Studentische Monatszeitung für Duisburg, Essen und das Ruhrgebiet


My Journey to Duisburg: Visa Struggle and the German Lifestyle

The freshman college where I spent my first year in Germany

[Text and photos: Parisa Sadeghpour]

15.04.2019 13:06 - Gastautor*in

My name is Parisa. I am from Iran and I've been living in Germany since October 2017.

The story starts in June 2017, when I was waiting for an appointment at the German embassy in my home country. Unfortunately, getting an appointment in the German embassy is quite tough in Iran so that's exactly where I faced the first problem. And even after that, the process of getting the visa took so much time that I arrived in Germany almost 2 months after the starting date of my lecture in the college that I was going to study at. Except the lessons I had been missing and the gap that I had to fill after arriving in a new country, the amount of mental pressure and stress that I was experiencing, due to visa delay, is not expressible.

Problems for International Students

The point is that as an international student, there are many obstacles that you have to overcome even before starting your journey, no matter how young you are or how hard your situation might be. And that is just the beginning. There are many well-known hardships like homesickness and language barriers, plus an endless series of small everyday tasks that can turn into a nightmare if you are not used to living on your own. That's the reason why the way native people and society treat migrants is of great importance. The more help and understanding migrants receive from locals, the fewer the worries they'll have. Anyhow, I'll skip my college year with all its ups and downs and will jump right into my first expression of Duisburg city and the University of Duisburg-Essen.

For a person coming from a crowded city, it is really hard to get used to smaller cities like Duisburg where you barely see people in the streets if you go out after 10pm. Apart from university-related stuff, the next steps of getting settled are kind of ready to go. As you might expect, people at the University try their best to do as much as they can in order to help you and almost everyone speaks English. That is equal to removing a huge amount of pressure from the shoulders of people who still struggle with the German language.

Let's put it this way: Most international students have difficulties running a conversation in German and they are spending all of their time, with other students, with the exact same problem in a class with almost no German students to get in touch with. This is basically equal to losing the best shot at practicing the language. Moreover, people might even feel left behind which is absolutely demotivating.
However, there are tons of positive points to mention about living and studying abroad. In addition to all the difficulties I talked about, there are many things that end up being way easier than what you may think and the amount of help that you will get from almost everyone is fascinating. The huge number of migrants and international students is understandable when knowing the fact that Germany is one of the best “study abroad destinations in the world”.

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