“As soon as I saw the Schloss, I knew that this was where I wanted to study”

Katrina Cebatko is from Latvia and just handed in her bachelor's thesis in Media and Communication Studies. She has always had a close connection to Germany – the country where her grandparents live. However, Katrina wasn’t planning on studying here originally. In this month’s myUniMA story, she tells us about how she ended up in Germany, why she doesn’t regret coming here and what she is hoping for in the future.

Why did you decide to study in Germany?

My grandparents live here and my parents also spent some time living in Germany. They were always telling me to go to Germany after finishing school, but for some reason, I never wanted to. I actually didn’t want to learn German in school either. At one point, however, I realized that I would have the most opportunities in Germany. That is why I decided to leave Latvia and luckily, I never regretted it. 

Why did you apply for the Media and Communication Studies program in Mannheim?

As soon as I saw the Schloss, I knew that this was where I wanted to study, even though I had been admitted by multiple universities. I chose Media and Communication Studies because I definitely wanted to study something involving media. I had already worked at a newspaper in Latvia and wanted to keep studying media at university. I really enjoyed my program. I didn’t only study to pass exams. I found the topics to be very interesting.

How did your family and friends react to your decision to leave Latvia?

My parents were very pleased that I wanted to study in Germany. Nearly all of my friends left Latvia after school because there are few job prospects there, so my decision didn’t really come as a surprise. 

What do you like most about Germany?

I like that it’s pretty neat. In my opinion, people here are very perfectionist. Since I consider myself to be a perfectionist, that really appeals to me. There are also a lot of activities for students, for example sports courses. We don’t have that in Latvia. And of course the Schneckenhof parties; those are very cool, too.

Did you ever doubt yourself whether you made the right choice?

In the beginning, yes. After two weeks, I called my mother because I wanted to go back to Latvia. I had many friends in Latvia and then, all of a sudden, I was all alone. Those were tough times, but I loved studying. What helped a little, were the yoga courses at the university. Through these courses, I was able to let go of my fears. Looking back, I’m very glad that I stayed. It was the right decision.

What do you like to remember about your time as a student here?     

I like to think back to my internship with the Rhein-Neckar-Fernsehen. It was the time of my life. I worked in editing and got to conduct interviews. I was even on live TV once, which was an awesome experience. I enjoyed working there a lot and got to know many great people.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to do a traineeship in television and maybe become an editor. My dream job is director, though. If I ever end up going back to university for my master’s, I will be studying something along those lines. However, I do have a feeling that I won’t be staying in Germany forever.  But you never know. Let’s see what life has in store for me!

Text: Tina Ratajczyk / July 2018