My experience as a Erasmus in Köln
Heyyy world citizens! I’m Şeyma and greetings from Turkey. If you are reading this blog, I promise not to bore you. Since our path intersects on the same page, we have or will have similar experiences. In this article, I will share with you my experiences about reasons for choosing Germany for Erasmus+, preliminaries, accommodation, social life, travels and trips. I will evaluate my experience in the last part of the page. If you are ready, let our journey begin!
I was a student at the Department of International Relations at the university, and I had to find an Erasmus + internship place suitable for my internship. Actually, I was paying attention to the city that I would go to more than my department. So what did I want from a city? Nominally, the city I chose for internship should be located in a large European country because there were more opportunities and tools I could use. At the same time, the recognition and dignity of the country would be a plus for me while planning my future. In addition to being the largest city in Europe and its strong economy; Germany piqued my interest with its architecture, welfare level, hosting many international students, culture, food and of course Oktoberfests. 🙂 Yes, I found my country! After deciding to do Erasmus + in Germany, it was the second stage. In which city should I have done an internship? While choosing the city, I made sure that it was cosmopolitan and in a good location.
Spoiler alert: My grandfather was a worker in Cologne years ago. He had told me about Cologne many times and had sympathy for the city. Not only this situation, but also being Cologne's student city and being a lively city affected my decision. I decided to go to this charming city that gave its name to cologne. Next station: Köln!
Going to Erasmus for a student who is non EU citizen means extra paperwork to be done like visa. Actually, what needs to be taken care of is accommodation guys. If you are lucky, the company /university you are doing internship does this for you. But if you are not lucky like me, you have to solve it on your own. Therefore, I looked at Facebook groups (Erasmus+ Germany, Interrail) and Couchsurfing. The flats that I found for accommodation were not suitable for me because I had to act according to my budget. I thought like this ‘Only another student understands a student’ and I contacted a student who was doing Erasmus in Germany. She was super-helpful and recommended me a website that I can use for accommodation in Germany. When choosing flat, be sure to pay attention to its location because my flat that I signed contract was incorrectly marked on the map, so I learned when I went that it was 1.30 hours away from my company. For almost a month, all my time was spent on the train and I was paying a lot for transportation. I’m really loser. I could not leave the house because I signed a monthly contract. Then, I found a flat 5 minutes away from my company and changed it.
I visited the streets from google maps before I went to Cologne, it is fun! 😀 I also took note of what I had to do in Cologne according to my interests (then I forgot all about it), I checked to see if my bank account and phone line are open to international use. I read blog posts about Cologne and listed the cheapest markets for shopping.
My favorite part: Social life!
Even if you are a nerdy man, you will become a social butterfly 😀 Cologne is really social city because everyone who lives there knows how to have fun. Parties, international events, daily life, night life, carnivals, music festivals... Initially, I was occasionally attending events because my home was far away, but then my social life was very fun. So how did I communicate with people? I am already a friendly person and social life is always important to me. After contacting ESN Köln, I attended their meeting and events (I love you very much). Honestly, Erasmus students host the most entertaining parties in the world. I was like party animal. At the same time, Erasmus was unforgettable for me thanks to ESN Köln trips, night events, international dinners/meetings and for more things. In addition, as someone who has been actively using Couchsurfing for years, I met people I had contacted there and they introduced me to German culture. I have learned many details about their food, traditional activities and culture. On the other hand, by attending Mundo language events, I met people from many parts of the world who speak many languages. It really makes me happy to be in multi-cultural environments. I attended Latin dance nights and met people here. By the way, you can meet everyone at any time outside. I was able to meet people when I asked for a road, when I went for a run, at the market or even just while I was standing.
In my opinion, traveling heals our soul. It allows us to be a more open minded and understanding person while making us more innovative and energetic. For this reason, tourism has become one of the biggest actors in the world, removing international borders. It unites us. So I traveled as much as I could during Erasmus +. On my travels alone, I went to other countries on weekends or discovered other cities in Germany. Before I traveled, I determined my route, followed the plane tickets and bought the tickets at the time they were cheapest. Traveling alone is absolutely adventurous! My first aim in the countries I visited was to discover and live the moment. By the way, when I was in Germany, I often used bla bla car to go to different cities, it was cheaper and also had the opportunity to get to know many people. Apart from that, we traveled to different cities with my friends. If you have a crazy group of friends, you can suddenly find yourself in the train going to a different city. Although there were many tour trips, I preferred to participate in the trips organized by ESN Germany. ESN groups of the cities we visited guided us to introduce the city. I never felt stranger and everywhere I went was like my home.
I can talk about my Erasmus experience for days. If I evaluate briefly; If I had no problem with accommodation, I could travel more. This still makes me sad and that's the only negative point for me. Thanks for ESN Cologne, Kölsh, for everyone I know, for German and for all the good things Cologne! I hope this adventure never ends. 😊