Before starting this, I want to say that I know how lonely and tiring it can be when you are studying abroad. If anyone is interested to know more about how to make friends in Germany, hopefully this can be helpful!
I got my admission letter from TUC in August 2019. I was very excited and anxious at the same time before coming here. After I was done with the admission and enrollment procedure, someone from the university informed me about a certain “Student Buddy Program”. Apparently if someone from another country registers in this program, they will be paired with a German student. This is actually a great way to create a bond between the Germans and the internationals. Honestly I had a lot on my plate at that time, so I did not give that a go.
I came here in October 2019. The first week was super busy with all the enrollment and admission process. Finally I had some time to actually look around; I also went through the buddy program and applied for a buddy. I had no idea about the post process, I even forgot about it at some point.
After 2 to 3 days I got a mail from “IUZ” (Internationales Universitätszentrum). The mail said that I was paired with a German student. They also sent me her email ID so that I could mail her. That evening I mailed Laura, who was supposed to be my new “buddy”. We started talking and we never stopped since that time.
It is amazing how she turned from my buddy to a very close friend. Now I rarely spend the weekends alone because I always hang out at her place with Laura, her friends and her adorable cats. We are on the move a lot, do some movie nights, cook or bake and so on. The most interesting part is that I got to meet so many new people through Laura. It is a relief for me as well because I always go to her whenever I have the slightest inconvenience regarding anything.
This is just one of many stories from the Buddy Program. I did not know quite well about the agenda or goal of the program. So I went to the website and read about it, later on I even experienced everything as well!
IUZ stands for Internationales Universitätszentrum or International University Center. This is sponsorship program of Technical University of Chemnitz which is an initiative by the students for students. This is supported by the volunteer students who organize mostly all the programs and events for the students from other countries. The aim of the organization is mainly to create a bridge between the students, to make them familiar with new country and to make them feel comfortable among all others.
This organization also helps the newcomers by giving useful tips regarding orientation, introduces them to the campus, helps improving language skills and makes them familiar with new culture as well. There are some specific events organized by IUZ which I consider to be really cool:
Welcome dinner! It was the first event of IUZ that I took part in. It was held in CDK, Club of Cultures on my orientation week. It is basically a grand welcome dinner for the foreign students and everyone can bring the popular food from their country. I vividly remember that I tasted almost 15 new dishes that night! After the dinner there are some surprises, small activities and of course all the students dance their way to the new semester.
City Rally is the second most favorite thing for me. For this, students are divided into small mixed group and they are given some tasks and puzzles to solve them together. It is almost like a treasure hunt, exciting and funny. The tasks are solved in the city center and hence the students get to know some important parts and facilities of the city like: the train station, the bank, the post office, the university etc. The winners are given some prizes as well.
Pub hopping is very popular among students, which is also a part of orientation week. On this night, at least two pubs or cocktails bars are visited by the students together. This way they can learn about the nightlife of the city outside the campus and get cozy in that atmosphere.
The Cooking Duel is one of the most exciting and interesting event that is organized by IUZ. For this, the students are divided into groups and they are given a small bag of colorful different ingredients. They are supposed to make a three course meal with the help of the ingredients: starter, main course and dessert. The main attraction of the event is the students sitting together and sharing the food they prepared with one another. This creates a nice bonding between them.
I attended the International Christmas Party in the CDK last year. Everyone brought an anonymous Christmas gift with them. Afterwards the gifts were exchanged randomly among the students. Everyone can experience the German tradition of Christmas by sitting together and having special wine and cakes. There is some music playing, a Christmas tree and of course a Santa Clause as well!
However, my most favorite events of IUZ are the trips. IUZ organizes trips to some nice places and cities with English speaking guides. So far I went to Görlitz, Potsdam and Annaberg. This is very exciting as we all go together on a bus and there are students from different countries.
IUZ is trying their best and making a big effort to make the university a cultural hub for the students. From my perspective and experience, I think they are successful as I have so many new friends from around every corner of the world. I know the German culture, root of the culture and history better than before. It is safe to say that the Buddy Program of TUC actually helped me to make lots of buddies in this new country!
Text: Layla Shams Tisha