A total of 50 guest stu­dents had plan­ned to come to Halle for the past sum­mer semes­ter. Twelve of them have actual­ly enrol­led and have atten­ded their cour­ses online. But no more than two stu­dents real­ly made it to Halle, one of them being John Bermudez Vera. He is majo­ring in Food Technology and came here from the coas­tal city of Valencia in Spain. Originally John comes from Colombia. In this inter­view, he tells how things went for him in Halle in the time of COVID-19.

What made you go for an Erasmus semes­ter?
I am a very open-min­ded per­son and I enjoy get­ting to know other cul­tures and new peop­le. I see Erasmus as a chan­ce to expe­ri­ence this.

And why did you choo­se Germany?
That is hard to exp­lain, as I used to be qui­te fran­co­phi­le and Germany was not exact­ly a desti­na­ti­on I con­si­de­red. But then I beca­me friends with someo­ne who did his ex­change in Spain, and sin­ce then we’ve been visi­t­ing each other and I came to Germany once in a while. That’s when I saw that going to Germany was not as bad an idea as I used to think. The government, the peop­le and the cities see­med qui­te inte­res­ting to me. And then I thought I should make use of this lan­guage which I’ve learnt a litt­le through our friendship and which I didn’t speak one bit befo­re that. That’s whe­re I wan­ted to impro­ve. Besides, beer is very exci­ting for me as a stu­dent of Food Technology becau­se it is pro­du­ced with micro­or­ga­nisms, and Germany is a beer coun­try. (chuck­les)

Foto: Milena Giskes

How were things going when you star­ted your semes­ter abroad in the time of COVID-19?
Very bad­ly. Erasmus is all about going to lec­tures, atten­ding “real” clas­ses and get­ting to know new fel­low stu­dents. But none of this was pos­si­ble due to COVID. As ever­ything took place digi­tal­ly, I could ask no ques­ti­ons to my pro­fes­sors in per­son, just via email. Then I had to wait for the ans­wer, some­ti­mes a day, some­ti­mes two. And all was done in German. That was not an easy task. But all has tur­ned out well and I pas­sed the exams. Still, it took some effort to arran­ge the­se, too. The pro­fes­sors assu­med that I was in Spain and they could not meet me for the orals – when I was here all along, sin­ce February. (chuck­les)
Another important point: As an Erasmus
stu­dent you usual­ly get to know many fel­low Erasmus stu­dents from other coun­tries. Unfortunately this did not app­ly to me. I didn’t get to meet any of them, which is a real shame.

So how did you get to know peop­le here?
For one thing, here in the dorm. At first, I was living alo­ne in the shared flat, but one by one more peop­le arri­ved. For ano­t­her, I made a gre­at catch with my bud­dy pro­gram­me part­ner. He intro­du­ced me to his friends, which was real­ly nice.

Beyond the bud­dy pro­gram­me, has the­re been fur­ther sup­port from the uni?
Not real­ly. However, one of the faculty’s pro­fes­sors, Corinna Brandsch, has hel­ped me a lot with regis­tering my Bachelor the­sis and get­ting in touch with other pro­fes­sors. I even met her in per­son and she has hel­ped me a lot in my situa­ti­on. I can always ask her for advice. Besides, I get help from friends.

How did you expe­ri­ence the time of COVID-19 in gene­ral?
It’s safe for me to say that I’ve been lucky to have stay­ed in Germany, as things were worse in Spain. Before the lock­down I pho­ned my tutor and she advi­sed me to stay here. I can’t say it was a bad Erasmus expe­ri­ence becau­se sure, I can’t do the things I should nor­mal­ly do, but it is a pan­de­mic after all and the who­le world is a dif­fi­cult place. So it’s fine for an Erasmus semes­ter … in a pandemic.

Now that the semes­ter is over, what are your plans, what is next for you?
I have just sub­mit­ted my Bachelor the­sis, which means I have finis­hed stu­dy­ing. Currently I am in a two week pla­ce­ment in the Landsberger bre­we­ry which is clo­se to Halle. This means I must get up very ear­ly, but other­wi­se it is gre­at fun. Afterwards I want to remain in Germany becau­se I think the­re are more oppor­tu­nities for me here. Later this mon­th, I will move to Berlin, whe­re I have a cir­cle of German and Spanish friends. This makes qui­te a dif­fe­rence for me becau­se it makes me feel more like at home. In fact, I am some­what sad to lea­ve Halle becau­se I have got very good friends here as well. But fortu­nately I’m stay­ing in Germany and Berlin is not that far away.

Translation: Konrad Dieterich

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Benachrichtige mich bei

Diese Website verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre mehr darüber, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments