Studying in Europe is the dream of many applicants and students. And we, in turn, continue to interview the students studying in Europe to help you choose your country and university.

Students of European universities from Azerbaijan share their stories and experiences here. And from the words of students, we will learn about the details of education in Europe.

Today's guest is Vlada Shishkina, a student at the the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany. Our compatriot speaks about her student life in Germany...



- Vlada tell us a little about yourself, where and which profession are you studying for?  

- I am 23 years old. I am studying at the Technical University of Darmstadt, and I am very proud of that. My specialty is a geological engineer, and in Germany, I was interested in the Department of Hydrogeology and Environmental Protection. Now I'm getting a master's degree and in winter I'll become an environmental engineer.

- Why did you decide to choose this particular university and specialty?  

- Initially, long before I entered the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, my family and I knew that I would go to Germany, I was crazy about this country and dreamed (probably, like many in our country) to go to Europe. I also entered the Russian State Geological Exploration University named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze. But, of course, I flew to Germany. TU of Darmstadt is one of the best universities in Germany. Well, the second reason is that the faculty is in English. I am confident. I know German too, but English is the passion that started from the very childhood, and it happened the way it should have.



- How did you enter the university? Tell me about your experience. 

- Oh, this is an insanely touching story for me, I will never forget these emotions. In my 3rd year of undergraduate studies, my mother and I have already begun to prepare the way for my move, therefore, this is an exam in English (IELTS), the search for universities and hostels (in Germany this is a little difficult, so you need to organize all that long before entering). I received an answer from the TU of Darmstadt, just a week after my birthday. I remember how I sat on the floor, and as if my voice was taken away, I just started crying silently with happiness and at the same time with surprise, for some reason, I did not believe until the last moment.



- What was the hardest thing to do while entering? 

- At that time, for me, there were no difficulties, I just packed my bags, arrived at the airport, sighed deeply and flew away. I was happy. I remember that well. And so, well, probably running to the post office and sending all the documents, this works only through DHL mail, also looking for a place to live, since I have to make video calls on Skype from a distance and everyone needs to get to know me. We also made an apostille of my diploma, heard a lot of strangers, ran several times to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, and as it turned out, the apostille was not needed at all, but we spent quite many nerves on all that. And then, all the fun began in Germany.

- Tell me what you like most about studying at your university? 

- For me, the main point of studying abroad was that teachers and students are as an equal, they joke with you, they teach to the bitter end, assign you extra time so that you come and learn what you did not understand during the lecture, they go to all kinds concessions in time, according to the situation, due to personal circumstances. I also like a large number of practical trips, for example, we went to Greece (we also had time to relax), and there we went to water treatment plants. We had a trip to Hanover, we were invited by a company to a lecture, they showed the inner kitchen of German enterprises, and how everything is arranged there. This is a great experience since we all exchanged contacts for the future.



- Are there any downsides? 

- Well, of course, there are downsides too. This is quite normal. But I was not ready for them overnight. They somehow all at once found me and piled on. One and perhaps the most important problem for me was to find common ground with other students. Besides me, there were students from Papua, New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan. I was the only student from Azerbaijan in the entire history of this faculty. I was and still is alien to their mentality, their manner of communication. Of course, the fact that I was born in Baku made me very different from them. I am open, with all my heart, I will always help everyone, and there everyone was for themselves ... They closed notebooks for lectures, snitched. I didn't find any friends for myself, but by the end of my studies, already in the 4th semester, I found people with whom I could talk. But I do not regret that everything is so, still, we are different. 

-  What do you do in your free time, how is student life in Germany outside the university? 

- Free time is a little hard. The study schedule was ideal from the very first day, but since the language is not native, no matter how well I know it, I have to spend twice as much time preparing for exams. In many subjects, there are seminars to which you need to solve tasks or perform laboratory ones. And so, my relatives live in other lands of Germany, 2 hours drive from me, I often visited them for a couple of days.



- Tell us about your plans for the next couple of years, whether you plan to stay and continue your career in Germany after graduation? 

- I did not think that I would say this, but I have a definite answer that I certainly will not stay in Germany. My family, my fiancé, my close friend, all these people are far from me, and for no money and prospects, I would not leave them forever. And so, with a European education, I believe that I can find a job to my liking. 

P.S. I wish everyone to try, not to be afraid to leave. You are leaving your homeland; you are building your future. Use the opportunity while young, further it will be harder. These are indescribable memories and a great experience that is worth all this thorny path.