Felipe Gomes dos Reis Justininano / Photo credit: Jula Jacob

“Having studied in Mannheim will open many doors for me.”

Felipe Gomes dos Reis Justininano comes from Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia and studies Busi-ness Administration in his third semester. Find out in our new myUniMA story what he finds most interesting about his program of study at the University of Mannheim and what positive experi-ences he has made with the current online semester.

How is it that you speak German so well?

I attended a German school in Bolivia and then took an intensive German language course at a boarding school in Bavaria for one semester to improve my German language skills. My parents have always been enthusiastic about the idea that my sister and I were going to study in Germany. At my school in Bolivia, however, we could only obtain a degree called IB, which is more likely to prepare for studying medicine in Germany. However, since I knew early on that I wanted to study a subject related to economics, I attended a Studienkolleg in Germany for one year after graduating from school.

Where does your interest in business administration originate?

Apart from the fact that I find the topic simply exciting, I like the fact that you can do virtually any job you want if you've studied business administration. You have the opportunity to work in a company and start a classic career, you can open your own restaurant and understand the underlying finances, or you can start up a renewable energy company - the possibilities are endless.

Why did you choose the University of Mannheim and what do you like best about your program of study?

The University of Mannheim is the best university in Germany with the best rankings and evaluations. It is as simple as this. I really like my degree program and the campus. Of course, there is almost always a subject you don't like that much - in my case it’s law - but I am a very big fan of management courses, both the lectures and the exercise courses. I like the fact that you can think in new directions and be creative in these courses and that they are extremely varied. Contrary to the prejudice that they are quite boring, I think quantitative methods are also very interesting, to be honest. Compared to studying in Bolivia, the quality of teaching in Germany is better and - although I have to pay fees - it is cheaper.

How does the online semester work for you?

To be honest, very well! Most of the courses are recorded and you can view them anytime and from anywhere.  It’s quite easy and convenient. I like these online courses maybe even a bit more than “normal” teaching at university, because I'm completely flexible about when I want to watch the lectures. For example, I can press “Stop” if I cannot follow or need a break. In the beginning, of course, it was a bit more difficult, especially because it was a completely new and unknown situation for everyone. However, the university did a great job. I have friends who study at other universities where things are not going so well.

What do you like about the City of Mannheim?

Mannheim has a perfect size and is a great student city with a relaxed atmosphere. It is neither too big nor too small and the people are very kind. Some of my fellow students think that Mannheim is not exactly a beautiful city, but I don't see it that way. In the end, it always depends on yourself and on your attitude. For example, my favorite place in Mannheim is the Wasserturm. It's a lovely place to spend some time alone or with friends. I also feel totally at home in my residence hall - a few days ago, for example, my fellow residents and I had mulled wine together. I really like getting to know German culture.

What do you think is the biggest difference between Bolivia and Germany?

Public transportation comes to my mind immediately. In Germany, it is very well organized and in Bolivia, it is pure chaos. You just have to wait for the bus to arrive, but you can never be sure, when it will come. Matching to that: People in Germany are very nice and punctual. Even if that is a cliché, it is still a very good one. If you want your friends in Bolivia to be with you at nine o'clock, you need to tell them to come at seven.

Do you already have an idea what you want to do after graduating?

I am completely open. For example, I can well imagine doing a master's degree - though I don't know yet whether in Mannheim, somewhere else in Germany or abroad. Of course, I could also simply go back to Bolivia with my bachelor's degree in Business Administration, having a good chance of finding a very good job there. Having studied in Mannheim will open many doors for me.

Text: Selina Supper / October 2020