Anastasia Zvonov / Photo credit: Farina Stock

“My family and I always planned for me to study abroad”

Twenty-year-old Anastasia Zvonov comes from Chișinău, the capital of the Republic of Moldova. A year ago, she started her bachelor’s degree in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Mannheim with Italian as a minor. In her myUniMa story, she tells us why she came to Germany for her studies and why she likes to drink tea with her flatmates.

Why did you decide to study in Germany and not in Moldova, your home country?

My family and I always intended for me to study abroad one day. And I wasn't the only one - all my friends went abroad after school as well. After finishing school, I wanted to go to a German-speaking country, either Germany or Austria. I already started learning German in primary school and then opted for the German program offered at my secondary school. This way, I did not only learn the German language, but also about the country’s history and culture. Also, I had already made a trip to Germany before starting my studies here when I visited my aunt, who lives in Strasbourg.

Moldova is a small country situated between Ukraine and Romania. What do you think makes your home country special?

Unfortunately, Germans don’t know much about Moldova, and I would like to change that. I think it’s our food and culture, above all, that make Moldova special. Moldovan cuisine is very similar to Romanian cuisine, but has also been influenced by elements of Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. And the tea, which I absolutely love. We have so many different kinds of tea in Moldova. Whenever I visit home, I bring back lots of tea to drink with my flatmates in Mannheim. Moldova is also a great wine country, and sometimes I bring back one or two bottles when I return to Mannheim.

What do you think is the most interesting aspect of your program of study?

I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, even as a child. Even though my mother told me my German would probably never be as good as my Russian or Romanian*, I never wanted to give up on my dream. Before starting my studies, I did some research and found that Mannheim offers the best program for me. The study program not only prepares me for a career in journalism, but also in advertising or PR.

Do you already have practical experience in the field of journalism?

At school, we had a press office where I worked as an editor. I wrote articles and produced videos for my school, which were published on a Russian social media platform. I have also recently joined the TEDxUni Mannheim initiative, where we invite interesting personalities from all over the world to speak about different topics here in Mannheim. I’m part of the team that’s in charge of finding and contacting speakers for upcoming events.

Why did you choose the University of Mannheim?

At the School of Humanities you can choose both a major and a minor, which I think is a fantastic opportunity. It allows me to learn Italian, something I’ve always wanted to do. That’s the main reason I chose the University of Mannheim. But I also love how open everyone is here. I didn’t know anybody here when I arrived, but I made friends very quickly. I’m also very impressed by how well organized our studies are. Moldovans have more of a Southern temperament, so everything’s a bit chaotic at home. The way the degree program is set up here seems far more organized in comparison. And I love how many student organizations you can join here!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy learning languages. I speak five in total, Romanian, Russian, German, English and Italian. I also like to read and listen to music, including German classical music. And I like to dance. In my childhood I even participated in dancing competitions. Lately, however, I haven’t done much sport besides a Standard and Latin dance class and an Irish dance class offered by the university last semester.

What would you tell international students on how to make the most of their time at the University of Mannheim?

I would encourage them to join in as many activities as possible. It’s a great way to explore German culture and to make new friends. And they should also join student organizations and make use of the university's vast sports program.

*Editor’s note: The official language of Moldova is Romanian. Moldovan is a variety of Romanian.

Text: Luisa Gebhardt/ August 2019