About three years ago, I gained the opportunity to be participate on a study-exchange double Bachelor degree program in Germany. Born in a small town in the south of China, I always dreamed about going abroad since I was very young. As a result, from the very beginning, what Germany means to me is like the place where the dream starts. Looking back to the past few years, I strongly believe that the experience in Germany is of great value to me. It is not just about the study in the university, but more importantly, by interacting with a different culture, living and thinking independently, form your own ideas and value about the people and the world.
The university I studied in is Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, which is located in a very small and nice city Ingolstadt. You can find almost everything here related to Audi since the headquarter of Audi locates in Ingolstadt. The living environment here is very comfortable, and compared to China, the slow pace of life creates different psychological state of people. You can easily find that life stress has a great influence on people’s mentality.
Today, many Chinese concerns are centered too much about the material pursuit of their life, leading to the a limited perspective in many cases, which is what I realize from my classmates in China who have graduated and worked for several years. In contrast, Germans do not have to think too much about their living conditions, because they received more welfare from the government, and in this case, they tend to pay more attention to the spiritual pursuit, thus I come to understand why Germany has bred so many philosophers and innovative thinkers. In such a relaxed and free environment, people will automatically think about all kinds of things, without the need to pay attention to the trifles and perhaps vain “materialities” in life.
As an exchange student, I spend most of my daily time in the university. I have studied Financial Management for three years at Sun Yat-sen University in China, so most of the courses I chose in Germany are intermediate and even advanced courses, to study together with the master students. The teaching size of the class is quite small here, and normally there are only about ten students taking part in one course, which gives great opportunities for students to communicate with each other and professors.
The biggest difference between the study here and in China for me is my views about the meaning of studying myself. In a completely free environment, I can try to know what I really want by attempting to explore various areas, regardless of how different these topics might seem to be. There is no ending to self-studying and if you can find your true passion or calling, study becomes no longer pressure but great pleasure. What I most urgently want to tell to others, especially those who are in the early stage of study in the university, is that, try to find your interest point and excite unleash your potential, and the results will follow.
Bernard is currently a MS in Business Analytics student at Washington Univesrity in St. Louis. Previously, he graduated from Sun Yat-Sen University with a degree in financial management. Bernard is passionate about emerging technologies and has worked for top hedge funds and commercial banks in NYC and in China.