1. Writing skill is a crucial skill that we should definitely practice
Studying in Germany not only provides me with knowledge and updated trends in my field but also helps me train important skills. One of them is writing skill, especially writing emails. Although I have lived here for only two years, the number of emails that I have written is easily triple the one in my last 26 years.
In Vietnam, we do not have an emailing culture in the university which means when you need to ask something, simply just show up at the office or make a call. I actually didn’t write an email until I got my first job, therefore, it took me plenty of time just to think about what I should write and how I should structure my email (even in Vietnamese).
In Germany, we can not just give a call or have a meeting in many cases. For example, each professor only has a certain time for an in-person meeting (around one hour per week), if you have an urgent question, it would be more convenient to ask through email. Schedules and free time slots for meetings are well organized in universities in Germany, we can’t just expect him/ her to be available whenever we come to the office.
On my first day at the university, I was so surprised when seeing students knock on the table at the end of the lecture.
2. Attendance in the lectures will not affect directly the grade
In some countries, the frequency of attendance in the class might affect directly your result. In Vietnam, for example, the lecturers have a list of students in the classes and will call out the name to check our presence. The availability will account for 5-10% of the final grade.
This is, most often, not the case in Germany. No one holds a name list to check if you are going to school or not (except, for now, only to announce students in case someone gets positive with the COVID-19). We can register for an exam without going to classes. Nevertheless, we should check the syllabus because if it includes both assignments and exams, you will be failed if only participate in the exam. In case we are not able to join a full lecture, that will not be a problem. The lecturers will not question the reasons, and we do not need to disrupt his/her teaching to ask for permission to go.
In spite of the relaxing rule regarding attendance, I still strongly recommend you to attend the lectures on a regular basis. Besides the fact that you will get to know the subject better, questions in the exams can be highly connected to questions asked during class.
As is most often the case with rules and regulations, this might be different in certain universities and depends on the specification in their examination regulations.
3. Students knock on the table
On my first day at the university, I was so surprised when seeing students knock on the table at the end of the lecture. This habit was quite amusing to me since I had never seen anything like that before. Responding to satisfy my curiosity, a German classmate explained this action was like applause to show gratitude and respect to the lecturers.