I have less than one month left in my exchange studies to Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. What has made this exchange very unique is of course the corona situation which for me meant, that I have been doing my exchange studies online from Finland to Germany. As the summer semester in Germany starts quite late in the spring the corona virus affected to the whole semester from the start. At first, they only postponed the start to April and hoped that things would return to normal, but it wasn’t long that they realized they had to implement the whole semester online.
I was lucky to be able to move to Germany in 8th of March to do my exchange. Unfortunately, I only got to live there for 9 days and decided to come home to follow the ongoing situation.
Bielefeld is a small city in a scale of German cities but compared to Tampere the population is almost the same. We were about 100 exchange students, but I was the only one from anywhere in the Nordic countries. FH Bielefeld has 3 campuses which include 5 faculties. They have yearly about 11 000 students studying in those campuses.
In my time there I was able to get to know the city a bit and study German for a week. We managed to start our German intensive course but even that was cut short. So, in my spare time I did a lot of walking as the weather was great and warm, but not much more can be done in a week. FH Bielefeld offers a lot of choices to do sports and the semester contribution also includes a semester ticket to the public transport for the whole NRW (North-Rhine Westphalia) which would’ve been great for exploring Germany.
My student housing was amazing. For the price of 320€/month I got a studio apartment which was build in 2019 and had everything you needed. The school offers everyone a spot in student housing, so I didn’t need to stress about my living.
All my studies this semester have been implemented online. This situation has been very new to our German professors as well, so the teaching quality has varied a lot between different subjects. Some offer weekly zoom meeting which has been great in my opinion. Some offer lectures that are recorded beforehand and then zoom meetings are just for questions and related info’s. And then there is one who has only given us some pdfs to read and has only contacted us couple times by e-mail. I do prefer the zoom lectures as they keep me motivated and give my weeks a bit of structure. Now they have made the decisions about how to implement exams online as that was a difficult to adapt for Germans as they are very used to the traditional ways of having a paper and pen kind of exams. I will be having exams on most of my courses and they will be subject to 60 minutes written online exam. This will be an interesting experience as even the teachers have never held these kinds of exams, so we have no idea what kind of exams to expect.
Studying to FH Bielefeld, Germany like this has seemed very easy compared to Finland as we have not had any projects, group work or tasks really in any of the courses. I don’t know if that is the norm or is it just because of the online semester. The downside in this is although, that the upcoming exam is going to define the whole grade, which is a bit unnerving. But I hope I will do okay and will accomplish my studies and be credited with a certificate of International Business Manager.
Have a great summer peeps!