German at Leeds student, Eirinn Quinnell, talks about her year studying in Mainz.
During the last year I studied at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. During my year abroad I feel that my academic ability has improved massively, owing to the differences in study styles between Germany and England as well as the added challenge of studying in a foreign language. It was certainly tough, but now I feel prepared for my final year and ready to tackle my final year project.
My experiences outside of the classroom have been much more important to me personally than those inside the university. I was able to take part in a number of different programmes which have developed my soft skills and I now feel much more employable than I did at the start of my year abroad this was something I had not expected as my main intention when I started was to study and increase my academic knowledge. I took part in a project open to all European students in Germany, in which I taught pupils at a German school about English culture something that I found extremely rewarding. I was surprised by some of the things they knew about England versus things they did not. At the end of the project we created a magazine with the pupils own articles inside. This is just one experience that I gained on my year abroad that I feel I can bring up in a job interview after I graduate.
During my year abroad I met lots of other international students, I feel like this is a major advantage of studying abroad. I got to try food from all over the world such as Salmiakki from Finland and Pierogi from Poland. I came away from my year abroad not only having learnt more about Germany and falling more in love with the country but also having met people from all over the world and having learnt more about their cultures. Although I am looking forward to being back in Leeds (and to being back in a university system I fully understand) I will miss Mainz and the people that I have met there.