Anna Sivkova

Date: SP5, 2013
Degree Program: Master of Human Resource Management
Host University: EBS University
Host Country: Germany

Why did you choose your host university?

I chose EBS University due to its EQUIS accreditation, ranking and strong focus on various business course offerings.

It is ranked as one of the most prestigious universities in Germany. I thought that an opportunity to study at such reputable institution would positively affect my future career aspirations. It probably would be helpful for future employment as an evidence of the quality standard of my studies. Also, the courses that I chose absolutely enhanced my knowledge and complemented current studies.

What was the university like?

The university was located in a small country town called Oestrich-Winkel. The university itself had an old tower and reminded me of a Harry Potter film. It was surrounded by vine yards and beautiful and peaceful scenery.

As I did a Masters course, classes were not too big, probably 50 people maximum, so by the end of exchange semester you are likely to meet all of them. The quality of teaching is very good; most of the classes are based on interactions and participation, a lot of group work, presentations and an exam at the end of the course. The tasks to be completed are challenging, requiring hard work and effort, but very interesting and useful for personal development. For example, I have always been shy and uncomfortable to present, however for my future career I will probably need to do lot of presentations. Therefore, by pushing myself outside my comfort zone, I was able to overcome my fear and improve a lot when presenting in class. Lecturers also provided constructive feedback emphasizing the areas to improve.

There is a library on campus, where you can use computers and academic literature. Staff in the library are very helpful and willing to show how to find necessary literature and use the library in general.

Career advice and coaching is also available for students, in order to discuss and get an advice for future career aspirations.

Student Anna Sivkova - GermanyWhat did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I definitely gained new knowledge about business, marketing, strategy, and entrepreneurship. I took German intensive course (which is offered for free!!) and I found the language very difficult but interesting to learn. As I probably would like to work on an international basis, I found it extremely useful for myself to learn the basics of the language, so now I can continue learning it.

It was interesting to learn about culture, the way German people do and approach issues. I think there is something to learn from the culture itself, especially how organised and punctual Germans are. 

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

In terms of accommodation, there were four options: student dorms (student accommodation basically) located near Wiesbaden, flat hunt in Oestrich-Winkel (OW) not far from university, host family stay, and looking for accommodation on your own.

I was unsuccessful with flat hunt, so the earlier you start looking at accommodation – the better. I stayed in a student dorm, which was affordable, and it included utilities and Internet. I was not very impressed with my room at first, but once you get to know people and decorate it – you get used to it. It was 20 minutes from the city centre, but it took up to an hour to get to school. Once I had to be at uni at 7am, so I had to wake up at 5am.

Each flat has four rooms and shared kitchen and bathroom. They are either male or female flats.

In general, I had good time living in the dorms. I was lucky with flatmates and we became close friends. Our flat also made friends with other flat and once a week we used to have ‘family dinner’, where we’d all get together and cook traditional food from the country where we come from. It was a great opportunity to make friends and learn about other cultures.

Student Anna Sivkova - GermanyDescribe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

To be honest I was extremely busy with studies, however with the ability to manage your time you can enjoy both – good grades and traveling. I had a chance to explore Germany by visiting such cities as Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Berlin and Heidelberg. Berlin especially impressed me – absolutely unique atmosphere with the mix of rich history and alternative urban way of life. I also visited neighbourhood countries such as Amsterdam and Czech Republic, which were absolutely amazing. I found travelling extremely cheap. In most cases we stopped in hostels that were of a great quality. Food and sight seeing were also affordable. 

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

I had a 32-hour flight, so the first few days I was extremely jet lagged. If there is an opportunity, I recommend arriving at least one week before the studies commence. During this week you may get to know the surroundings, have a rest, and get used to the local transport system.

In the first few weeks university organises a lot of events for exchange students, so I strongly recommend attending them. They are fun and you get to meet other students, some could be even from the same country or university. Probable because all of the exchange students are pretty much in the same situation as you are, it is easy to make friends.

Then, there were events for both exchange and home university students. You could also sign up to get a German buddy. You can ask any questions about places to visit, to eat out, how certain German systems work, and many more.

I have lived and travelled abroad before a lot, so I found it easy to adjust. 

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

Absolutely. The subjects that I was doing were very challenging. I have learnt a lot about business, strategy, marketing and entrepreneurship. I think it opened my mind to new aspects and enhanced my knowledge. It is definitely a plus for future.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

It is a great opportunity to learn and develop yourself, make great friends for life, travel and have fun as well. Throwing yourself out of comfort zone that is when you experience the best of life. You will always remember this experience. 

Top Tips:

Communication is the key. Do not be afraid to ask and talk to others.

Probably would be helpful to read some background information on the country where you are moving. 

Areas of study and research

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