Studying Abroad in Germany and Taiwan
Written by Julia Zieba, 4th year Modern Languages (German and Chinese) Student
“Travel can be an incredibly enriching experience! Having an opportunity to study, work or simply spend some time abroad not only benefits us and helps us grow and understand the world better, but can also boost our CV. This, in turn, can help us stand out in the increasingly competitive job market. Luckily, the University of Manchester allows us to do any of the three mentioned above- or even combine them, depending on your degree choice! Here is my story.
I have come to the University in 2018 to study BA German and Chinese (yes, quite a unique combination). The joint honours degree in languages is always four years long, with the third year spent abroad. In this way, the final year experience can be enjoyed to the fullest thanks to a high-level command of a given language obtained during the penultimate year. When the time came for me to consider my options, I could split my time between the “Chinese side” and the “German side” of my degree however I pleased, provided that I did spend a fixed amount of time in both countries.
First, I went to Germany. Thanks to the University Careers website, I found a perfect work placement for me in Berlin! To go there, of all places, is a German student’s dream come true and a cause of jealousy of many of my friends. I worked as an intern in a translation office in a beautiful area of West Berlin. Mornings and early afternoons I would spend at work, polishing my German and proofreading translations in all languages on the planet. Evenings I explored the city with my intern friends from other UK and German universities. I fondly remember visiting art galleries and museums, going on trips to Potsdam, or simply wandering around the city. The experience of working abroad was definitely a boost both to my CV, as well as to my language skills.
Then the time came to improve my Mandarin Chinese. My second semester was therefore a study placement spent in Taipei, Taiwan. The capital city of the island is a bustling metropolis with new experiences awaiting at every corner. I loved studying at a beautiful, picturesque campus of National Taiwan University. Learning Mandarin is tough work, and any moment not spent on trying new delicious (and very, very cheap) food or hanging out with friends from the foreign languages club, I would study hard! Yet, it was without a doubt one of the most valuable experiences of my life. The long, arduous plane journey was definitely worth it.
I have returned for my final year as a changed person, having had my eyes opened to what the wide world has to offer. I am beyond thankful to the University for providing me with a chance to have such an amazing time abroad!”