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Going abroad with MWP funding

Funding under the Max Weber Program (MWP) goes far beyond studies at a Bavarian university. We also support our scholarship holders in their projects abroad, whether they are studies, internships or field research. Promoting internationality is one of the MWP's most important goals. Three scholarship holders share their stories of studying abroad with us.

Dream destination South Korea

Julia Zitzelsberger is study­ing busi­ness ad­min­istra­tion at the Deg­gen­dorf Insti­tute of Tech­nolo­gy (DIT). How­ever, the MWP schol­arship holder spent the winter se­mes­ter 2020/21 in South Ko­rea. To this day, she is fasci­nated by the cul­ture and has met won­derful peo­ple. Where she want­ed to go for her stud­ies abroad was clear to the bach­elor's stu­dent very early on in her plan­ning:

"My dream desti­nation for my se­mes­ter abroad was Asia, spe­cifi­cally South Ko­rea. Per­sonal inter­est played a role, be­cause I want­ed to get as far away from Ger­many as possi­ble to im­merse my­self in a com­plete­ly dif­ferent cul­ture. With the diver­sity of Kore­an cul­ture, no tui­tion fees and a very good repu­tation for Eng­lish-language stud­ies in Asia, South Korea is pre­des­tined for this. Thanks to the fund­ing by the Max We­ber Pro­gram, I was also able to take a Kore­an lan­guage course be­fore start­ing my stud­ies abroad. 

My fa­vour­ite uni­versi­ty was Kookmin Uni­versi­ty in Seoul, which is one of the most popu­lar part­ner uni­versi­ties of the DIT. As a child from the coun­try­side, I al­ways want­ed to expe­rience city life for a cer­tain period of time, and where better than in the mega-me­tropo­lis of Seoul? Nev­erthe­less, the uni­versi­ty itself bor­ders the Bu­khan­san Na­ture Park and thus offers a nice con­trast to the pul­sating city life. 

The cam­pus is quite large and there are many dif­ferent facili­ties such as cafés, shops, a gym and even a tra­di­tional tea house. There are many facul­ties such as Busi­ness Ad­min­istra­tion, but also Ar­chitecture, Law, De­sign and many more. An ex­change se­mes­ter there can there­fore be suita­ble for many de­gree pro­grammes. In addi­tion, the uni­versi­ty offers a va­riety of stu­dent clubs. For ex­am­ple, there are vari­ous sports clubs for judo or foot­ball, as well as music and engi­neer­ing clubs. The most pecu­liar club is prob­ably the Kookmin Cat Club, which takes care of the stray cam­pus cats.

The se­mes­ter abroad in South Korea was utter­ly re­ward­ing for me. You learn a lot about your­self dur­ing your stay, meet great peo­ple and create in­credi­ble mem­ories in an abso­lutely fasci­nating cul­ture. I can highly rec­om­mend South Korea for a se­mes­ter abroad and I am very grate­ful for the un­for­getta­ble time I was able to spend there."

Studying in the San Francisco Bay Area

Si­mon Höferlin is com­plet­ing his Mas­ter's in Man­age­ment & Tech­nolo­gy at the TU Mu­nich this year. To­day, the MWP schol­arship holder looks back on his expe­rienc­es abroad with grati­tude. At first, it was un­clear whether he would be able to take up his se­mes­ter abroad at the Uni­versi­ty of Cali­for­nia, Berkeley, due to the Coro­na pan­dem­ic. But in Au­gust 2021, the time had come and he moved into his room in the Inter­na­tional House. As a wheelchair user, he re­ceived fund­ing for a barri­erfree dor­mito­ry room in addi­tion to the MWP study abroad grant. A few weeks later, he shared his im­pres­sions of his time abroad with the Max We­ber Pro­gram:

"I've been in the US since 17 Au­gust and have set­tled in very well at UC Berkeley. My dorm room in the Inter­na­tional House is top-notch. Every day I meet new peo­ple in the Din­ing Hall, dis­cuss the Ger­man feder­al elec­tions with Span­iards and Frenchmen, learn about the latest genet­ic tech­nolo­gies from a doc­toral stu­dent or dis­cuss acute social chal­lenges with Americans. The cam­pus is in­credi­bly beau­tiful and ac­tive, alt­hough really steep, which is some­times a real chal­lenge with a wheelchair. 

I take my courses in the beau­tiful South Hall of the School of In­for­mation and deal with the topics Lean & Agile Prod­uct Man­age­ment, Prod­uct De­sign, Front-end Web Tech­nolo­gies and Py­thon Pro­gramming for Data Ana­lytics. The way of teach­ing here is very dif­ferent from what I am used to. There are quiz­zes, as­sign­ments every week and group pro­jects in al­most every sub­ject. The work­load is there­fore con­stant­ly quite high, but there is no con­cen­trated exam period at the end of the se­mes­ter. The pro­fes­sors are very ap­proachable and the lec­tures are inter­ac­tive. Sometimes you get the im­pres­sion that every pro­fessor here is an enter­tainer, which seems to have been in­grained in the Americans. I'm now in my fifth week of lec­tures here and over a third of my se­mes­ter abroad is unfor­tunately al­ready over.

Sometimes I look out the win­dow at the Bay Area and won­der how I ended up here. It feels a lit­tle surre­al and at the same time frightening­ly mun­dane. I'm grate­ful for all the peo­ple and coin­ci­denc­es that have made this possi­ble for me and proud to have seized the op­por­tuni­ties."

Studying law in the "holy city”

Elisa­beth Adam is study­ing law at the Uni­versi­ty of Pas­sau. In the sum­mer of 2021, she moved from there to Israel for an aca­demic year. She chose the He­brew Uni­versi­ty of Jeru­salem (HU­JI), a part­ner uni­versi­ty of the Uni­versi­ty of Pas­sau. Look­ing back, the MWP schol­arship holder would choose to study in Jeru­salem again at any time:

"The courses I was able to attend at HUJI were very re­ward­ing for me aca­demi­cally and per­sonal­ly. The Law de­gree pro­gramme there is less rigor­ous than in Ger­many and the teach­ing mo­dalities are var­ied. In addi­tion, I took an inten­sive He­brew course throughout the year and learned to speak and write the lan­guage well for eve­ryday use, which opened the doors to some friendships. Over­all, I would say that He­brew Uni­versi­ty is rec­om­mended for the Inter­na­tional Law de­gree and has a very di­verse and top-notch Eng­lish-language course pro­gramme.

In addi­tion to my stud­ies, I com­pleted an in­tern­ship in an Is­raeli-Palestin­ian wom­en's rights or­gani­sation based in Tel Aviv and was main­ly in­volved in a pro­ject to fund UN­SCR 1325 "Women, Peace and Secu­rity" in the re­gion. I also ac­cept­ed an offer to work as a re­search assis­tant to a pro­fessor of con­stitu­tional and com­para­tive law at Reichmann Uni­versi­ty in Her­zliya.

I would de­scribe my social life out­side of uni­versi­ty as very ful­filled. Jeru­salem has a lot to offer and thanks to my pre­domi­nantly Israeli circle of friends, I quick­ly knew the popu­lar places and knew about events. But the "Of­fice of Stu­dent Life", a HU­JI uni­versi­ty group, also pro­vided inter­na­tional stu­dents with event tips. One tradi­tion I grew to love were the al­most week­ly Shab­bat din­ners with one of my best friends. Regu­larly on Fri­day eve­nings, when the whole coun­try, but espe­cially Jeru­sa­lem, had slowed down for the holy day of rest and the shops and res­tau­rants were closed, we would get to­gether with other friends for din­ner. Eve­ryone con­tributed to the menu and we often sat up late talk­ing and play­ing games.

I would choose to study in Jeru­salem again at any time and also plan to return there for a longer stay abroad."

Text: Svenja Üing, Max Weber Program Bavaria