Bachelor of Economics/Commerce
Bachelor of Economics/Commerce

In semester 2, 2013 I was lucky enough to travel to Berlin as part of my Bachelor of Economics/Commerce to study at Humboldt University. Whilst on exchange I studied Corporate Finance, International Finance, Economics of Entrepreneurship, Labour Economics and German.

Student outside building

During my time at Humboldt University I made new friends from across the globe that were eager to make the most of their exchanges. It was with together with this group of people that I learnt the ropes of the Germany university system and of German society.

Humboldt University provided its incoming international students with numerous social activities and get-togethers so that you never felt alone in your new surroundings. In addition to University wide activities, the economics school held regular Stammtische at local bars, where students could get to know the exchange coordinators and other students studying similar subjects. These social gatherings offered not only a good opportunity to sample the local beer, but also to seek out prospective housemates or travel buddies for the weekend.

Student on bench in mountains

A benefit of undertaking exchange to Europe is the proximity of all the amazing places you can visit. Whilst in Berlin I took weekend trips to Prague, Paris, London, Stockholm. Internal flights are extremely affordable and if flying isn't for you, Germany has one of the best rail systems in the world!

Student in snow near the U-Bahn stop

In addition to the standard subjects I chose to take language classes on exchange. Having already taken a significant amount of German courses before going abroad, living in Berlin allowed me to improve my language skills and become more confident in the everyday use of German.

One of the more challenging aspects of studying abroad was getting used to a new administration system. At HU student identification cards do not have photos, therefore turning up to a final exam without your passport can prove a harrowing experience for new students otherwise baffled by this seemingly common sense concept.

View of city buildings and ferris wheel

Two important points to understand about German university is the workload and the length of the semester. German universities can run semesters as long as 16 weeks and are fond of 100% exams, so be prepared to have fun but also make sure you don’t put study on the backburner for too long. Additionally, professors and academic staff are not as accessible as at UQ so be prepared to do some self directed and active learning.

I cannot recommend highly enough making exchange part of your studies at UQ. Whether in Germany or elsewhere, exchange enriches your studies by allowing you to study at world class institutions whilst also allowing you to engage with new cultures, languages and peoples. 

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