Kassel – A new Journey

Yu Yi Yu, Bachelor of Engineering/IT

Short-term program: Hessen University “Hessen International Summer University – Kassel”

Germany (June/July 2018)

Don’t take this the wrong way, but had I been asked one month ago will I go on exchange, my answer would’ve been – probably not. QUT has awesome facilities, lectures and I was comfortable here with my education and my work. After tonnes of persuasion from mates who had done/were doing exchange, I finally mustered my courage and I suddenly found myself on the opposite side of the world.

Arriving into Frankfurt airport.

Appreciating the scenery in Germany.

Even though it was summer – it was still cold. 17 degrees maybe. This is just the beginning however, after a total of 21 hours on the plane, there was another trip to make – a 3 hour trip to the city of Kassel. But the day gradually warmed up and I started to appreciate the scenery in front of me – The vast fields, the forest and the small towns. It was something totally different.

I arrived at my host family’s house, with the help from the university, and was warmly welcomed by my host father – Christian: someone whom I still keep in contact with even though I’m back in Australia now. The place was tidy and neat and full of surprises – there were even apple and cherry trees!

My host family’s house.

After a lovely lunch with 3 other host students and the host parents, they gave us tips and information about the local area and how to get to the university, which was really helpful during the duration of my stay, and then took us to the local attraction – the Hercules Monument. It was a 10 minute bus ride from our place and the Hercules Monument was absolutely breathtaking. We were able to see the whole city – the photo just doesn’t cut it.

Hercules Monument.

The next day, our host father took all of us (the three other host student and myself) to the university. It was almost like the first day at school – Everyone’s excited yet scared. We met students from all around the world. People from South Africa, Russia, Thailand, USA and more were also attending the program. The campus felt like home – it was small and compact, yet it has everything you need – from a library, to study rooms, to engineering facilities! There is even a canteen where you can get cheap lunch for 2~4 euros!

Campus.

The canteen went a long way throughout the whole trip due to the cheap yet fulfilling meals! The canteen offers 3~4 different options from day to day and it ensures that students are able to have a decent meal a day.

Cheap lunch on campus.

The University provides interactive learning experience and also a lot of extracurricular activities – from trips to Fritzlar (as shown in the photo) to wind farms! One highlight for me was when we drank filtered sewage water from one of the lecturer’s research systems called “PAUL”. Further details can be seen in the video link: https://www.facebook.com/IUKassel/videos/2585629621462512/ 

Also it’s not always about the study – the university provides a lot of extracurricular activities – from hiking to Dornberg, to calisthenics. In addition, there was also tonnes of time during the weekend which made travelling an option. I highly recommend getting the Eurail pass as it allowed me to travel the whole of Europe for a bargain!

Overall, the experience allowed me to explore a whole new area, expanded my network and friendships, and inspired me to look into studying abroad in the future!

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