CARNETS DESCARTES

Student life and integration

The first German people we met in Leipzig were the mentors of the international students. Indeed, during our three introductory weeks, the mentors have organized a lot of parties in club in order to show us the best places in town. In this way, we could meet both international students and German mentors. First, it was easier to speak with the mentors in English to get to know them, and progressively, we have tried to speak in German with some of them.

As we were international students from many countries, some of people were only able to talk in English or only in German.

I have experienced some comprehension problems with Chinese guys who were just able to talk in German. Indeed, Chinese students who are able to speak English are much easier to understand than those who speak German, because of the accent. It was quite frustrating not to be able to communicate or share some experiences with other international students just because of an accent.

Moreover, I had more affinity with German, English, Iranian and Turkish students, who were always ready to party, than with Jordanian and Chinese students who rarely hung out with us. One Chinese girl explained me that she does not really like to party because she prefers to have a good night in order to keep a healthy skin. However, it was really interesting to talk to them during the classes in the university.

During the first semester (from September to February), I was located in a student residence and my roommate came from Russia. She was studying Chinese in Germany and she was just able to speak German with me, no English. The communication was a little bit difficult at the beginning because even if I understood what she was saying to me, I was not able to speak a fluent German language as she did. She was really nice but really noisy and always invited her friends at night. I had the opportunity to talk with a Russian teacher of mine about this problem and she smiled to me, just saying “Yes, it is normal, she is Russian…” This was at that time that I decided to leave this flatshare in February to live with a friend in the same residence.