first few days in town. I was taken by van with a few of the other participants to our dorm rooms where I quickly got myself set up and went exploring.
Studying at Philipps-Universität
The university experience in Germany was a lot different from what I am used to at QUT. The classes are under a lot more free form with tutors being able to adjust their content week to week and select how and when they want to assess said content. I much prefer the QUT teaching process as I know exactly when and what assessments will be and can plan accordingly. Overall though, I really enjoyed the university experience at Marburg and it was my first time engaging with a real community environment at a university and has inspired me to participate in a lot more of QUT’s student events.
Enjoying my personal time in Europe
Over the next few months abroad I had many unforgettable moments and met friends that I will have for the rest of my life. We traveled across Europe together almost every weekend and forged unbreakable bonds; often on various train platforms at 3am.
The exchange program has always been something that I have wanted to do during my time at university, and I can safely say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. I will never forget the memories and friends I made while abroad and absolutely recommend it to any student who has an opportunity.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.