I knew I always wanted to live abroad so choosing to go on exchange was the perfect opportunity. Arriving in Oestrich Winkel was somewhat of a culture shock. In comparison to Adelaide it was completely different. It is a small, quaint, peaceful town located on the Rhine River but also surrounded by vineyards and beautiful forests. I soon found out it is the perfect location for students to live. I chose to live in a flat with 4 other students, which was one of the best decisions I had made. They came from 3 different countries and it was so interesting to get to know people from other cultures. There was always someone to hang out with and people always wanted to come around, but when you needed quiet time you could easily have it. The majority of students lived on the same street or walking distance away from each other which was perfect for when you wanted to socialise. Although there wasn’t the hustle and bustle of a big city (although Wiesbaden was just 20 minutes away by train and Frankfurt just 40 minutes), it was nice to live in a smaller town where whenever you left the house you ran into at least a few people you knew. This always led to further plans being made and spontaneity was definitely what made a lot of things memorable and fun on my exchange experience. EBS was a lot smaller in comparison to the University of Adelaide, however, it was nicer to get to know more students on a personal level.
Germany’s location was perfect for travelling with friends on weekends or when you didn’t have classes. Driving a couple hours to France or the Netherlands, a short bus ride to Prague or a train or flight to any other city in Europe was the norm and our location always presented us with the perfect opportunity to travel.
I had been to Germany before and could speak the language but I knew nobody attending European Business School and wasn’t even sure if there were other Australians there. My nerves lasted about a day until I met my roommates and had an orientation day at the school. You realise everybody is in the same boat and are open and willing to make friends just like yourself. The student association at EBS organised many events in the first week like pub crawls, club events and a welcome dinner in addition to the many house parties that all the students held, so there was absolutely no difficulty in getting to know people or making new friends. The lifelong friends I made during my exchange definitely made the experience. I wasn’t homesick at all because it was like being around family every day. The hardest part was saying goodbye to everyone but you know that you will eventually be reunited somewhere in the world in the future.