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My Journey as an ISE Student

ST building, located in Friedrich-Ebert-Straße in Duisburg.

[Foto: Parisa Sadeghpour]

11.08.2022 10:54 - Gastautor*in

My name is Parisa, and I joined UDE around four years ago to study Mechanical Engineering (ISE). I recently finished my bachelor’s degree in Duisburg. My path as an ISE student always seemed different from other German students, so I thought it would be nice to share my experience with fellow students through Akduell. 

Being an international student, regardless of the course of study, has its ups and downs. The foreigners’ office in both Duisburg and Essen is usually tricky to deal with, and the waiting times are unbelievably long. This can make things like working as a student more complicated as our work permit is strictly tied to our visa; therefore, the later the visa extension appointment is, the messier the process of getting a job gets. However, in my experience, university staff at the international office are accommodating and considerate when it comes to such issues. In my case, I was able to speed up the process of my visa extension with the help of “Support Center for (International) Engineering Students” (SCEIS), to make sure I would not miss my chance in an internship program. 

That is really heartwarming to see as studying abroad can feel lonely now and again. I always appreciated the university staff's understanding and kind faces, who try their best to make this path a bit smoother. 

UDE: Hier könnt ihr am Campus entspannen

In diesem Campus-Guide erfahrt ihr, wo man entspannte Pausen an der Uni verbringen kann.
Von Lena Janßen in Campus
 

Not every student organisation seemed as helpful as the university staff. I was very unfortunate to have had many bad experiences with the Studierendenwerk. I still remember clearly that after moving to Duisburg, I had to make a new bank account, and unfortunately, this process happened right at the beginning of the month. So both my rent and my first insurance payment got declined, as the account was not open yet on the first working day of the month. The funny part is that the insurance company was a lot more understanding of the situation, and I was charged for the first and second month's payments the month after. However, I was charged a fee from the dormitory for the four days delay in my payment! This is a small example, but it would be very nice to see the “Studierenden”werk be more flexible when it comes to students who are new in Germany and might not know their way around. I am hopeful to see them improve on being a little more student-friendly.

Back to university, I was always more than happy to show our campus to my friends back home. Campus Duisburg looks beautiful (and a little maze-like, to be honest). Although the lack of variety at Duisburg Mensa compared to its Essen counterpart was always a bit disappointing, it was still a good time, and I enjoyed the time I spent sitting in U-Cafe and Cafe Vision. If you are new around here, I highly recommend those.

Campus Duisburg: Cafe Vision in M area [Foto: Parisa Sadeghpour]
 

This is all great, but the sad thing is that as ISE students, we spent the first two semesters (and a portion of third and fourth semesters, depending on your major) in the ST building, which I am pretty sure most of the students in the German courses are not aware of! ST building is located at Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 12, at the end of the 901 tram line towards Obermarxloh. This building is pretty abandoned and alone without any mensa or library. Its most significant disadvantage, however, is the fact that almost no other student except for ISE students ever passes by this building. This, unfortunately, isolates international students from their get-go. It all gets worse when you consider how much interacting with German students could help new students to integrate better, make friends and practice the German language. To this date, partially due to the Corona pandemic and partly due to the ST building location, I do not have any German friends from university. I hope this changes in the future. Studying at the Duisburg Campus with others can open many doors for international students.

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The path from Campus Duisburg to ST building with public transport. [Screenshot: Parisa Sadeghpour]
 

Furthermore, some English courses seemed less organized or underperformed compared to their German version. For example, I remember recommending ISE students to use the German thermodynamics moodle course when I used to be their tutor because there was simply more study material available there. This is disheartening to see and raises the question if we have received the same education quality as fellow students in the Maschinenbau course. 

Even with all of that, it is still great to see our university offering ISE courses, of which half are in the English language. It is an excellent chance for international students to find their way in Germany. As I learned recently, it can also be a good option for German students who want to familiarise themselves with studying in the English language. This is motivating and valuable to see, and I am sure the ISE courses are on a great trajectory to improving each year. 

Overall, I had a lovely time during the past four years, and I made great memories. I studied for hours and hours in the LK library, took the tram to the ST building many times and talked about my latest issues with the foreigners’ office in the cafeterias with my friends. 

It was a sweet journey UDE, thank you!

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