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Fanni - University of Applied Sciences, Berlin Charlottenburg

One of our Art and Design Management MA students, Fanni Pósa, blogged from the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin Charlottenburg.

First impression-October 2018

Introducing the host university

My receiving institution, the BBWUniversity of Applied Sciences is located in Berlin Charlottenburg. It has two buildings, the main one is on Leibnitzstrasse, the other, the Haus der Wirtschaft is am Schillertheater. All of my lectures take place in the main building, which is very modern, well-equipped. My favourite place is the 7th floor, the rooftop cafeteria – the view is spectacular from the top of the Hochschule.
My first week at the university was very eventful.

All international students were invited to the „Welcome Days” on 9th and 10th of October. On the first day, Tuesday we participated in the matriculation event. The official opening ceremony (for all the new students) took place in the Haus der Wirtschaft. The dean held a speech about how will we conquer the Kingdom of Knowledge together, which was equally funny and inspiring.

After that we had to go to the main building to the matriculation for the international students. (It turned out that Enikő and me, the two Hungarian girls are the first and only Erasmus students at the university.) The whole event was very „tüchtig”, it was coordinated by two lovely ladies from the Student Center. Both of them were – are – very helpful and kind.  We got all the most important information in a big white binder. (We also got a black bag, a pen, a highlighter, a notebook and a 4 GB flash drive, all with the uni’s logo.)

They answered all of our questions about the courses, the exams and the administration altogether. They also explained to us how can we apply for a monthly ticket for public transport with a student discount. On this first day we’ve already had our schedule for the whole semester including the time, place and type of our exams. Because of this I can easily plan ahead, I’ve already brought my plane ticket back to Hungary for Christmas time.

Here the whole process of administration is very quick and easy. When we applied for our student ID (all we had to do was send them a picture of ourselves), three days later we received an email that we can go pick it up. Also we had some overlapping courses in our schedule, but they fixed that right away. The open and helpful attitude of the Student Center made this whole „I’m in a new place in a whole other country”-stuff way less stressful and terrifying.

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Festival of Lights-October 2018

Social life as an Erasmus student

On the second day of the Welcome Days the program for all the international students was going sightseeing. But not just any sightseeing: each year in October, Berlin turns into a city full of light art. The artful displays on the famous landmarks, monuments, buildings and places are turning the Festival of Lights into one of the best known light art festivals in the world. National as well as international artists are presenting their brilliant light installations and thus, transform the city into a huge stage. They tell stories, draw attention to the special and present their cultures, arts, crafts and messages. Berlin landmarks, historical places, streets, squares, trendy neighborhoods and hotspots of recent history are staged with light.

The meeting point was at the university, we met up at 6 pm. Most of the international squad could make it, so we were around 20 of us. Our first stop was the Berliner Hauptbahnhof, which is the main railway station of the German capital. After that we took a walk tot he direction of the Reichstag – Bundestag. Both of the buildings looked fabulous, all lit up in the dark. Then we arrived to the Brandenburger Tor, it was the first time we saw the infamous light art. It was truly amazing. I took so many pictures and made videos as well, but they can barely show the true atmosphere of the whole experience. Our last stop was the heart of the city, Potsdamer Platz. There were some breathtaking lights as well, but my favourite’s still the Branderburger Gate.

After the sightseeing tour we headed to a Mexican restaurant called Que Pasa, on Oranienburgerstrasse, where the program coordinator booked us a table. The place had a wonderful ambiance, the food was amazing – and most importantly, the first drink was on the house! :D I mean… the university.

This was a great opportunity to socialize with the other international students. We learned so much about each other’s backgrounds, cultures and cuisines. They were fascinated by the Hungarian language :D

I met so many cool people, so I must say it’s gonna be an awesome half of a year!

#erasmusperience #fanniinberlin

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Laws in CCI and the hybrid management-November 2018

- The courses that are provided for Erasmus students –

In Germany, there is a different system of university education: we don’t have fall and spring semesters as we do in Hungary, but winter and summer semesters. I’m studying in Berlin during the winter semester, which started in October and will end in March.

Enikő and I, the only Erasmus students at the BBWHochschule have the same lectures as the other international students in the Management of Creative Industries MA. We only have lectures on Friday and Saturday, which allow us to have a job besides the university. Currently, we have three courses: Contract and agreements in CCI* (legal) with Prof. Dr. Malte Behrmann, Walk the talk: Implementation in CCI; International and hybrid management with MBA Ulrike Müller and Business English with Kathryn Nussdorf.

At BBW Hochschule, not every lecture start at the beginning of the semester. I’ll have two other courses while I’m here. Managing talents: Leadership in CCI will start at the end of November and Advanced Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) at the end of January.

There are two separate exam periods as well: one in December and the other is in March.

Walk the talk – in this course, we usually work in small (2-4) groups. We’re learning about different business models, strategies and strategical tools which can be useful on the fields of CCI. This is not about studying plain facts – it is about being in a completely different mindset. What I really love about this course is that we get to use them in „real life” situations: for example our final presentation (which counts as the exam) we have to analyze our own project, build new innovative strategies using the learnt tools to make it successful.

Contract and agreements in CCI – during these lectures we’re talking about the legal background of the CCI. We’re examining different types of agreements, contracts between producer and developer, etc. This course is much less about our creative energies of course, but it’s still very useful in a different way.

I’m very grateful that I have this opportunity to study about this stuff. I feel like I finally get to see how these things work in the real world.

* CCI = Creative and Cultural Industries

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Field trip and BBQ-November 2018

- University life and activities/events -

On time in November we went to a field trip to a video game developer company with Prof. Dr. Malte Behrmann. (He teaches management, communication and law at bbw Hochschule Berlin and lectures at Game Academy Berlin and at Valenciennes University in France regularly. Furthermore, he is currently supporting the European Game Developer Federation with his consultancy. As General Secretary of the EGDF, he then represented game development issues to EU institutions for more than 10 years. So one can say that he is kind of an expert on this field.)

So during this field trip we got to know a bit more about the video game developer industry – how they use 3D printing and VR combined, who is the target market, what are the expenses, the business models and strategies and of course the legal background. We got to see how these kind of companies work, how they are built.

In general, our field trips to real-world companies are really inspiring. We are able to talk to entrepreneurs about their businesses' perspective and capture insights for our own development. By this, we can link the theory from class into praxis.

The main social event in October was the Barbecue Party on the rooftop (organized by StuPaTM. But because of the cold weather – Berlin is a very windy city! – we just used the kitchen of the Rooftop Cafeteria instead and fried everything we wanted to grill. In the end everything smelled like oil :D , but we had a lot of fun. There were people from the bachelor programs and the other master programs as well, so we got the chance to socialize with people we hadn’t even met before.

By the way, StuPa organizes all the social events at the university. In December a huge semester party’s coming up… can’t wait!

*StuPa = Student Parliament

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Day of German Unity-December 2018

― My perspective about the host country ―

I had to restrain myself from writing about the stereotypes of German people (don’t worry, everyone is as tüchtig und fleissig as you imagine). So instead of being mean and superficial, I decided to write about the only national holiday in Germany, the Day of the German Unity.

The Day of German Unity (in German: Tag der Deutschen Einheit) is the national day of Germany, celebrated on 3 October as a public holiday. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990 when the goal of a united Germany, that originated in the middle of the 19th century, was fulfilled (with the exception of Austria and the German cantons in Switzerland). Therefore, the name addresses neither the re-union nor the union, but the unity of Germany. The Day of German Unity on 3 October has been the German national holiday since 1990 when the reunification was formally completed. The celebrations are always hosted by a major city, different every year – in 2018 it was held by Berlin.

The celebratory programs were around the Brandenburger Tor. A huge crowd gathered there, it took a long time to get into the area of the „Fest” – they took the security precautionary measures very seriously, they looked through everyone’s bag. There were different stages with various concerts and performances, numerous booths with different kinds of foods (you could even find Hungarian lángos as well). Of course, there were stands of many museums, civil initiatives/organizations and companies as well.

My favorite spot was the Silent Disco, where everyone got a headphone, so that was the only way they could hear the music. It was kind of funny watching them from the outside, as they were jumping and dancing around in complete silence.

All in all, I really liked the whole vibe of this event – it was a proper celebration of solidarity and affinities. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Hungarian national holidays as well – I think it’s beautiful and essential to remember our past – even in a kind of gloomy way. What I mean is that it was really an uplifting feeling to see all these people - being together, happy and celebrating.


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Discovering Berlin-December 2018

― The cultural background of the city ―

WARNING: Boring Introvert Content – if you are here for the parties, skip to the end

I arrived to Berlin at the end of September, but my classes only started in the middle of October, so I had around two weeks to discover the German capital, especially the art scene.

Berlin is home to 440 galleries, scores of world-class collections and some 10,000 international artists, it has assumed a pole position on the global artistic circuit. If you are interested in art at all, here is my top 3 favourite venue you should visit:

Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Originally a congress center, now contemporary art exhibition venue. The building has two artificial lake in front of it, there is the Divided Butterfly by Henry Moore in the smaller. When I visited the Haus der Kulturen der Welt The Most Dangerous Game, an exhibition about the movement of the Situationist International took place there.

Hamburger Bahnhof

Originally a railway station, now contemporary art exhibition venue. My favourite parts of the permanent exhibition are the tableaux. Their elements are totally unrelated at first glance, but if you look closely they are linked by the viewers’ visual association.

Carlier Gebauer

A contemporary art gallery. I visited an exhibition of Hélène Delprat’s artworks – mainly canvases and video installations. Her works are kind of tricky – they are „easy” to look at, but they have many layers of meaning. And also they are linked not only by the motifs but thematically as well.

So long story short, for an art-lover like me Berlin is the perfect place to spend time. It’s colorful, unique and constantly changing. There are so many museums and galleries, these six months probably won’t be enough to discover the half of them.

Or… you can always go to a techno club.

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Berlin Wall-Tourist Guide-January 2019

Last week with some of my classmates we decided to discover the famous Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall (in German: Berliner Mauer) was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and finished in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany.

Along the river Spree there is a section of the Berlin Wall which still stands to this day – it is called the „East Side Gallery”. On the Western side are the original and on the Eastern side are the „new” graffiti artworks (during the Cold War the Eastern side of the wall remained empty because of certain regulations.) There are some really fascinating „paintings” on both sides – they are all about freedom and unity.

After visiting the „alternative gallery” our next stop was the Checkpoint Charlie which is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of East and West. Many people lost their lives because they tried to escape to the other side. 

There is a replica of the original cabin, where you can take pictures with the „American soldiers” – it seemed fun, but too „tourist-stuff” for our taste in the same time. Another replica there is a sign, which says „You are entering the American sector” on the Eastern, and „You are leaving the American sector” on the Western side. (There is the Mauermuseum nearby, and I shamefully to admit, I bought a Checkpoint-Charlie themed T-shirt in the museum shop.)

There are a few elements „showcased” of the wall at Potsdamer Platz as well - but you can follow the „lead” of the Berlin Wall all across the German capital: there is a tiny „path” of cobble stones where it had stood.

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How I am coping with Homesickness in Berlin-January 2019

Being an Erasmus student will be probably the biggest and most awesome experience in your life. Hands down. But of course you might have hard times as well, even when you’re having the time of your life. For someone who is as close to their family as me it is especially challenging – even in the era of video chat, you cannot taste your dad’s special teriyaki chicken or watch sports on TV with your mom from the distance. (#genderroles)
It is the first time for me that I’m living completely alone. Being a proper adult for the first time is hard in itself, especially when you are 1000 km away from your home and don’t speak the language. (Yes… I don’t really speak German, shame on me.)

So I had to come up with a few survival strategies:

  • Before I moved to Berlin, I asked my grandparents to write me a letter which I was only going to open if I am feeling really truly down and/or homesick. I’ve already opened them, and they helped a lot. My family means the biggest support in my life.
  • I’m spending the fall semester in Berlin, so the Christmas holiday was at half time of my mobility. I booked my plane ticket back to Hungary for December really early (because it was ridiculously cheap). So every time I felt down I just looked at my calendar and realized, the date of my trip is not that far away.
  • I’m lucky in a sense that one of my classmates came to Berlin for her Erasmus mobility as well. We’re taking the same classes, so it is really helpful – homesickness-wise and in general - that I have someone to talk to in my native language.
  • In Berlin, the Hungarian population is extremely high. The city has a few Hungarian restaurants, and I’ve recently found out about a Hungarian shop called ’Borsó’. So if in the future I’ll crave túrórudi, I know now where to go.
  • And finally: I’m making a list of things that I can only do in Berlin and trying to focus on those. Because since I’m here I want to get the most out of it.

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Me as a tour guide-My parents were coming to town-February 2019

My parents’ second day in Berlin required a bit more time-management because they bus back to Hungary departed at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
After breakfast, we started packing, because I had a lot of stuff I wanted to send back to Hungary early – winter clothes, shoes, documents I won’t need those anymore. It was really useful, because I had way more than what I could fit in my two suitcases, so it will make the process of moving back much easier.

Our first destination on the second day was the East Side Gallery. I’ve already written about it, but I just simply cannot get enough – I had to show this to my mom and dad as well. They took a lot of pictures as we walked along the Berlin Wall, everyone found their favorite graffiti. At a street food booth nearby we had currywurst, which is the most typical Berlin snack you could ever find. Ironically, this was the first time I’ve ever tried it, although I’m living here since October – and boy, was it super-delicious.

After the currywurst, we headed to the famous Checkpoint Charlie. My parents were adorable, they were very enthusiastic – they read basically everything they could on the information boards about this era of history. Again, we took a bunch of pictures – I’ve visited the Checkpoint Charlie at least 5 times already, but it never fails to amaze me. Of course, we visited a few souvenir shops, my mom found suitable little gifts for the family and friends.

Next, after we got home we had a very late lunch together, then we continued with the packing. Around 6 p.m. we left to the bus station. I waited with them until the bus arrived, then we said goodbye. It was a much less hard this time than the first time when I moved here. Maybe because I know that the date of me going back to Hungary is not that far away anymore.

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BERLout-Coming home-February 2019

After my trip to Dresden it was time to pack my things and travel back home.

I’m not going to lie – I thought that moving to a foreign country is stressful, but moving back to Hungary was just as hard. These were really long six months – and at the same time, it felt like a second. However, it was long enough to get attached to the surroundings – the city, the people and of course, the school as well.

I am going to miss the university in Berlin, all of it: the courses, the lecturers and my classmates as well – I made many friends. Before I left, we got together one last time so I got the chance to say goodbye to them properly. I was really sad but I felt grateful as well that I’d met all these great people.

All in all, I feel really lucky that I got this amazing opportunity to live and study abroad for half a year. I experienced much more than I expected. I think that I got more confident and outgoing – it’s much easier for me now to socialize with people. I learned a lot – not only my English skills got improved but the courses in Berlin complemented my studies in Hungary really well.

Although these six months were really hard – and I missed my family lot – I would do it all over again, anytime.

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