When my name was announced as a chosen participant for Erasmus+ student exchange program to TU Dortmund University for one semester, I feel excited and nervous at the same time. I feel excited because finally I have this magnificent opportunity to explore Germany and learn some important life lessons from this powerful and prosperous country. Although I feel excited, at the same time I also feel nervous about it because I rarely step out of my comfort zone. Fortunately my strong will to experience new things both in academic and social life and kind supports from my family and my best friend help me to gain a courage to participate in this program. Surprisingly, participating in this program turned out to be a life changing experience for me.
In regards to academic life, I experience many interesting things in TU Dortmund University. First, it is very important for students in the seminar class to read reading materials or perhaps some additional materials to fully understand the topic that we are going to discuss and also to support our argument in the class discussion section. Here I’m amazed by how my German classmates actively participated in every discussion in class. They are not afraid to speak up their minds and also they really appreciate opinions from other students. Second, lecturers here also give students freedom to ask questions, express their idea, opinion, agreement, or even disagreement about matters we discussed in the class discussion section. By allowing students to do that, here lecturers create a very strong academic atmosphere in the class, and this is what make the lecture itself become really interesting and challenging at the same time. Not only strong academic atmosphere, another thing that make my academic life become more enjoyable is because TU Dortmund University have a very nice library. It is huge, very comfortable and it open for more than 15 hours. In Universitätsbibliothek (University library) I could access many interesting books and journals for my study. This also become my favorite place to study with my friends.
My seminar class is about Realism in Political Theory and Philosophy, by participating in this class it help me to understand about the concept of power and morality better than before. Not only seminar class, I also experience another interesting thing when I had a block seminar about Indonesia Foreign Policy and International Relations. Here I have the opportunity to share Indonesia culture, history, and our political uniqueness to my German classmates. I am amazed by their appreciation and also by their eagerness to learn more about it. Last but not least, one unforgettable moment in my academic life in TU Dortmund University was when my Professor gave me a quote which is “when you know something more than others, you will always one step further than them”. This quote from him boost my eagerness to learn as much as I can and hopefully I could use my knowledge to give a meaningful contribution to my country, Indonesia.
Besides studying, I spent my leisure time for travelling. With my semester ticket, I could explore many places in Nordrhein Westfalen (NRW) region for free. Places in NRW that I usually visits are Bochum, Essen, Düsseldorf, and Köln. Not only exploring Germany, with my National Visa I also have many chances to visit another Schengen area. I use this chance to visit one of my dream country, Italy. I have opportunity to visit Milan, one of the world fashion capital, and also another cities with mesmerizing architecture and arts in Italy such as Venice and Rome. Enjoy the beauty of Europe, learn many European cultures and life values is truly the best benefit I could get from becoming a participant in Erasmus+ student exchange program.
Given the opportunity to travel many places in Europe is one of the best benefit I could get from Erasmus+ exchange program, but one thing that I find myself enjoy so much more than traveling is to hanging out with my German friends. They are honest, smart, confident, open minded, know what they doing, and have a great sense of humor. They taught me some German cultures and also showed me some interesting places in Dortmund. We also usually share our life experience and what we want to achieve in the future. Sharing with them make me understand little by little about German perspective about life and what power is. One of the best life lesson I could learn from them is that it is very important to “believe with your own ability and have a courage to pursue your dream”. Every time I hanging out with them I feel like a new positive energy flow inside me.
All in all I could say that it is very important for us students, to have a courage to step out from our comfort zones and explore more our own potential. By taking a part in Erasmus + student exchange program in TU Dortmund University, I start to value myself more and learn to be more confident with my own abilities and soft skills. I know my strength and weakness better than before. This program also trained me to build a great ability to adapt with new environment and socialize with people from different background and culture. Last but not least and the most important one is the fact that this program gave me a burst of courage to face new challenges and it help me to deal with life better than before. This is a truly life changing experience!!
Here once again I would like to say thank you very much to UNPAR and TU Dortmund University for giving me the opportunity to be a participant in this program.
For students who also want to get a life changing experience like me, please don’t hesitate to sign up! If I can do it you can do it !!
Randy Julio Putra,
Master Student of International Relations batch 2016-
Parahyangan Catholic University