Relocating to another country is certainly not an easy task. However, although often challenging, this experience also turns out to be very rewarding. By sharing the success stories of our friends, community members, and employees, we hope to encourage all the young people out there to give this unique opportunity a try. As March at Fintiba is announced to be the month of appreciation for women, we decided to start this series of blog articles with successful relocation stories of ladies that have made their dream of living in Germany come true. Get inspired and stay tuned – there is definitely more to come!
Tania is one of the winners of the Fintiba scholarship contest that was held in October 2019.
I am Tania, I come from Colombia, and I am currently studying at the LMU in Munich. I am doing a master’s program in molecular and cellular biology. Ever since I started my studies back home, I loved to understand the basic functioning of cells, which explains why an organism works the way it does, but also why it can fail and get sick.
I came to Munich the first time a year and a half ago on vacation and fell in love with the city and decided to look for an educational opportunity here. I went to the LMU and searching through their offer of programs I found the one I am currently doing, which was my dream in a study plan. It was then when I decided to set my energy on this dream.
Before this, Germany was not in my mind, mainly because of the language. Also, I had never been to this country before, so how was I supposed to want it without “knowing” it? Once I came here on those vacations, I realized Munich was precisely that place where I longed to be. If we put a little romance to it, I can assure you it was love at first sight. I had this impression of order, culture, development, and respect. I found Germany as a place where science and education have been for a long time a priority, a country that has kept its efforts to preserve its historical roots, conserving the architecture that reflects its essence. This impression hasn’t changed since I got here. I can’t speak for Germany as a whole, given that I’m living in Munich and haven’t yet traveled so much in the country. However, I have felt happy and welcomed. This stereotype that maybe german people tended to be too serious and not very expressive has wholly changed. My current notion now relies on real people, not on ideas. It turned by the people I’ve found along the way who have been friendly, caring, open, intelligent, loving, always there to give a hand, who enjoy deep conversations, hard workers, that enjoy outdoor activities and social interactions.
I find my self in a place where what I do is valued, where time is cherished. A culture of excellence and hard work. A culture of great people who know where Colombia is, who know that Colombia is full of paradises and great warm people, and not with the ignorant conception that I come from the jungle and is all about drug dealing in my country.
Of course, it is not all rainbows and roses; every new experience brings challenges. I think, as an international student, there are a couple of problems. In the first place, gathering the right documentation and getting insurance and all these initial requirements. In the second place, it is a new language, and even though you take german lessons, sometimes it is frustrating not to understand what somebody is telling you; or not to be able to communicate because you don’t know how to say something. Also, especially in Munich, the living costs are quite high, so that is also a little hard sometimes, which is why you try to find financial support.
Despite the “challenge” conception, so far, everything has been manageable. Regarding the first challenge, Fintiba, for example, made this more accessible. You find how to do all these things in just one place, with a consolidated list of precisely what you need, with prompt support if needed, ready to answer your questions, and also guide you through. It was this moment where I first became part of Fintiba. Additionally, through time, and once here, I had the opportunity to apply for a scholarship with them. I was fortunate to earn one of these scholarships, as it was a financial aid that came very handy, especially with the living costs. For this, I am very grateful, and I feel it is such exceptional support they provide to students like me with this initiative.
To wrap up a little, Munich has become a home to me. I have a support network with new friends and my partner and my university and my hobbies that I’ve managed to practice here. These things make it so much easier to not miss home as much. Right now, I feel I want to stay here and develop professionally. For now, it is not in my plans to go back soon. Once I finish my master’s degree, I would love to continue my medical career here, regarding a residency program, and also practice here, which has become my dream. I am very grateful for all those that helped me get here and stay here, including this team that made the road more manageable, and this team is Fintiba.
So many of us dream, yearn, and work for ‘studying/living abroad’. Why? It’s away from everything we know: our family, our friends, our entire social circle, mouth-watering local food, and everything we’d have grown to love living our whole life. But something drives us to seek new adventures, to learn more, to experience new, and build a better future, for ourselves and often for our families. In that process, we not only enjoy things we dare not imagine in our wildest dreams but also learn what millennials call ‘adulting’.
I came to Germany two years ago to pursue my Doctoral degree at RWTH, Aachen. Although the scholarship offer was impressive, it was a huge decision for me and my family. After completing my Bachelors and Masters from one of India’s premier institutions, my zeal to obtain a Doctoral degree was pushing me to search for options. I wanted to study and research in a country that was technologically world-class, international, welcoming, and, more importantly, has a stable and encouraging economy. As an aspiring Ph.D. student, I was aware of its enormity. Aside from the rigorous academic work, there is the emotional and physical strength demanded through a period of 4- 6 years. Therefore I was looking for a country that supported women empowerment, entrusted women in leadership roles, and also encouraged females through University initiatives. Germany was the answer to all these doubts.
Living in Germany has been a great journey so far. I learned the art of planning here. Be it the smallest weekly shopping plan or the long and vast yearly plans. Interacting with people from all walks of life from nook and corner of the world was a blessing in disguise. It gave me the perspective to look and approach life differently. This eventually made me respect people around me while valuing the traditions that I carried along with. For starters, learning German didn’t seem so bad when I practiced with people in everyday life. I never realized it happening, but I evolved.
At the university, I study and work with people with different viewpoints, interesting insights, and diverse backgrounds. I learned the art of agreeing to disagree. I respected opinions and was able to handle appreciations and criticisms equally. What was more rewarding was the fact that I was able to make real friends. This was very important for me to feel at home in a foreign land. And this is one the best assets you as a foreigner could get in a country like Germany. You are not afraid of trying new things when you are with your trusted companions who understand your naiveness and help you overcome your fears and inhibitions. Things like skiing, ice skating, swimming, jamming, and of course cooking different cuisines were all a part of this amazing adventure. I am stretching, learning, growing, and yes, enjoying it all at once.
Indeed, I miss home. But, this country I live in has also become “a home away from home”. Celebrations here such as Karnival, Weihnachts are a part of my calendar, along with traditional Indian celebrations. Life here has and is helping me pursue my goals in life. Rescuers like Skype, Whatsapp have my eternal thanks for making it possible to see and hear my loved ones, no matter the day or time. In many ways, being in Germany has helped assimilate views from different cultures, experiences, and opportunities. And I look forward to more of them.