Eliya Ameri hat offene lockige schwarze Haare und lächelt vor dem Schloss in die Kamera. Er trägt eine Brille und eine Lederjacke.

“I Am Proud of My Personal Development”

Eliya Ameri is 21 years old and attended a German school in Iran from the 7th grade on, which he graduated from in 2020. He is now in the 6th semester of the bachelor’s program in Business Informatics at the University of Mannheim and has performed so well that he has been awarded the Deutschland Scholarship. As he loves passing on his knowledge, he works as a tutor at the university. In his myUniMA story, he tells us how much life in Mannheim differs from life in his home country and what inspires him.

Eliya, tell us a bit about your background: how did it come about that you attended a German school in Iran?

I was born in Iran. Yet, my family and I moved to Dubai when I was five years old. There, I attended an English school until seventh grade and also learned Arabic. We then returned to my home country and had a look at various schools. Together with my parents, I finally decided on attending an international school. The school that appealed to us the most was a German school, where the lessons were still taught in English for the first two years. From the ninth grade onwards, we switched to German and only then did I learn the German language. In the first semester of grade ten, I was able to obtain a C1 level of proficiency in German – that was like a gift for me. I finished school there and completed my Abitur.

Did you already know at the time that you were going to study in Germany?

After graduating, I knew that I wanted to continue learning and study. So, I did some research and took a year off. As I did not fulfill the requirements for being admitted to a university in Iran, I had to go abroad. Having a German degree made Germany an obvious choice. It also made it easier for me to get a visa. Moreover, I have family in Germany, another fact that helped me make my decision.

Why did you choose the University of Mannheim?

I've been interested in math and informatics all my life. So, it was only natural to look for a degree program in this field and then I came across Business Informatics. I didn't want to only study Informatics and thought that the combination with Business Administration might be helpful. So, I researched the universities offering this program of study. Mannheim was a good fit for me, as we have a lot of friends and family in the region. When I realized that the University of Mannheim is quite renowned and found nothing but positive reviews, I thought to myself: That sounds great!

What do you particularly like about the University and the City of Mannheim?

What I like most is the fact that I have so many contacts here and that I keep making new ones. I came to Mannheim at the end of the coronavirus pandemic, which is why my first two semesters were still partly held online. Making contacts was the most important thing for me, especially because it wasn't so easy for me to approach people. Today, I always meet lots of people, no matter where I go. This is also because I joined the VISUM student organization, which has made me much more open-minded. In general, I love helping others. Whether with studying, privately or in the organization, I really enjoy helping others and I can always make new contacts this way. I think it's also because I can see how I'm developing personally and feel that I'm never alone.

What I particularly like about my degree program is the content and the professors, as I really enjoy the interaction. Each teacher is different and each semester I look forward to getting to know new modules. I think it's easier to be good at things you're really interested in. I am also proud of my professional development. Having understood everything by the end of the semester, even though the module description sounded pretty complicated at first, is just a great feeling. It gives me the confidence that I can do anything if I put in enough time.

In what ways is life in Germany different from life in your home country and what challenges does this entail?

The biggest difference is that there isn't so much happening here. I have my routine, which is the same every day and I don't have to worry that everything will be different tomorrow. I go to university, to the gym, and meet my friends. It's a good balance for me. Because when I return home, I'm in action from day one. Some of my relatives are actors and actresses and are very well known in Iran. When I'm there, I'm suddenly famous, too, and am asked for pictures, for example.

The only real challenge for me here was the initial phase. When I first arrived and had to find an apartment and, of course, didn't know how things worked in Germany. It took me a while to settle in. But I was lucky that some of my family members live here and were able to support me. As I said, I was not that open-minded at that time. And if you don't go out and just sit at home, you won’t get to know anyone. So, I realized that I had to make the first step to get to know people.

How do you finance your studies in Mannheim?

Since the third semester, I have been a tutor for various courses in Informatics and Business Administration, which is my main source of funding and which I think is really great. I like being part of the university environment and helping others with the things I'm good at myself. I noticed that when I was still at school and helped my schoolmates with math. I also applied for the Deutschland Scholarship after everyone had advised me to do so and was completely surprised when I was actually awarded the scholarship. It was a great feeling, especially because I hadn't really expected it. Apart from the financial aspect, the scholarship also gives me more motivation and the feeling that I'm on the right track.

Do you already have an idea of where you would like to live in the future and what your life might look like after graduation?

I haven't given that much thought yet. I don't like planning things in the long term. In the end, everything turns out differently and all the plans were in vain. However, I have thought about doing my master's degree in Mannheim, as I simply have a lot of fun here. Where I go afterwards, though, I don't want to decide until the time comes.

Interview: Pascale Tamburini / February 2024