Eine Person trägt eine weiße Bluse sowie einen dunkelblauen Blazer und steht auf dem Ehrenhof. Die Person heißt Zeba.

“In Mannheim I found just the right program for me”

Zeba comes from Mumbai, India, and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She visited Germany several times as a child, but never intended to study in Germany. In her myUniMA story she tells us why she nevertheless decided to study in Mannheim and what it was like to learn a new language within a very short time.

What made you decide to study in Germany?

Originally, I had not intended to go abroad for my bachelor's degree at all. However, my family has always been a big fan of Germany and my sister had also taken some German language courses. Personally, I never thought that I would come to Germany. Yet, when I started looking for good universities and programs of study during my time at high school, what I found in India was rather disappointing. My sister then suggested that I should also look for options to study in other countries – and so it happened that Mannheim offered just the right program for me. What convinced me to come to Germany was, on the one hand, the high level of education in Mannheim and, on the other hand, the fact that – thanks to low tuition fees – studying in Germany is very student-friendly and affordable, especially for international students. Furthermore, as a non-EU citizen you can stay here after graduating, for example in order to work.

What made you come to Mannheim?

When I started looking for a university for me, my choice fell very quickly on Mannheim. Apart from the fact that the University of Mannheim is at the top of most rankings, I also liked the structure of the program in Business Administration, for example the fact that courses are held in German AND English. That way, I can stay in Germany to start my career; yet, at the same time, I am well-prepared for the international job market. The cooperation between the university and many companies from all sectors of business is also great – as a student, you get a valuable fist impression of working life, you can network, and learn something from and for practice.

Fortunately, my grades were good enough to allow me to take up my studies here, but international students have to speak German at C1 level – and I didn't know a single word in German. Therefore, after finishing high school, I had two options: I could either study a bachelor's program in Commerce in India for one year (which is very similar to the German program in Business Administration) and learn German at the same time, or I could go directly to Germany and attend the Studienkolleg before taking up my studies. I decided for the first option.

How did you manage to learn an entirely new language in a relatively short time?

I had less than a year to do this because I only decided to go to Germany at the end of high school. German is a really sophisticated and intricate language. Each time that I thought, “Now, I've got it!”, I was immediately disabused. But I buckled down to it, not least because I wanted to go to Mannheim so badly. Looking back, I'm still surprised that I managed to do it. It was definitely one of the most difficult things I have done in my life so far. After nine months of intensive practice, I passed the test and was finally able to apply to the University of Mannheim.

What makes your family such a big fan of Germany?

My parents enjoy traveling and so we visited Germany several times in the past. Funnily enough, I was even once here in this area many years ago, namely in Heidelberg. Who would have thought that, one day, I would study close by?

All of us love the country, the landscape, the culture, the people – simply the way of life in Germany. Even now that I live here, my affection for the country and the people is growing every day. Though it may sound a bit like a stereotype, I like the German discipline, for example. And in my opinion, it is a prejudice that the Germans are always very serious and have no sense of humor.  At first sight that might be true, but when you get to know them better you notice how authentic, warmhearted, and helpful they are.

What do you miss most about India?

Fortunately, I'm not the type of person who gets homesick easily. I like Germany way too much and I really enjoy my time here. Nevertheless, I miss my family and friends a lot. What I also miss is the food! In India, meals are much more spicy, hotter, more exciting and interesting. Unfortunately, the Indian restaurants in Germany can't make up for that. So, I simply brought Indian spices with me to Germany and now, I cook my favorite dishes myself.

What do you do when you're not studying?

I am a member of MTP – the initiative for marketing between theory and practice – and I usually attend lectures there every week. In future, I would like to lend more support to their organization myself. Apart from that, I love to dance and have taken a salsa course at the university, which I really enjoy.

Text: Selina Supper / May 2020