Exchange semester in Weimar #1: Adam (Boston)

Exchange semester at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar: study, travels and learning more about yourself
Three stories of international students, who’ve been studying at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in SS2017.
Adam. Photo: Anna Perepechai
Adam grew up outside of Boston, USA. He is 21 and was completing his 6th semester (Visual Communication) in Weimar after 5 semesters in Boston at Emmanuel College (Graphic Design), which is one of Weimars partner universities.
Find out everything he experienced in Weimar, which impressions of the university he has and his advice before coming to Germany.

Bauhaus is international. Since the school’s beginning students and professors from many different countries have been involved in the study process. Now, in 2017, there are around 1000 international students attending Bauhaus University Weimar, which is around 26% of the full amount of the students. We’ve used a chance to get to know some of these international students who came to Weimar for just one semester by recording and sharing their stories in our blog.
Why did you come to Bauhaus-Universität Weimar to do your exchange semester?
I’d heard about Weimar and the university through art history courses in college. Also one of my professors was teaching a course here and he told me about the programm a couple of years ago. I didn’t necessarily want to go abroad for an exchange semester, I just wanted to come here.
Is it your first experience abroad?
Yes. I am here since March and it is the longest time I’ve been outside of the USA. Weimar is easy to get comfortable with, it feels pretty simple and cozy here. A semester abroad is a short and clearly framed period of time, and I wanted not just to go abroad to travel, but to learn and to gather new skills.
How was it in the beginning of your exchange semester?
When I came here it was kinda early and the only person who I was in contact with for a couple of weeks, was my flatmate. I was very lucky to find not just a flat through WG-Gesucht, but also great flatmates.
It was pretty cold but not much different from Boston. Everything was new but close to home. Going to the grocery store and buying food was regular but nice. My first week was simple and relaxing.
But once all the exchange students arrived, it got busy and fun – we had an orientation week, part of which was bringing us to different locations outside of Weimar. Before we did trips together, we had a pub crawl. We were all really eager to meet other exchange students. In the mornings we had a language class and then we were hanging out. It felt like in March the city was ours – there were exchange students everywhere! I loved the orientation weeks.
And when the semester started?
Then we had to choose our projects. I did three graphic designcourses. The only one thing which was difficult for me during participation in them, was German language. I could understand about what was going on during the class, but it was not so easy to understand the opinions of people. I would have prepared myself better, so I could join the conversations more and move into them when I wanted to.
Which impressions of our university you have?
When I was coming here, I was interested to see, how much the school was still like a Gropius model, or not. I find it nice that the Bauhaus university is open to your possibilities. It took me time to understand just how free you are here. Part of that is due to there being little structure to the courses. I didn’t receive a syllabus. But there is a bunch of creative energy here and people are living what they do.
Photo: Universitätskommunikation, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

In USA my courses are based on learning the tools, but here it is mostly about using what you know learning on your own. It gives a certain style to the end result. At home we have a clear sense of «right» and «wrong» and here is not like that, it is totally subjective and when you argue your topic – there might be something there. It can work.

People collaborate here, just what people are doing for Summaery (Annual Bauhaus Universität Weimar exhibition) – that’s great. I knew that I would find it here, because I’ve heard about it before, but I really enjoy living in this years Summaery.

Did you know some German before coming to Weimar?
I could have learned German a bit better before coming to Weimar. Once I was accepted in January, I used DuoLingo and was practicing it a bit with my father, he learned it earlier. I did two language courses here. I need to learn German futher.
How and where did you spend your free time?
I did a couple travel trips, though I liked my time studying and living in Weimar. To grab some coffee before class and have a walk in the Ilm Park is a great way to start your day. M18 plays great music all the time. It’s a cafe and a party spot.
There were a lot of parties made by international students. Jazz night at CKeller on Mondays, some hip-hop dance or sport classes. I can’t say that I have a soundtrack of my exchange semester, but I definitely have listened to a lot of techno. If you go partying in Weimar – you can always find techno.
My only one real trip was to Prague, but I gonna travel afterwards: Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Stuttgart – I’m gonna relax after the semester and then fly back home.
Would you advice something for the next exchange students?
Try to use your time! Go for a walk or run somewhere. You can find something to do. Part of living away from home is that many things are unfamiliar, but it helps you to experience even regular things like the first time. Try new things. Keep yourself open to people and don’t be bothered. Go with the flow!

Anna Perepechai, B.A. (Journalism), 3rd Semester Visual Communications

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