I stay three months in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. My host university HFU offers education mainly for business and engineering students. I’m doing my internship in local laboratories, first four weeks at a clinical laboratory and then eight weeks at a research laboratory at the university. It has been very interesting to see how is the laboratory work in Germany like and also to compare it to the Finnish system. Laboratory field is very international and many principles are similar in both countries. Even so I have found some differences: the information systems and sample handing are organized differently, for example.
The weather in the Black Forest has been very changeable and it has also affected our plans for the weekends. However, I have done many unforgettable trips in the southern Germany and near its borders in Austria, Switzerland and France. Some of the trips were organized by the university but I have also planned some of them together with the other international students. It’s easy to travel by train in Germany and the group tickets are also very cheap. One of the best Saturdays we spent in Konstanz, on the shores of the lake Bodensee. It was a perfect, sunny summer day. We hired pedal boats and enjoyed the heat.
It has been a bit surprising to notice that many Germans don’t speak English. Fortunately I’ve studied some German but for a few years I haven’t had to use the language so I have forgotten almost everything. But even the basic knowledge has been very useful for me and I have been able to refresh my language skills during my stay. It has been great to notice that I can live in another country and communicate in foreign languages without any bigger problems. This experience has made me more self-confident. But of course the best thing is an opportunity to get new, international friends and learn about their cultures.