Studying Media in Germany: Student Profile

Studying Media in Germany: Student Profile

Guest Writer

更新日期 January 16, 2020 更新日期 January 16

Anastassiya Popenya explains how she reached her goal of studying media in Germany, including learning German, getting funding and choosing a university.

Stage 1: Learning to speak German

Though born and raised in Kazakhstan, Anastassiya was able to start learning German from an early age as her mother was fluent in both English and German, as well as her native Russian.

Anastassiya attended one of a number of schools in Kazakhstan with a strong focus on German; while most lessons were taught in Russian or Kazakh, German lessons were a regular part of the curriculum.

Many of the teachers at Anastassiya’s school were from Germany, which meant she was able to learn about the country’s culture and customs too.

“We celebrated Fasching, Weihnachten and German Easter, when other people from Kazakhstan had no idea what there was to celebrate.”

On leaving school, Anastassiya was able to pursue her German studies at the Kazakh-German University (Deutsch-Kasachische Universität/ DKU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Stage 2: Gaining a DAAD scholarship

However, while she was happy to be able to continue perfecting her German, Anastassiya says she was disappointed that the university didn’t offer any courses relating to journalism or media studies, subjects she had a keen interest in.

The obvious solution was to travel to Germany to take a degree in media studies, but that did not seem financially possible – until Anastassiya’s friends persuaded her to apply for one of the three full scholarships being offered to Kazakh students by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

“I hadn’t really thought too much about it,” Anastassiya says, “But then one spring day in 2009 I received an email telling me I was going to Germany for four years!”

While in many ways a dream come true, the news was quite a shock. “I knew it was a chance of a lifetime, but at the same time it meant that I had to leave my studies at the DKU, my previous scholarship, my job, my friends and my family.”

After a few months discussing the issue with her parents, who were understandably hesitant to see her leave for so long, Anastassiya made what she describes as “the best decision of my life”.

Stage 3: Choosing a German university

The scholarship Anastassiya received from DAAD gave her the freedom to choose any German university she wanted to study at.

First, however, she had to complete a year-long Studienkolleg course – a program designed for international students whose education to date does not qualify them for study at a German university.

Having passed her Studienkolleg exams successfully, Anastassiya turned her attention to selecting an institution.

The Universität Augsburg appealed, both for its strong reputation in the field of media studies, and because its size is somewhere between ‘cosy’ and ‘huge’. Anastassiya also says the university’s local area, Bavaria, appealed to her.

Her mind was finally made up, once she started to communicate with university staff. “The way in which the academic office of the university cares about international students really impressed me,” she remembers.

Stage 4: Making the most of the experience

On arrival at the university, Anastassiya’s expectations were not disappointed – in fact, the experience has been better than she’d even hoped.

In particular, she’s been pleasantly surprised by the amount of choice students at German universities have.

“As media and communication students we have few compulsory subjects. Everyone can choose something that matches his/her interests in the best way. I’ve already taken some seminars about film analysis, public relations, and practical courses like podcast production – and I’ve really enjoyed all of them.”

She’s also keen to point out that the stereotype of German people as being “reserved and strict” is not really justified. While many of her German classmates seemed shy at first, Anastassiya says it didn’t take long for the ice to melt, and she soon made lots of friends.

Her advice for other students travelling to Germany? “Find out about all the events, special courses and projects for international students that are happening at the university.”These, she says, provide lots of opportunities to meet people, improve your German, and gain useful skills.

Stage 5: Watch this space...

As for her next step, Anastassiya is keeping her options open, but says she would like to stay on in Germany to complete a master’s degree. However, she’d also be happy to return to Kazakhstan, saying both countries now feel like ‘home’.

Whatever the future holds, Anastassiya is confident that her time studying in Germany will stand her in good stead – not only because the German higher education system is highly respected worldwide, but because the experience of studying abroad has made her more “independent, strong and patient”.

She concludes, “Who I am now is to thanks to my time spent here in Germany. But it’s still not over – I’m very excited to continue to develop myself in my studies and in my life outside of the university.”

For those considering studying in Germany as an international student, or indeed in any other country, Anastassiya’s experience should serve as confirmation that all the challenges – learning a language, finding a scholarship, leaving friends and family behind – are worth it in the end.

本文首发于 2012 Default , 更新于 2020 January 。



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