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My journey integrating into German society as a minority student

Germany attracts individuals from all over the world

… because of its numerous benefits, which include a high quality of life, job opportunities, and an intriguing culture and tradition. The German economy is also one of the world’s largest, thanks to the development of the labor market and stable conditions. People come to this country to get results: it is essentially a land of hope, success, research and invention. When it comes to attracting expats, the scenic beauty, numerous castles and unique architecture all play a part. These are all reasons why I decided to move to Germany from my home country of India some years ago anyway.

I have been in Germany for about 40 months. I arrived here when I was 18 years old, fresh out of senior secondary school in India. Now, I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Brewing and Beverage Technology at Technical University of Munich (TUM). Despite some difficulties in the beginning, I feel very much at home in Germany. I wanted to use this space to share with you my experience integrating into German society as a minority student to help others going through a similar situation.

Learning German is hard but worth it

German is the country’s official language, and a large part of the population speaks it as their first language. Although some people speak English, especially in the larger cities, I learned that it is always easier if you can speak a little German, or even just the essentials, when you are in Germany. My language journey here in Germany was tough. I remember, after successfully completing my German A2 level course, I was still afraid of making mistakes. I then switched my mindset and decided to learn from my mistakes rather than fear them. I told my friends and classmates at language school that if I make a mistake, they should correct me. After only two months I saw a significant improvement in my German language skills. Alongside language school, it has been very helpful for me to interact with German people on the street (asking for directions) or in restaurants (ordering food and drinks). Now my German is at a considerablespeaking and listening level and I could not be happier!

While some days are harder than others , and it is still an ongoing process, I believe in this process and - more importantly - I believe in myself.

Rajdeep

Making International and German friends

Many people in their 20s socialize haphazardly by joining industry groups or having drinks with coworkers after work, but don’t go into these situations with a solid plan or strategy. When I arrived in Germany, my goal was to make both International and German friends. I wanted to make international friends because I believe having a culturally diverse social circle is important for me to further develop my intercultural understanding and communication skills. I wanted to make German friends because I wanted to learn more about German culture through them and practice my German skills.

Through my early engagement with the international student network (German Association for International Students), I was able to connect to and make friends with other international students from all over Germany with ease. It is also a great opportunity for me as an international student to gain skills and experience needed to integrate into the job market after graduation. When it comes to connecting with German students, I found it easiest to do so through University events and classes. At TUM, there are always events happening and taking part in them or approaching German students at University has really helped me connect and befriend them.

A young Indian man poses next to a bicycle on a bridge in Amsterdam.
Rajdeep sits next to a bicycle on a bridge in Amsterdam.© DEGIS / Rajdeep

Believe in yourself and the process

For me, moving to a different country to pursue a course of study was a daunting task. I left my trusted surroundings in India behind and took a leap of faith into the complete unknown when moving to Germany. In some circumstances, my environment even told me that I was making a mistake by leaving my home country to study abroad. I knew that if I was going to make it in Germany and successfully integrate in a new country, I had to do it with an open mind and believe in myself and the entire process.

As soon as I set foot in Germany, I was eager to start a new chapter in my life. I blended out all the criticism and negativity and focused on the positive aspects instead. I was going to be studying at one of the best universities in Germany and could not wait to get started. Furthermore, I took the new chapter of my life as a challenge – one that I was going to master. This mindset really helped me grow personally and professionally and successfully integrate into German society.

While some days are harder than others , and it is still an ongoing process, I believe in this process and – more importantly – I believe in myself.

Rajdeep Sing from India is a Bachelor student pursuing a degree in brewing and beverage technology at TUM (Technical University of Munich)

Comments

Really appreciate the essay. It is a hard journey. And we all (international students) go through problems commonly with Ausländer behörde. And the most considerable to be corrected would be the ausländer behörde eventhough big cities like berlin and munich are doing a better job but there is alot of improvement needed among their training and interaction. I hope the german international organization for students considers my point and people like Rajdeep and all other IS will be much more happier and smooth that the “fear” is not an element rather than “welcome”is the task to persue.

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