Eine lächelnde Person trägt eine grüne Bluse mit Blumenmuster und steht vor einer Wiese. Die Person heißt Ilaria.

“I knew early on that I wanted to study in Germany”

Ilaria comes from the Turin area of Italy and is studying the Mannheim Master in Management (MMM) program. Her heart has always been beating for Germany. In the latest myUniMA story, you can find out why this is so and what she likes about about her studies in Mannheim and Germany in general.

Have you always wanted to study in Germany?

Yes, actually I did. When I was four or five years old, my family and I spent a few years living in Wiesbaden because of my father's job. My attachment to Germany also comes from that time. When I attended high school in Italy, I decided to study German as a foreign language. When finished high school, I had achieved level B2 and understood all the grammar rules – but it still took me ages to say one single sentence correctly.

Then, when I spent a semester abroad in Germany during my bachelor's program, my bond to the country grew even stronger and I knew that I would definitely come back for my master's degree. Today, looking back on my childhood, the coincidence that I once lived near Mannheim seems very funny to me.

Where did you complete your bachelor's degree?

First, I had been interested in pursuing my bachelor's degree at the University of Mannheim, however, to do so, international students have to prove German language proficiency at C1 level. So, I decided to first improve my German language skills in order to be able to come to Mannheim for a master's program once I have finished my bachelor's degree in Italy.

So, I finished my bachelor's degree in business administration and management in Turin. The program was taught exclusively in English and thus perfectly fitted my plans to go abroad for the master's degree. The proximity to my home, of course, also played a major role in my decision – I had just turned 18 and my parents wanted me to stay close to them for a while. However, I then spent a semester abroad in Berlin – and completely fell in love with the city. That's why I like the Jungbusch district in Mannheim so much, it is almost like being in Kreuzberg. It’s the same unconventional milieu and relaxed atmosphere. In general, however, I prefer Mannheim to Berlin as a place to study. You can get everywhere quickly and easily, even if you don't live in the city center. I am very happy that I opted for the University of Mannheim and the Mannheim Master in Management program.

What do you like most about the Mannheim Master in Management program and studying in Mannheim?

I was particularly convinced by the program’s open structure that allows you to specialize gradually – that's exactly what I like about it. For example, I am specializing in marketing, yet I can also choose courses from other fields, such as programming. At another university or in a pure marketing program you wouldn't have this option.

What I also like very much about the Mannheim Master in Management program is its international orientation. Apart from a few exceptions, all courses are taught in English and many students come from abroad. The opportunity to spend a semester abroad, and above all the fact that there are so many partner universities, is another big plus. Provided that the coronavirus pandemic calms down, I will go to South Korea next year for my semester abroad. It's also great that it's easy even for international students to find a good part-time job in Germany – for example as a working student at the university or in companies. In Italy, many of my friends work in bars and cafés to earn some money; here, you can find a job that benefits you in the future.

What are your plans for the future?

I haven't decided yet. This summer, I'll be doing an internship at Bank Credit Swiss in Zurich. But I can also well imagine myself working in tourism, because this branch of industry well suits my interests – I love languages, I love being in contact with people from other countries and I love traveling. Among my friends I am also fairly famous for providing others with all kinds of travel tips. Nevertheless, I would like to gain experience in other areas, too, and do more internships before I decide on a specific career path. In any case, I would like to stay in Germany or Switzerland for a while after completing my master's degree. In Italy, there are simply not so many opportunities for young people to start a career.

What hobbies do you have besides traveling?

Sports, that’s for sure. There's hardly a day when I don't do sports. My favorite hobbies are jogging or riding my bike. The banks along the Neckar and Rhine rivers in particular offer wonderful opportunities to do this. But I also like to go to the university's gym. As this had not been possible for a few months now, I started doing yoga, which I can practice at home. It is more strenuous than you might think and it is a lot of fun. When I'm not doing sports, I like to read or go out and meet my friends. This year, I also started working for the student organization Visum, but of course, I had to take a break due to the coronavirus crisis. However, I plan to continue my work as soon as everything has returned to normal.

What do you like about Germany and what do you miss about Italy?

I hope it doesn't sound too superficial, but what I miss most is the Italian tradition of the aperitivo. I just love to sit down in a bar, have an aperitif and a few snacks before going on to the actual dinner. In Italy, this is a genuine tradition and philosophy of life. Sometimes, my friends and I just have an aperitivo at home. But what I really like about Germany is the fact that there are so many different restaurants. Especially Asian restaurants are very popular here and I also love the flavors of Mexican food. In Italian cities, on the contrary, there are almost only Italian restaurants except for one or two sushi bars.

Text: Selina Supper / July 2020