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Student Merle Gorial in traditional koeran dress in front of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in South Korea (Photo: private)
15.05.2023 from 
Study + Teaching
From uni to the world

A stay abroad not only looks good on your resume, but young people in particular acquire skills and gain experience that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Whether you simply want to quench your wanderlust and work or learn away from your usual environment or have to spend a semester abroad as part of your studies - the University of Magdeburg offers a wide range of opportunities to discover the world.

Merle Gorial, for example, is in her 6th semester of media education at the University of Magdeburg. But you won't find her on the university campus right now, but rather on Zoom, with a time difference of 7 hours. That's because the student is spending her summer semester not in Magdeburg, but in Incheon at Inha University in South Korea. "I wanted to get to know something completely new, so I chose Asia," she says, explaining her decision. While the application process and preparation did not cause her any problems, such a semester abroad in Korea comes with some challenges. "Here, there are more often people who speak little to no English. That's when everyday things sometimes become more stressful than what you're used to," she says. However, her courses are all in English, except for the Korean language course, of course. She finds a course that deals with oriental influences in media and culture particularly interesting, because "that's a completely different direction than my courses in Germany," says the student.

In her first two months in Korea, she has already experienced quite a bit. She speaks particularly enthusiastically about her first visit to Seoul. The size of the city and the skyline full of skyscrapers overwhelmed her. Another unforgettable moment was provided by her Korean buddy. In the buddy program, students volunteer to help foreign exchange students settle into their new environment. The goal is to break down language barriers and give incoming students an insight into the culture. Merle Gorial's buddy took her to Gyeongbokgung Palace - a beautiful palace complex and tourist attraction dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. The matching traditional Korean clothing rounded out the cultural experience.

Most stay in Europe

Anyone who would like to go abroad, but for whom South Korea is a bit too far away, is certainly best advised with the Erasmus program. Erasmus is probably the best-known way to spend a period of study abroad. Across Europe, about 90 percent of all universities participate in this program. The University of Magdeburg has about 150 Erasmus partner universities, although the choice of universities for students varies depending on the course of study. Anne Schulze has been the contact person for the Erasmus program at the University of Magdeburg since 2018. "Currently, about 100 to 150 students participate in the program each semester. In purely theoretical terms, however, many more could take advantage of the opportunity," says Anne Schulze. Since Corona, she says, the numbers have declined, but whether that is due to the pandemic or also to other factors cannot be clearly stated. Her tip for all students who are still undecided: "Take the chance! All hurdles, problems and counter-arguments are usually very small in retrospect." She can particularly recommend, among others, the Eastern European partner universities of the University of Magdeburg, which score with good English skills of the lecturers, interesting courses and student-friendly cities. The various programs are not only aimed at students. Employees and trainees also have the opportunity to gain experience abroad at one of the numerous partner universities for further education and training opportunities.