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Press release

Welcome to Weingarten

Welcome Week

Three weeks before the official start of the semester, the first students are already arriving on the Ravensburg Weingarten University campus. A total of 84 international students will be joining RWU for the 2022/2023 Winter Semester. The International Office organizes a Welcome & Orientation Week to help the international students get off to a good start in their new surroundings before things really get underway.  

The exciting initial days, sometimes weeks, are already behind the new arrivals, who come from 16 different countries and have made their way to Upper Swabia from places such as India, Columbia, Croatia, and Nigeria. For many, it is not only their first time in Germany, but also in Europe: 61 of the students have traveled here from other continents. 68 of the international students will complete their entire degree program at RWU, primarily in the English-language master's programs in Mechatronics as well as Electrical Engineering & Embedded Systems. The remaining 16 internationals are exchange students, most of whom come from other parts of Europe and typically spend one or two semesters with us in Weingarten.

The Welcome Week is an Important Part of RWU

The Welcome Week, which is organized and led by Ramona Herrmann and Barbara Wildenhain from the International Office, helps students navigate all of the bureaucratic hurdles required to live and study in Weingarten. These administrative processes include matriculation at the university, residential address registration at the town hall (Bürgerbüro), and signing up for German health insurance. The Welcome Week also includes a campus tour, a city-wide treasure hunt, and a field trip to Friedrichshafen.

In addition to getting "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed, the week is also about socializing: the students are often far away from their families and this event gives them the opportunity to connect with each other. They are also introduced to some elements of German culture in the form of traditional Swabian foods such as Kässpätzle and Maultaschen. Communal meals help facilitate new conversations and relationships as well.

"To get in touch with each other“

"We have a student from Honduras here for the first time," says Ramona Herrmann, who is responsible for full-time international students at RWU. Marel, who completed his bachelor's degree in Costa Rica, chose the master's in mechatronics because he was impressed by the real-world, hands-on orientation of the labs and would like to stay in Germany after graduation to work in the field of technical engineering. He described the German culture and that of his Central American homeland as "very different," and found the Welcome Week to be quite helpful.

David from Croatia has also enrolled in the mechatronics program, and he too is already planning for his future after graduation. He chose Weingarten because of its English-language courses and location: Southern Germany is home to many large, global automotive companies - the industry in which he hopes to work after graduation. He also has relatives in the Stuttgart area, so he is already familiar with German culture, which he feels shares some similarities with that of Croatia.

"So different, but I like it"

Arina Skhurig also had positive things to say: the American is here as an exchange student because she had already been to southern Germany several times before and liked the people and the culture so much. Fortunately, the university in Utah where she is studying business has a student exchange cooperation with RWU. She is looking forward to the coming year: "I really like how small and cozy Weingarten is and how you're always close to nature and the outdoors. I'm also really looking forward to winter, the snow, and Christmas." She is the only exchange students from outside the EU; most are from France, Spain, and Poland.

The seasons and winter weather are also frequent topics of conversation for some of the students from India. 55 in total, they make up the largest proportion of international students. Vaishnavi Kulkarni, Gaytrree Paatil, and Karan Bhaiia say that they're not as concerned about the cold, rainy, winter weather in southern Germany as their parents are. The three students chose Weingarten for their master's degree both because of the idyllic landscapes as well as the fact that RWU is one of the few universities that offers English-language master's degree programs. Reservations about the wintery weather aside, they are all excited to begin this new phase of their lives: "We are looking forward to studying here at RWU and getting to know the German culture better."

Text: Lisann Gauß
Fotos: Christoph Oldenkotte