Ngan & Phuong

Hi everyone, I am Ngan and currently studying International Business (Marketing) at Karls. I have been a part of Karls since 2019 with my International Foundation Year (IFY) for 1 year before starting my bachelor's journey.  Studying abroad is one of my big dreams, so I would like to seek opportunities for fulfilling my dream. However, the most considerable part is financial statements. By accident, I found Karls as an amazing place where is the most appropriate for my family's budget. Not only did I choose Karls for this reason, but I was also amazed by the international studying environment here. Additionally, Karls is an open university where I easily express my opinions and new ideas. From my point of view, the teachers here are really helpful, and they accompany me on every single journey at Karls. Therefore, being a part of Karls makes me feel warm and has encouragement to explore and strengthen my abilities. Furthermore, being in the heart of Europe leads me to be more adventurous and I can easily get access to a wide range of cities or nations from Karlsruhe. Honestly, studying abroad has changed me a lot, it turns out to be more positive due to the new upcoming every single day. I hope that being one of the Vietnamese ambassadors may assist you in understanding the Karls environment and accompanying you in your new amazing journey as well.  

 

Servus, My name is Phuong and I'm from Nghe An Province, Vietnam.  I have been walking on this exciting path at Karlshochule since September 2019 as a student in the International Foundation Year. Now I am in the first semester of International Business with the specialisation on Intercultural Management. I have to say that, studying at Karls is certainly a turning point in my life. To me, Karls is such an inspiring place where you have chance to study and socialize with people from all walks of life all over the world. Being in this dynamic group of people makes me realize how little I know about the world, but isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to learn about? At Karls, the lectures always operate as interactive classes, lecturers often present a topic and then require us to have open discussion on the topic, we need to give our critical thoughts as well as evaluate a phenomenon from different perspectives. I learn about new ideas and new insights from other fellow students everyday! Furthermore, regarding to the regular groupworks, i feel so thrilled with the process of collecting information, exploring, evaluating the subjects, sharing materials with each others and finally creating something together. I couldn't be more excited to tell you how has my journey been so far and If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me and Ngan, we are looking forward to meeting you all!

Sunshine

By Ngan:

If you ask Asian people (especially Vietnamese) about whether they enjoy sunshine or not, you will receive 99% NO! It does not exclude me. Honestly, I used to hate sunshine until suffering the crazy cold winter in Germany. I gradually realized how much love I have for sunshine here. Thoughts might change time by time and so do I. Now being in Germany I absolutely wish everyday is full of sunshine instead of windy, rainy or even snowy. 

 

You may ask why Vietnamese people hate sunshine? Most people cover their face mask, sun glasses, sun hats, and wear jackets, long trousers or jeans, etc. There are some reasons around this situation, but basically we are scared of being burnt or brown skin. That ‘s why we have to cover our body as much as possible. Besides, Vietnam has tropical weather (the average head amplitude is from 25 to 33ºC), and it is really humid during the year. Furthermore, Vietnam is one of the typical motorbikes/ scooters country, so driving under sunshine is a very big challenge for us without covering long clothes (because it is super hot with the heat from sun and the reflection from roads) 🥵. And absolutely we have no sunbathing culture in Vietnam and we prefer to be in houses with air conditions. When coming to Vietnam, do not be surprised about our “covered culture” during hot days! ☀️

 

However, it seems totally different from the Western culture such as Germany. People love sunshine very much and so do I. At first, I asked myself how people in here are down for sunbathing directly from sunshine, and also with short clothes! And now I can fulfill my curiosity because of my experiences during the first summer in Germany and my suffering from the crazy cold winter. In summer, I wore long jeans on a hot summer day and omg help me! And during 3 more months of winter here, I definitely wished to see sunshine at the beginning of the day and also make me warm when I was outside. I realize how important sunshine is to me. I wish everyday is a nice sunny day and I can go picnic in Schloss Garden or enjoy my positivity from sunshine. It makes me warm and more energetic, so I have to say sunshine has changed me during these days. And of course, I love being under sunshine and enjoy my picnic food, and also wear short clothes to 100% feel sunshine! 

 

My simple cultural difference between Vietnam and Germany may reflect the various views of sunshine. This fact interests me a lot when I have fulfilled my curiosity about this situation. And now spring spirit is coming to town and I definitely enjoy my good vibe with sunshine here! 

 

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A door to enter the world!

By Ngan:

Honestly, I feel lucky when I have had a passport since I was young. At that time, a passport seemed to me just like “a notebook” because I did not use it frequently in my childhood. Therefore, the definition of passport was truly vague for me. Nevertheless, I have realized the power of having a passport for recent years and it has broadened my way to enter the world with an aim to be a “global citizen”. 

 

Passport is definitely essential when you would like to go abroad, isn’t it? I also point a passport as my date 😁 due to one of the most important things which I have to bring along when travelling. I always keep in mind one thing when I asked mom: “Why do we need a passport? I rarely or never use that.” She gradually explained to a questioned-girl: “Just in case you would like to travel abroad immediately, a passport is here for you. Instead of letting the grass grow under your feet, you would be calm to travel easily.” Oh well, she has brought me to the newer definition and encouraged me to explore the new world behind the passport. In 2019, my friends asked me to be their companion on the trip to Cambodia, the trip starts like at the blink of an eye (within a few days to make a decision), of course no worries about passport! Ah yahoo, at that time, I felt much more curious about the world around me, and I was able to feel the differences between two countries in many aspects. Therefore, it was a remarkable trip and it has also encouraged me to be a little Vietnamese ambassador to demonstrate the beauty of Vietnam to the world. 

 

Now, being in Germany and taking a reflection of the previous time, I was reminded by a professor who taught me at university in Vietnam with her questions: “How many people are there in this class who already have a passport?”. A few hands were raising and I was one of those in total 18 students. She immediately told my class to make a passport as soon as possible. Her argument was that a passport is the connection of yourself to Southeast Asian if you are a low budget traveller, go and see how Vietnam stands in this area. I was persuaded by her argument because of the thorough thoughts towards the entering of the modern world. Last year, I received a question about how brave I was to go alone in Europe from a friend who is Italian. She told me that her family has not hesitated about having no passports because travelling around the EU is enough. If you were me, what would you think of?

 

In the fast paced world, our generations are being given much more opportunities to go abroad (for example: exchange programs, conference attending, studying abroad, etc). If you have read the requirements once, I believe that one of those is about having a passport which is available at least 6 months right? From my perspective, I have seen many young Vietnamese have chased their dreams and shared the Vietnamese cultures with the world. It is one of the best ways to approach the definition of “cultures without borders” for Vietnamese and the world. 

 

The further I go, the more mature I am! Being a young Vietnamese, I was given a chance to pursue my dream when I was young, and it lets me grab this opportunity to share with the other students. It is not a short distance, it lasts long but you are not limited to reach the world. One of the best doors is about having your own passport! Just grab this opportunity to enter the intercultural environment and see the world under your eyes!

 

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Journaling for self-care

By Phoung

I want to arrange my thoughts, I note all the messy thoughts down. I want to express my melancholy without bothering anyone, I cry out to my journal. I want to get away from mundane present, I write about the future fantasy. It occurs to me that I only write diary when I feel confused, uncertain, sad and disconnected from life.  

  

In this lockdown, I journal more than ever before. It is not just because there are so many uncertainties and worries in this period of time that I want to express but because I have learned to journal in a different way. I joined a few courses about writing for self-care on "Skillshare" and I realized there are more things I could do with my journal than just writing down my messy thoughts and melancholic stories.   

  

Now, I learn to write to reflect on myself. I write about what brings me joy, I write about all the interactions in my life that make me who I have become, I write about what I am grateful for, I write about my strengths, my weaknesses...I also learn to write to remember my life. I write how joyful and blessed I were when I found a wonderful shelter built by someone in the woods, how the sky was not as blue as the day before, how good I felt when one day I randomly woke up early with full energy. I looked at a tree and I drew it. I picked a leaf, painted on it and imprinted it on my journal. I do 4-quadrant exercise where I write what I did, what I saw, what I heard in a day and then I sketch my day in the last square of the 4 quadrants. For example, I wrote 'made a vegan taco' in the 'I did' quadrant, then I had a quick sketch of it in the 'Doodle' square. I want to remember it all, every detail.   

  

So, instead of waiting for this difficult time to pass, I learn to appreciate every moment and I have my journal to keep all these beautiful little things. There is one quote from the TV series "Anne with an E" that I really like: 'Take notes as you explore your life. It’ll help you make sense of it.'   

 

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TRAVEL ALONG-E EUROPE

By Ngan

Along-e = along + alone. 

I am adventurous. 

I am curious about everything around me. 

I am a seeker who finds the “treasure of life”. Oops, treasure here means “the best experience ever”! 

Travel gives me opportunities to be a seeker as I wish. And travel makes my life better! 

When I was in Vietnam, my parents never let me travel alone. At least, I must travel with friends or with my sister. So it seems hard to have “crazy” ideas to travel alone. I understood that parents are scared of accidents or something bad happens. 

Now, being in my 20s, I finally chase my dream of being along-e in Europe! 

Studying abroad in Germany enables me to travel easily. Actually, I am a “cheap-traveler” which means that I prefer choosing cheap hostels, cheapest means of transport, and cheapest meal as well 😂 (depends on how broke I am). Most of my money is spent on museums. I love seeking new knowledge about history. The same as Phuong - one of my best travel buddies and also co-ambassador at Karls, we love being in a world of history and cultures. We usually spend most of our traveling time in museums, because it brings us tons of information and a step into understanding how miracles are! Or we are inspired by books, articles about the past of various nations around Europe, so we decided to pursue our style of traveling! 

Being in Karlsruhe, I find that it is super easy to get connections with the other neighboring countries such as France, Switzerland, Italia, etc. After only the first 12 days in Germany, I had a day trip to Strasbourg (France) which cost me only 25 EUR (all fee is included). Or I can easily take a 3-hour region train to Konstanz (it is located in the South of Baden-Wüttemberg) and travel to Switzerland within a few steps! OMG, it is much easier than I have ever imagined! Only an available visa, no worries to travel along different borders in a blink of an eye! I love searching transport tickets, whenever finding somewhere else is affordable, I am definitely down for it! It is how I select my dreamed destinations. No barriers in traveling along Europe, it has made me an open mind and seen how sceneric and miraculous the world is! 

Traveling alone is not a problem! As I said, I used to not travel alone until I came to Germany! I believe that life lets me travel as I wish! I prefer traveling with a few people to the large group due to the convenience of a small-sized group. My friends always ask me: “Are you scared of traveling alone?”. Of course, yes but a bit! My curiosity is much bigger than my scareness! I choose to travel alone because most of my friends here do not have the same free time as mine, or I love being alone in the museums and moving as much as possible (I believe that they hardly catch my speed of traveling 😂). Sometimes I feel relieved when being alone and breathing my own heaven! There are both pros and cons of traveling alone and I cannot avoid this. Nonetheless, I feel myself more mature and learn more things than ever! 

Setting foot on many destinations in Europe is one of my targets when studying abroad, so along and alone is not problematic! 

“Đi một ngày đàng, học một sàng khôn” - mình thích câu nói này và nó là động lực để mình đi thiệt nhiều! 

 

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Sunshine

By Ngan:

If you ask Asian people (especially Vietnamese) about whether they enjoy sunshine or not, you will receive 99% NO! It does not exclude me. Honestly, I used to hate sunshine until suffering the crazy cold winter in Germany. I gradually realized how much love I have for sunshine here. Thoughts might change time by time and so do I. Now being in Germany I absolutely wish everyday is full of sunshine instead of windy, rainy or even snowy. 

 

You may ask why Vietnamese people hate sunshine? Most people cover their face mask, sun glasses, sun hats, and wear jackets, long trousers or jeans, etc. There are some reasons around this situation, but basically we are scared of being burnt or brown skin. That ‘s why we have to cover our body as much as possible. Besides, Vietnam has tropical weather (the average head amplitude is from 25 to 33ºC), and it is really humid during the year. Furthermore, Vietnam is one of the typical motorbikes/ scooters country, so driving under sunshine is a very big challenge for us without covering long clothes (because it is super hot with the heat from sun and the reflection from roads) 🥵. And absolutely we have no sunbathing culture in Vietnam and we prefer to be in houses with air conditions. When coming to Vietnam, do not be surprised about our “covered culture” during hot days! ☀️

 

However, it seems totally different from the Western culture such as Germany. People love sunshine very much and so do I. At first, I asked myself how people in here are down for sunbathing directly from sunshine, and also with short clothes! And now I can fulfill my curiosity because of my experiences during the first summer in Germany and my suffering from the crazy cold winter. In summer, I wore long jeans on a hot summer day and omg help me! And during 3 more months of winter here, I definitely wished to see sunshine at the beginning of the day and also make me warm when I was outside. I realize how important sunshine is to me. I wish everyday is a nice sunny day and I can go picnic in Schloss Garden or enjoy my positivity from sunshine. It makes me warm and more energetic, so I have to say sunshine has changed me during these days. And of course, I love being under sunshine and enjoy my picnic food, and also wear short clothes to 100% feel sunshine! 

 

My simple cultural difference between Vietnam and Germany may reflect the various views of sunshine. This fact interests me a lot when I have fulfilled my curiosity about this situation. And now spring spirit is coming to town and I definitely enjoy my good vibe with sunshine here! 

 

ctrl-down
A door to enter the world!

By Ngan:

Honestly, I feel lucky when I have had a passport since I was young. At that time, a passport seemed to me just like “a notebook” because I did not use it frequently in my childhood. Therefore, the definition of passport was truly vague for me. Nevertheless, I have realized the power of having a passport for recent years and it has broadened my way to enter the world with an aim to be a “global citizen”. 

 

Passport is definitely essential when you would like to go abroad, isn’t it? I also point a passport as my date 😁 due to one of the most important things which I have to bring along when travelling. I always keep in mind one thing when I asked mom: “Why do we need a passport? I rarely or never use that.” She gradually explained to a questioned-girl: “Just in case you would like to travel abroad immediately, a passport is here for you. Instead of letting the grass grow under your feet, you would be calm to travel easily.” Oh well, she has brought me to the newer definition and encouraged me to explore the new world behind the passport. In 2019, my friends asked me to be their companion on the trip to Cambodia, the trip starts like at the blink of an eye (within a few days to make a decision), of course no worries about passport! Ah yahoo, at that time, I felt much more curious about the world around me, and I was able to feel the differences between two countries in many aspects. Therefore, it was a remarkable trip and it has also encouraged me to be a little Vietnamese ambassador to demonstrate the beauty of Vietnam to the world. 

 

Now, being in Germany and taking a reflection of the previous time, I was reminded by a professor who taught me at university in Vietnam with her questions: “How many people are there in this class who already have a passport?”. A few hands were raising and I was one of those in total 18 students. She immediately told my class to make a passport as soon as possible. Her argument was that a passport is the connection of yourself to Southeast Asian if you are a low budget traveller, go and see how Vietnam stands in this area. I was persuaded by her argument because of the thorough thoughts towards the entering of the modern world. Last year, I received a question about how brave I was to go alone in Europe from a friend who is Italian. She told me that her family has not hesitated about having no passports because travelling around the EU is enough. If you were me, what would you think of?

 

In the fast paced world, our generations are being given much more opportunities to go abroad (for example: exchange programs, conference attending, studying abroad, etc). If you have read the requirements once, I believe that one of those is about having a passport which is available at least 6 months right? From my perspective, I have seen many young Vietnamese have chased their dreams and shared the Vietnamese cultures with the world. It is one of the best ways to approach the definition of “cultures without borders” for Vietnamese and the world. 

 

The further I go, the more mature I am! Being a young Vietnamese, I was given a chance to pursue my dream when I was young, and it lets me grab this opportunity to share with the other students. It is not a short distance, it lasts long but you are not limited to reach the world. One of the best doors is about having your own passport! Just grab this opportunity to enter the intercultural environment and see the world under your eyes!

 

ctrl-down
Journaling for self-care

By Phoung

I want to arrange my thoughts, I note all the messy thoughts down. I want to express my melancholy without bothering anyone, I cry out to my journal. I want to get away from mundane present, I write about the future fantasy. It occurs to me that I only write diary when I feel confused, uncertain, sad and disconnected from life.  

  

In this lockdown, I journal more than ever before. It is not just because there are so many uncertainties and worries in this period of time that I want to express but because I have learned to journal in a different way. I joined a few courses about writing for self-care on "Skillshare" and I realized there are more things I could do with my journal than just writing down my messy thoughts and melancholic stories.   

  

Now, I learn to write to reflect on myself. I write about what brings me joy, I write about all the interactions in my life that make me who I have become, I write about what I am grateful for, I write about my strengths, my weaknesses...I also learn to write to remember my life. I write how joyful and blessed I were when I found a wonderful shelter built by someone in the woods, how the sky was not as blue as the day before, how good I felt when one day I randomly woke up early with full energy. I looked at a tree and I drew it. I picked a leaf, painted on it and imprinted it on my journal. I do 4-quadrant exercise where I write what I did, what I saw, what I heard in a day and then I sketch my day in the last square of the 4 quadrants. For example, I wrote 'made a vegan taco' in the 'I did' quadrant, then I had a quick sketch of it in the 'Doodle' square. I want to remember it all, every detail.   

  

So, instead of waiting for this difficult time to pass, I learn to appreciate every moment and I have my journal to keep all these beautiful little things. There is one quote from the TV series "Anne with an E" that I really like: 'Take notes as you explore your life. It’ll help you make sense of it.'   

 

ctrl-down
TRAVEL ALONG-E EUROPE

By Ngan

Along-e = along + alone. 

I am adventurous. 

I am curious about everything around me. 

I am a seeker who finds the “treasure of life”. Oops, treasure here means “the best experience ever”! 

Travel gives me opportunities to be a seeker as I wish. And travel makes my life better! 

When I was in Vietnam, my parents never let me travel alone. At least, I must travel with friends or with my sister. So it seems hard to have “crazy” ideas to travel alone. I understood that parents are scared of accidents or something bad happens. 

Now, being in my 20s, I finally chase my dream of being along-e in Europe! 

Studying abroad in Germany enables me to travel easily. Actually, I am a “cheap-traveler” which means that I prefer choosing cheap hostels, cheapest means of transport, and cheapest meal as well 😂 (depends on how broke I am). Most of my money is spent on museums. I love seeking new knowledge about history. The same as Phuong - one of my best travel buddies and also co-ambassador at Karls, we love being in a world of history and cultures. We usually spend most of our traveling time in museums, because it brings us tons of information and a step into understanding how miracles are! Or we are inspired by books, articles about the past of various nations around Europe, so we decided to pursue our style of traveling! 

Being in Karlsruhe, I find that it is super easy to get connections with the other neighboring countries such as France, Switzerland, Italia, etc. After only the first 12 days in Germany, I had a day trip to Strasbourg (France) which cost me only 25 EUR (all fee is included). Or I can easily take a 3-hour region train to Konstanz (it is located in the South of Baden-Wüttemberg) and travel to Switzerland within a few steps! OMG, it is much easier than I have ever imagined! Only an available visa, no worries to travel along different borders in a blink of an eye! I love searching transport tickets, whenever finding somewhere else is affordable, I am definitely down for it! It is how I select my dreamed destinations. No barriers in traveling along Europe, it has made me an open mind and seen how sceneric and miraculous the world is! 

Traveling alone is not a problem! As I said, I used to not travel alone until I came to Germany! I believe that life lets me travel as I wish! I prefer traveling with a few people to the large group due to the convenience of a small-sized group. My friends always ask me: “Are you scared of traveling alone?”. Of course, yes but a bit! My curiosity is much bigger than my scareness! I choose to travel alone because most of my friends here do not have the same free time as mine, or I love being alone in the museums and moving as much as possible (I believe that they hardly catch my speed of traveling 😂). Sometimes I feel relieved when being alone and breathing my own heaven! There are both pros and cons of traveling alone and I cannot avoid this. Nonetheless, I feel myself more mature and learn more things than ever! 

Setting foot on many destinations in Europe is one of my targets when studying abroad, so along and alone is not problematic! 

“Đi một ngày đàng, học một sàng khôn” - mình thích câu nói này và nó là động lực để mình đi thiệt nhiều! 

 

ctrl-down
Sunshine

By Ngan:

If you ask Asian people (especially Vietnamese) about whether they enjoy sunshine or not, you will receive 99% NO! It does not exclude me. Honestly, I used to hate sunshine until suffering the crazy cold winter in Germany. I gradually realized how much love I have for sunshine here. Thoughts might change time by time and so do I. Now being in Germany I absolutely wish everyday is full of sunshine instead of windy, rainy or even snowy. 

 

You may ask why Vietnamese people hate sunshine? Most people cover their face mask, sun glasses, sun hats, and wear jackets, long trousers or jeans, etc. There are some reasons around this situation, but basically we are scared of being burnt or brown skin. That ‘s why we have to cover our body as much as possible. Besides, Vietnam has tropical weather (the average head amplitude is from 25 to 33ºC), and it is really humid during the year. Furthermore, Vietnam is one of the typical motorbikes/ scooters country, so driving under sunshine is a very big challenge for us without covering long clothes (because it is super hot with the heat from sun and the reflection from roads) 🥵. And absolutely we have no sunbathing culture in Vietnam and we prefer to be in houses with air conditions. When coming to Vietnam, do not be surprised about our “covered culture” during hot days! ☀️

 

However, it seems totally different from the Western culture such as Germany. People love sunshine very much and so do I. At first, I asked myself how people in here are down for sunbathing directly from sunshine, and also with short clothes! And now I can fulfill my curiosity because of my experiences during the first summer in Germany and my suffering from the crazy cold winter. In summer, I wore long jeans on a hot summer day and omg help me! And during 3 more months of winter here, I definitely wished to see sunshine at the beginning of the day and also make me warm when I was outside. I realize how important sunshine is to me. I wish everyday is a nice sunny day and I can go picnic in Schloss Garden or enjoy my positivity from sunshine. It makes me warm and more energetic, so I have to say sunshine has changed me during these days. And of course, I love being under sunshine and enjoy my picnic food, and also wear short clothes to 100% feel sunshine! 

 

My simple cultural difference between Vietnam and Germany may reflect the various views of sunshine. This fact interests me a lot when I have fulfilled my curiosity about this situation. And now spring spirit is coming to town and I definitely enjoy my good vibe with sunshine here! 

 

ctrl-down
My first summer break in Germany and the journey to German history

By Phoung

Here I am in the second lockdown recalling historical places I’ve been to in my first summer vacation in Germany. It was Nürnberg where the imperial castle of Holy Roman Empire based. It was Berlin – the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and later on of German Empire. It was München where Hitler began his political careers, where the Beer Hall Putsch took place and failed. It was Nürnberg where the National Socialists staged their vast marching procession. It was Berlin where Hitler committed suicide. It was Nürnberg again where the Nuremberg Trials were held after world war II for the prosecution of prominent members of Nazi Germany. Then, It was Berlin where the Berlin Wall was erected. And now, It is Berlin, the capital of united Germany.

Honestly speaking, I really appreciate the way how Germany deals with its past : many historical museums and Memorial Sites are free to public; things that are small but meaningful like ‚Stolpersteine‘ which are stumbling stones inscribed with the names of the Nazis‘ victims, they are placed in front of the houses from where the victims have been deported; Students are taken on school tours to museums and Places of Remembrance as part of their curricular activities. On my way to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Site, I was so impressed to notice that Brandenburg University of Applied Police Sciences is located on the ground of the former SS camp. There I saw the sign which says the main educational objective of the University is commitment to the primary principle of the basic law: Human dignity shall be inviolable. During their studies, students learn about the history of what happened there and the crimes committed by the police under the National Socialist regime.

For me, travelling to a place is the chance to learn and understand about its culture and history. Reflecting upon this thrilling journey, I feel like I somehow indeed got on the time machine and traced back to many different milestones in German history. Of course, what I have learnt so far about it, is just a small portion in the vast sea of knowledge. However, isn‘t it true what matters at the end of the day is that you learn and understand more than you did the day before? To me, it is such an enlightened state of mind when understanding the things that I just vaguely knew before and then being able to connect them all together. And since there are many things to learn and memorize along the way, I always carry with myself my travelling notebook. I simply put things down in the shortest words, then organise and dig down into them later when being back home. Since I got all the notes and the questions down, the learning journey continues after every trip. First, I have a look at what I have written and arrange those areas of knowledge in different historical phases chronologically. I then search for more information and write down one more time as a way to remember and understand deeply. So far, I find this method of learning when travelling really works for me and I just hope the pandemic will be over really soon so that I could hit the road again and embrace my knowledge!

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2020/01/09
The Festive Hype.

This year is the second time that I celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Germany. And only this year that I realize

Firstly, (I think) this is the first time that I really celebrate New Year's Eve in the right way. We have a small party - we had "Raclette" - the melted cheese with customizable variety of vegetable and meat, we drank "Sekt" - the sparkling wine, we played some boardgame, we watched "Dinner for One" and drank whenever the man said "same procedure", and we went out to see (play!) the fireworks. Back in Vietnam, in New Year's Eve, there is one or two certain spots that the government will put on the fireworks show properly and it is illegal for individuals to set off fireworks. So, playing with fireworks on my own here in Germany is also put in my First-time ever list. 

Secondly, yes the Festive Hype! I indeed didn't notice it last year. But this year, I understand what's people called Christmas fever - The feeling of not wanting to do anything but just waiting for the Christmas and new year holiday. I get it this year! And for me, it is even worse. As a Vietnamese (and I think it might be the same with any Asian students whose there country still celebrate Lunar New Year, who live and learn in another country), the Festive Hype is longer than that...

This year the first day in the lunar year is the 25th of January, and while in here - Germany, everyone starts working again, everything is fresh and ready, people in Vietnam start to prepare for the Lunar New Year. And just to let you know, Lunar New Year for us is just like a combination of Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving rolled into one! How we celebrate it? Wait for my next two posts this month! 

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2019/12/05
Weihnachtsmarkt!

Christmas is in the AIR! So this is my second Christmas in Germany. And someone said: “Nobody in Germany should come and leave Germany without a visit to one of the Christmas markets” – Yes. Christmas Market German-Style is a-thing you should not miss. 😉 What is waiting for you at a Christmas market? 

Food and drink take account of the fact that these markets, contrary to all logic, are held outdoors in the middle of winter. It leans to roasted chestnuts, hot sausages and hot spiced wine (Glühwein)

The stands, which also feature handcrafted items, ceramics, and wooden items, are where I think you could learn best about German culture.

Entertainment, this is I think usually around 5 p.m. and not every Christmas market has, can include choral serenades or trombone recitals from a balcony overlooking the scene.

A lot of children… (I meant a lot of stands specified for Children!) The eyes of excited, cherry-cheeked children, bundled in winter clothes, light up at the sight of the treasures they see. Toys, Christmas tree ornaments, and the candy are piled high in the rows of wooden stands hung with evergreen boughs and lights.

And more importantly, Christmas markets open also on Sunday, like, every Sunday in December! (Which is, trust me, really a big deal in Germany…)

 P.s: Here is Weihnachtsmarkt in Karlsruhe and I proudly introduce my “survival kit” in Germany – the two helping me to “survive” during this Wintertime.    

I am so sorry if this post is boring, because....I come from a country where there is not Christmas market at all. However, I can see a similar pattern of Christmas time and our Vietnamese “TET” (Lunar New Year) – which I will tell you in another post later. See you! 

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Journaling for self-care

By Phoung

I want to arrange my thoughts, I note all the messy thoughts down. I want to express my melancholy without bothering anyone, I cry out to my journal. I want to get away from mundane present, I write about the future fantasy. It occurs to me that I only write diary when I feel confused, uncertain, sad and disconnected from life.  

  

In this lockdown, I journal more than ever before. It is not just because there are so many uncertainties and worries in this period of time that I want to express but because I have learned to journal in a different way. I joined a few courses about writing for self-care on "Skillshare" and I realized there are more things I could do with my journal than just writing down my messy thoughts and melancholic stories.   

  

Now, I learn to write to reflect on myself. I write about what brings me joy, I write about all the interactions in my life that make me who I have become, I write about what I am grateful for, I write about my strengths, my weaknesses...I also learn to write to remember my life. I write how joyful and blessed I were when I found a wonderful shelter built by someone in the woods, how the sky was not as blue as the day before, how good I felt when one day I randomly woke up early with full energy. I looked at a tree and I drew it. I picked a leaf, painted on it and imprinted it on my journal. I do 4-quadrant exercise where I write what I did, what I saw, what I heard in a day and then I sketch my day in the last square of the 4 quadrants. For example, I wrote 'made a vegan taco' in the 'I did' quadrant, then I had a quick sketch of it in the 'Doodle' square. I want to remember it all, every detail.   

  

So, instead of waiting for this difficult time to pass, I learn to appreciate every moment and I have my journal to keep all these beautiful little things. There is one quote from the TV series "Anne with an E" that I really like: 'Take notes as you explore your life. It’ll help you make sense of it.'   

 

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TRAVEL ALONG-E EUROPE

By Ngan

Along-e = along + alone. 

I am adventurous. 

I am curious about everything around me. 

I am a seeker who finds the “treasure of life”. Oops, treasure here means “the best experience ever”! 

Travel gives me opportunities to be a seeker as I wish. And travel makes my life better! 

When I was in Vietnam, my parents never let me travel alone. At least, I must travel with friends or with my sister. So it seems hard to have “crazy” ideas to travel alone. I understood that parents are scared of accidents or something bad happens. 

Now, being in my 20s, I finally chase my dream of being along-e in Europe! 

Studying abroad in Germany enables me to travel easily. Actually, I am a “cheap-traveler” which means that I prefer choosing cheap hostels, cheapest means of transport, and cheapest meal as well 😂 (depends on how broke I am). Most of my money is spent on museums. I love seeking new knowledge about history. The same as Phuong - one of my best travel buddies and also co-ambassador at Karls, we love being in a world of history and cultures. We usually spend most of our traveling time in museums, because it brings us tons of information and a step into understanding how miracles are! Or we are inspired by books, articles about the past of various nations around Europe, so we decided to pursue our style of traveling! 

Being in Karlsruhe, I find that it is super easy to get connections with the other neighboring countries such as France, Switzerland, Italia, etc. After only the first 12 days in Germany, I had a day trip to Strasbourg (France) which cost me only 25 EUR (all fee is included). Or I can easily take a 3-hour region train to Konstanz (it is located in the South of Baden-Wüttemberg) and travel to Switzerland within a few steps! OMG, it is much easier than I have ever imagined! Only an available visa, no worries to travel along different borders in a blink of an eye! I love searching transport tickets, whenever finding somewhere else is affordable, I am definitely down for it! It is how I select my dreamed destinations. No barriers in traveling along Europe, it has made me an open mind and seen how sceneric and miraculous the world is! 

Traveling alone is not a problem! As I said, I used to not travel alone until I came to Germany! I believe that life lets me travel as I wish! I prefer traveling with a few people to the large group due to the convenience of a small-sized group. My friends always ask me: “Are you scared of traveling alone?”. Of course, yes but a bit! My curiosity is much bigger than my scareness! I choose to travel alone because most of my friends here do not have the same free time as mine, or I love being alone in the museums and moving as much as possible (I believe that they hardly catch my speed of traveling 😂). Sometimes I feel relieved when being alone and breathing my own heaven! There are both pros and cons of traveling alone and I cannot avoid this. Nonetheless, I feel myself more mature and learn more things than ever! 

Setting foot on many destinations in Europe is one of my targets when studying abroad, so along and alone is not problematic! 

“Đi một ngày đàng, học một sàng khôn” - mình thích câu nói này và nó là động lực để mình đi thiệt nhiều! 

 

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My first summer break in Germany and the journey to German history

By Phoung

Here I am in the second lockdown recalling historical places I’ve been to in my first summer vacation in Germany. It was Nürnberg where the imperial castle of Holy Roman Empire based. It was Berlin – the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and later on of German Empire. It was München where Hitler began his political careers, where the Beer Hall Putsch took place and failed. It was Nürnberg where the National Socialists staged their vast marching procession. It was Berlin where Hitler committed suicide. It was Nürnberg again where the Nuremberg Trials were held after world war II for the prosecution of prominent members of Nazi Germany. Then, It was Berlin where the Berlin Wall was erected. And now, It is Berlin, the capital of united Germany.

Honestly speaking, I really appreciate the way how Germany deals with its past : many historical museums and Memorial Sites are free to public; things that are small but meaningful like ‚Stolpersteine‘ which are stumbling stones inscribed with the names of the Nazis‘ victims, they are placed in front of the houses from where the victims have been deported; Students are taken on school tours to museums and Places of Remembrance as part of their curricular activities. On my way to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Site, I was so impressed to notice that Brandenburg University of Applied Police Sciences is located on the ground of the former SS camp. There I saw the sign which says the main educational objective of the University is commitment to the primary principle of the basic law: Human dignity shall be inviolable. During their studies, students learn about the history of what happened there and the crimes committed by the police under the National Socialist regime.

For me, travelling to a place is the chance to learn and understand about its culture and history. Reflecting upon this thrilling journey, I feel like I somehow indeed got on the time machine and traced back to many different milestones in German history. Of course, what I have learnt so far about it, is just a small portion in the vast sea of knowledge. However, isn‘t it true what matters at the end of the day is that you learn and understand more than you did the day before? To me, it is such an enlightened state of mind when understanding the things that I just vaguely knew before and then being able to connect them all together. And since there are many things to learn and memorize along the way, I always carry with myself my travelling notebook. I simply put things down in the shortest words, then organise and dig down into them later when being back home. Since I got all the notes and the questions down, the learning journey continues after every trip. First, I have a look at what I have written and arrange those areas of knowledge in different historical phases chronologically. I then search for more information and write down one more time as a way to remember and understand deeply. So far, I find this method of learning when travelling really works for me and I just hope the pandemic will be over really soon so that I could hit the road again and embrace my knowledge!

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2019/10/28
Criticize the Criticism.

 (Sorry for another #throwback post)

One of the good things of being a student in Germany (and in Karlshochschule) is that, you have the chances to attend a lot of events/concert/conferences… easily (and sometimes free). Last month, I have the chance to participate IAA 2019.

To be honest, I am not into cars industry (Vietnam is a scooter-country, you know, even worse…). I only personally get attracted by Artificial Intelligence while doing a research for one of my Master modules, especially how AI could support in finding a better mobility solution for urban and cosmopolitan areas. Besides, coming from an extremely fast-growing sharing-economy mediated by a rapid advance of SaaS but also facing the problems of fast urbanization such as heavy traffic jam, I am curious about some of the discussion at IAA as well. Is MaaS is the new future? and how to know if a city is ready for that (and if not, what should do to make it ready)?

But that is not the thing I remember most with IAA. That is, when the Internatonal Office sent out the free-tickets email. Immediately, one student replied to that email to the whole university “as a direct response to the IAA, a broad alliance of civil society organizations hosts a variety of rallies, protests and forums for discussions…” (Just to let you know, cars industry is under huge criticism here in Germany)

So I know, at least at the Karls (I am not German, I live only here in Karlsruhe and learn only here in Karlshochschule), I feel safe and I know it is ok to criticize things. And even it is also ok to criticize the criticism.   

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2020/03/19
Online Classes!

So this is the first week that The Karls "goes online". How are your experiences? To me, I did see how much effort that the University has put and prepared for this online scenario. The good thing is that we are not necessarily delayed the classes. Even with some modules, there are changes need to be adjusted but in general, we can still keep up with the learning pace. However, besides technical issues related, for me, the realtime-direct-interaction and discussion, which a.k.a the unique of the Karls, is something that cannot be transferred online 100% and I really miss it. 

In such an extraordinary situation, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is to be empathetic. Normal learning settings/environments would encourage or endorse some typical types of characters (for example: introvert vs. extrovert). This online (and inside) situation is also the same. Some are techie, some are not (disregard how young you are!); some can cope with the change fast, some slow; some can speak during class but cannot really say anything during online class, some need to "see" and "feel" to discuss, not to only "listen" and "speak". 

Be patient, be empathetic. Maybe you can discover your classmates' special ability - to productively work and study during this situation ;)

Stay healthy and stay safe (and stay inside ;) )

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2020/03/09
A new Semester begins!

So, we are back to school and I just finished the first week of the new Semester. in this third Master Semester, we are already considered "Senior" now since the "New generation" has already been here.

At this first week, we - "the senior" ones - have the chance to meet and greet all of them - "the fresh" ones. We are halfway through on our journeys and they just start. Meeting them reminded me a lots about me in the very first weeks being here at Karlshochschule. 

It is interesting to see those, who actually just like us a year ago - many coming from different corners of this globe and now starting their whole new journey here in Germany. They will have 2 years in their life to live and experience in another country, to learn how to adapt in a whole new "concept" ("Re-design" life is also a way of saying) with a different language, different culture with different norms and rules in general - and in more specific, without the comfort zone with friends and relatives. There would be ups and downs that you have to face completely individually. That is challenging but exciting (and even a bit scary) at the same time. It's too soon to say anything - I just want to wish you a good journey, come with who you really are and absorb as much as you can (but collectively). 

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2020/02/25
My 3 tips to survive at the Karls

My second semester with Master class has just ended some days ago (with a final essay submission…). As some people asked me how it is as a Karls student, and even though I am not doing great great great, I could give you some of my tips. 

  • Taking Academic Writing class. Talking a bit about my background, I am not a native English speaker, not even growing up or learning in a well-teaching English environment. My Bachelor is courses-based and required no Bachelor thesis to graduate (I learned 6 extra modules instead of doing the thesis). So, you understand how it was for me facing essays or academic research papers at Karls. I found it is extremely helpful taking Academic Writing class, especially for me and some people already took my pieces of advice. The course helps you to organize the ideas, choose and use the right academic vocabulary, build up proper argumentative structures and use linking words for more coherent paragraphs and cohesive texts (and also how to refer to sources properly…). 
  • Read. Read. Read. I think this is an overused-advice. But I need to address it again. Maybe that friend you find so bright, so informative, so knowledgeable – though he or she said “oh I just knew it” or “Oh, I didn’t even learn or read about it” – has to read a lot at home too. 😉 
  • Groupwork is un-avoidable. I am not a fan of group work, to be honest. But it is un-avoidable – No I didn’t mean at the Karls, I meant in working life. In time, I learned to work with people having not only different strengths but also working styles. You, as a team, need to accept it and have to find the balance between the group to deliver the most capable resultNot the best result. It is only the most capable result. Accept it. And accepting the fact that is also one of the successful goals of group work. 

I know it might cliché to some of you who come from a maybe better educational background. This is just how I, indeed, have survived during the last 2+ semesters and I hope these would be helpful for someone. :D 

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2019/11/18
Pan-Asian Identity?

"Global citizen" is a strongly increasing concept in recent years in Vietnam. However, the more I live here in Germany, get to know more people in Karlshochschule (which is nearly 50% are international), and some friends of my friends from other cities and regions around Germany, I realize that "global citizen" is a concept that me - a Vietnamese student who learns 100% in English in Germany - cannot really relate. 

I was confused all the time if something happens and I took any action - whether that action (or decision or even thinking behind it) comes from me - as a Vietnamese who carries all of Vietnamese background and culture with me? or as an Asian in general because we did share some common patterns? or it not really from both of it - it is just my personality? People talk a lot about Asian stereotypes - good at maths, shy, don't like to talk, traditional, skinny, look like 12 years old... - and others talk about "No, we are not your Asian stereotypes!". That is where I feel confused because I am exactly that stereotypes - I am good at Maths (because my major in high school is Maths...), I really don't like to speak (and don't talk about presentation, I hate it too), I am traditional and conservative, skinny...

And then people also talk about Westcentricism then Eurocentric or Eurocentrism, then the Raise of East Asian and ASEAN way... Well, not to mention my two best friends here at the Uni are Indian and Turkish, I also met a Korean whom I can share things and we are good friends since we found a lot of things in common - not only the habits but also the thinking toward things. And I and two other Taiwanese friends also called it a date as we celebrate this Lunar new year together this year. So maybe Pan-Asian is a thing? Is it also considered as an Identity?

I used to be afraid of confusion. Being confused is not good. Being confused means you are losing yourself. But I don't know how it is with the others, a big thing I learned here at the Karls is: it is OK to be confused. Being confused means you care and you didn't take things as simple as how it looks like. Being confused encourages me to read and explore more about it - (this is when I found Pan-Asia articles, surprised ;) ).

Nationality may indicate the home-country or state of one, but it is an essentialist or static representation of one’s background and does not take into account the changing nature of identity shaped by the experiences and world-views of one. And I believe generally just by traveling the world for a while, you cannot really have a real sense about "identity". I believe if you feel it enough, at the end of the day, you will define somewhere you belong proudly - even it is somewhere "in-between" or "hybrid-space" whatever it's called, but it would not be "global". 

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#Instagram

#KarlsAmbassadorVietnam
#karlsambassadorsrussia
#KarlsAmbassadorsBrazil
#KarlsAmbassadorVietnam
The Karls-People

In Germany, students call each other ‘Kommilitonen’ – this is based on a Latin term that means something like ‘fellow combatants’. And that’s exactly how it really is: At Karls, I feel like I'm surrounded by people who are working for the same things and want to stand up for what’s right together. The professors, staff and other students are inspired by the idea of creating something bigger – committed to the environment, sustainability and a better world. That's why I don’t feel like there are any hierarchies here. I can chat with my professors as easily as with my roommate. I can confidently say: The people here are the ones who have made Karlsruhe a second home for me.

The Karls-Philosophy

Karls has developed its own constructivist philosophy and didactics. The exact wording can be found on karlshochschule.de. But I can tell you in my own words how this philosophy feels to me and how it has become tangible in my life. Put briefly: At Karls, I can let myself and my ideas blossom. I can incorporate my knowledge, my ideals and my expectations and deepen them in a lively dialogue with my fellow students. My ideas are taken seriously here – I learn from my professors, of course, but my professors also learn from me. Instead of a strict curriculum and tons of theoretical knowledge, at Karls, I am given a wide range of information that I can structure however I want, and many opportunities to try it out in practice.

The Karls-Education

When I arrive at Karls in the morning, I overhear scraps of conversation between my classmates in English, German, French, Spanish and many other languages. It is precisely this open intercultural exchange that also shapes the experience of studying at Karls. Here, it’s totally normal for your course of study to cross the boundaries between disciplines. For example, it’s simply a matter of course for economists to be concerned with topics such as sustainability, environmental conservation and social justice. Conversely, sociologists at Karls are developing business models that will change the way we understand management. There’s no question that the idea of a language barrier is unimportant at the Karlshochschule. Most of the courses take place in English, and learning German is on the curriculum from day one.

Management

What should our future look like? How do we want to manage tomorrow? In the Management degree program, you will learn to take responsibility for a complex world in which negotiating skills are just as important as understanding and empathy. The pop-up menu gives you more information about your specialization options.

International Business

If you do not want to conceive of economics merely as a game of numbers, but instead want to understand and apply economic questions in an intercultural context, then you’ve come to the right place. You can design your own course of studies and specialize in three different areas.

Society

The world needs not only doers, but also thinkers. People who write the rules of the future and act as protagonists on the international political and economic stage. In these four courses of study in the field of ‘Society’, you’ll get exactly the know-how you need.

Management (M.A.)

The reality of economics and business is negotiated again and again between those involved in it. There are no universal truths, but rather well-functioning viewpoints. This is exactly what the course of studies conveys: Here, students and teachers work together on cultural and social science topics and apply them to management practice.

Spezialisierungen

Would you like to enter the creative industry or set up your own start-up? Do you want to make a difference in the political system of your country or, as the person in charge of an NGO, foster social change? Whatever your vision is: The Master's program offers you six different specializations from which you can choose two – so you can tailor your studies to your exact goals.

„The interconnectedness of modules within and across semesters is stunning. This Master’s is definitively about ‚Rethinking Management‘ and requires engagement on the brink of my comfort zone.“

Mischa Burmester,

Alumnus Master of Management

Conditions

At Karls, we know that grades are not everything. Here, what counts above all is a person’s commitment and the values that define them – and that cannot be measured. The most important thing about your online application is therefore your letter of motivation. This is your chance to show us who you are and why you are a good fit for Karls. Karls is an officially accredited university and must adhere to the rules of the German registration authorities in the application process: Therefore, another prerequisite is a recognized secondary-school degree in Germany.

Help Center

I've put together a bunch of PDFs for most countries on the South American continent. Here you will find a step-by-step checklist for your journey to Karls – from your letter of motivation to how to apply for grants and scholarships and even the application form for a visa. Also, the exact requirements for your education are in the PDF for your country or your region. In addition, you will find in the PDF the contact details of the most important contact persons, e.g. your consulate or embassy. If at any point you feel unsure – don’t worry: I'm here for you.

Download PDF
International Foundation Year

Are you thinking ‘Karls is exactly what I want for my life’, but unfortunately are missing the appropriate degree? Maybe you also have a very good school diploma, but it is not recognized by the German registration authorities? Don’t despair! Many of my fellow students once felt the same way. The solution for you might be the Foundation Year: Within a year, you will learn all the necessary content and then take an exam. This means you’ll meet the admission requirements and can enrol at Karls. Wondering if a Foundation Year is also for you? Write to me and I'll explain everything else, including where and when you can do it.

Do you have further questions about Karls or your studies? Then just write me. I will be at your side with words and deeds and look forward to hear from you.

Karls-FAQ

https://karlshochschule.de/en/faq/

Ambassador (by me)

The Answer is... NO but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

At Karlshochschule, both Master and Bachelor programs don't require any level of German before you attend. In Karlsruhe, an (quite) international students friendly city, you can still survice without any German. However, it's still highly recommended that you know at least basic (or even intermediate and advanced) German. This would really really helpful for your first time being here from finding the room, city registration and any other things. 

And to be honest, I had only A1 German level with me when I were here 1 year ago, well, It's not something big but it really helped in term of...not fearing all the super long Name of streets and Documents here. 

In the long run, to live and to experience Germany at the fullest (and I think it's the same with any cities or countries), it is a must to improve your German to make your life here easier, to find job, to communicate with anyone you met.

In Karlsruhe specifically, there is a large English-speaking expat community, not just from the U.K. but also Ireland, South Africa, Australia, U.S, Canada and New Zealand. There is a total of 5 Irish Pubs in Karlsruhe which all have a variety of events such as: Pub Quizzes’, Live music, speaking tandem tables (Stammtisch), Sprach Café, several Facebook groups and forums for British ex-pats in Germany. Working in an Irish Bar whilst studying at the Karls gave me the opportunities to meet like-minded people in the same situation as me. This the nice aspect about moving away and can really help when being away from home. 

Specifically, there is also a quite huge Vietnamese student community in Karlsruhe - from KIT University.

While studying, a lot of our students also work part-time, whether it be as a student assistant at Karlshochschule, in the KarlsCafé or in one of the local shops, bars and cafés in the city center. International students may hold a part-time job to support their financial means but can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week as a working student “Werkstudenten”. 

During the semester break you may work for more than 20 hours per week, if the job is scheduled for a short period of time (two months / 50 work days).

Luckily, I worked in Vietnam project and also coordinate in International marketing at the University (since I have worked in similar jobs before coming here) so I can cover 100% my living cost here. 

Make use of the opportunities you have in Karlsruhe – sometimes this can be a great way to meet new people outside of the university, it can also help you meet German people and integrate into the city / culture.

Always check to see if there are jobs going at the Karls – it can be a really effective way of funding your lifestyle when studying full-time.

You can try to find a mini job at the University, there are quite some options as librarian, marketing support / content producer or being a barista at the Karlscafé – An Initiative – A small and cozy roof-top campus cafe right at the Karls, ran fully by Students. 

Trying to look for work in a pub or bar is definitely something to recommend too.

Buy a Bike! Karlsruhe is the bike-friendliest city in Germany as voted by cyclists, you can get around easily to the whole city via bike as you will see when you arrive here. You definitely won’t need a car here, if you do there are several car-sharing apps and services available. A bike is cheaper than a tram ticket, it is healthier and with the hottest climate in Germany, it’s definitely more satisfying.

Embrace every opportunity that comes to you! 

Germany in general and Karlsruhe specifically, is conveniently located in the heart of Europe. As an EU citizen or with an EU Schengen visa, you have the liberty of travelling throughout Europe freely. There are always special offers with Deutsche Bahn (DB) to certain cities, giving you the chance to enjoy a city break on a student budget (without jumping on a plane). This is a liberty we don't really have in the U.K. Where previously I would go down to London or up to Manchester for the weekend, now I could go to Munich, Paris, Prague, Zurich, Berlin and many more, all within 5-6 hours on the train or bus. 

Alongside this, there are numerous swimming lakes around the city which are great in summer time and Karlsruhe is only 45 minutes away from the Black Forest.