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Bc. Hana Berezňáková, Masaryk University,ročník 5
About the country
Location of the place
Bochum is a city in east Germany, close to Netherlands and Belgium. Its a industrial area with a lot of other similar cites nearby.
Bochum is not a big city, but has one of the biggest Universities, so its full of students. Bars, clubs, parks, museums, it has it all.
Surroundings (possible trips, ...)
Germany has great train connections to all other parts of Germany, the closes big cities are Dusseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt, but you can get pretty much anywhere. Besides trains, there are also buses (Flixbus is the cheapest).You can also easily get to other countries as well and visit Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Prague and so on. Cheap flights from Dusseldorf airport (only 30 min away) are also sometimes available (my friend went to Poland for 20 euros return).
I was part of a research group of prof. Lars Leichert, who came up with an idea for a new project for me (no one has tried it before). I was working directly with prof. Lars, who was very helpful and nice to me. The work was basic research so it consisted of literature research, carrying out the experiments and evaluating the data. I was also part of the group, so I was taking part in other activities, like seminars and such.
Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)
My salary was 650 euros, which was sufficient for me. Groceries in stores are fair price, comparable to prices in Slovakia, meals in mensa were also not expensive (from 2,20). Only beer in bars is quite expensive (around 4) and transportation (metro and trains), but it all depends on how the individual spends their free time.
For work it was necessary to speak English, but German would be fine too. German is a big advantage but you can get around just fine with English.
Accommodation (price, who provided it)
IAESTE managed the accommodation through AKAFO (University organization) for 240 euro for month. I had my own furnished room with a sink on a shared flat with 11 other people. There were two showers and two bathrooms in the hallway. It was a very quiet place, with not many activities going on.
Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)
People from IAESTE were very helpful, I was contacted right after my internship was approved, we exchanged watsapp numbers and every time I asked something I got the answer right away. I got picked up at the airport and we went together to Uni as well. We had meetings every Wednesday and some weekends there were some special events with other IAESTE sections as well. Every intern was expected to prepare once during the internship a dinner from his own country so every once in a while we had these kinds of dinners.
Meeting other foreign students
I was in touch with the other IAESTE students right from the beginning, we would go for lunch together and hang out in the evenings. We all lived in the same dormitory, so it was easy to spend time together. Besides these people there is also other ways how to meet other students. It was no possible in my workplace (no students there), but there is a local ESN group, who organize all sorts of activities for foreign students.
Sport and culture
RuB is offering a lot of different sport classes, but unfortunately, since I was not a student, it would have been too expensive to join them. But there is park close by (great for running) and a swimming pool right next to the university. In Bochum is also museum, planetarium, theater and other cultural events available.
Food, local specialties
Groceries in markets are quite affordable and in mensa you can choose from quite a wide range of meals too. In the city you can find kebab literally everywhere and local specialty is curry wurst, so dont forget to try it.
Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic
Its easy to communicate through any network from Germany to Czech Republic. Especially now, since roaming in EU countries is for free.
Recommendations for students who will go to the same place
I would recommend to travel around as much as you can. If you find a local student, he can take you with his student card as +1 for free during weekends and after 7 pm. Also local ESN activities are great way how to meet other international students, since there is only a few IAESTE interns. For example every Monday there is a Kulturcafe event opened for everyone for free, where you can talk to various people in various languages.
What not to forget with you
In Germany you can buy everything you need, so just have enough money for the beginning. Also local IAESTE office will be able to lend you everything necessary for living (kitchen stuff, blankets + sheets, internet cable). Just bring some food from your country for the international dinner :)
Benefits of the internship
I was able to try working in a different research group and also working in a foreign language. It was definitely something worth trying, in case you are considering PhD position abroad or so. And since its just a internship, its not a problem to get a day off when you want to travel around. For me personally it was also a good way how to practice my German.
Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country
We were all in touch through WhatsApp and every Wednesday there was a meeting both for interns and locals in the office. I have to say that most of the people where very friendly and helpful.
Overall experience with IAESTE
Besides couple problems with accommodation in the beginning and in the end (the tenancy contract was signed from the 4th till the 15.12, not covering my whole internship) and a bit of trouble with my application in the beginning, my experience with IAESTE was very good.
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