Challenging myself in Germany

Acquiring experiences and skills a little further

Long time no see

Today is the day when I have enough energy and motivation to update this blog. It has been almost five month since the last time I wrote here, so I’ll try to recall the time.

In a nutshell, winter semester is over and I got an internship from Fraunhofer IPA.

First things first, the period here has been really stressing because of  the search for an internship, different teaching manner in English and long school days. During the winter semester I sent approximately 30 job applications. Most of the Germany company websites and jobs adds is in German, so it took a lot of time just to find a suitable company and task for me. Only that part itself took days. I am a perfectionist so at first it took 3-4 days to send the applications, but it got easier all the time. The second wearing thing was to learn the subjects. Especially in some courses such as Control Engineering and Digital Control, I couldn’t assimilate subjects during the lecture nor at home because the provided material by our professor wasn’t match for my level of knowledge for independent studies. In the evenings I was just anxious and frustrated  after a couple of hours of studying without any meaningful progress. The third thing was the time, there were two days in the week when I had almost 14 hours school, from 7:30 am to 9 pm. Other days during the week I may had school from 7:30 am until 16:30 pm. Sometimes it was less if there wasn’t laboratory work.

Winter semester is over here now which ended in the last day of January. I enrolled and participated for all the exams I mentioned in the last post.  Preparing for the exams began too late if I would say and it was too lousy. The winter semester didn’t end up as I planned. In the begining my strategy was that I am allowed to fail one test, but instead I failed three of them, which are Control Engineering, Digital Control and Microprocessor Technology. The last one was a big surprise, because I spent most of my time for that course and in the laboratory works I managed most of the tasks and it wasn’t too hard. My opinion is that the exam didn’t measure my competence. In fact this examination system in Germany is way different than in Finland I’ve been used to. Exams here are very official, for example the seats are decided in advance, supervisor reads the legal terms and there is 90 minutes time to answer. The shortest exam I had was approx. 15 pages and the longest 30 pages,  you just had to answer as fast as you could. My manner in tests always has been thoughtful and careful so, I found the short time very crucial to me. Now I have to rearrange my schedule for new tests in summer semester.

I spent winter holidays and semester break in Finland. I came back at 27.2 to prepare for my internship. I started at Fraunhofer in the first of March. It takes approx. one and half hours per day to travel from Göppingen to Stuttgart, in Fraunhofer premises. Now I have been two days there and I really like to be there. It’s not certain yet in which projects i’m going to take part, but very likely I’m going to work with PLC, such as Beckhoff’s TwinCAT 3 or Siemens STEP 7.

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Life has turned into everyday living

Winter semester has begun here at 25 of September and I have attended to 8 courses so far.

Here is a list of courses I´m willing to accomplish during this semester:
– Industrial Communications
– Power Electronics
– Control Engineering
– Simulation and Systems Control
– Simulation Technology
– Microprocessor Technology
– German language A1.1 (beginner)
– German History & Culture



If you are interested in courses contents, click here and find Göppingen Campus and Mechatronics and Electrical Engineering Faculty.

In total I should receive 37 credits if I complete all of them. At first I was taking only 7 courses, but then it turned out if I need to receive 5 credits from Simulation and System Control it is obligatory to attend an additional course called Simulation Technology. Basically it means more work than it at the first place was supposed to be and with the same profit.

All classes of mechatronics have been interesting, especially because, we have obligatory laboratory classes from all courses. For me it’s easier to learn through practical sessions. Particular dates and times have been reserved for the laboratory classes, an undergraduate performance or absence means immediate failing and you are out from the course. It is the same with an exams, first registration is required and you got only one shot to pass the exams. In other words, this system really motivates to graduate.

Simulation and Systems Control and Control Engineering feels really challenging. In both courses we have been modelling processes from real life with differential equations and more comes later. We work mostly with Matlab, which we got for free from the Hochschule Esslingen. I don’t like the subject too much but I understand the potential of these learning goals. Those are definitely the two hardest courses and it’s necessary to put more effort on them to pass the exam. I picked a microprocessor technology course to understand the basics more and learn new approaching manners with microprocessors. This course is more for my hobbies than working life, but surely useful knowledge to anywhere where job description includes programming or integrated systems. I will come back to the other courses later when I know more about them.

Besides the studies I’ve been playing guitar, computer games and hanging out with my fellows. We were in Volksfest with Finnish group yesterday. There were an amusement park and really large tents which were like big saloons inside. A significant element was the people, after 5 p.m the empty tent started to fill up. The atmosphere was full of enthusiasm and joy. The beer was expensive in comparison to German price level, but still cheaper than in Finland. From the amusement park I found a liquorice which was the top thing that day.

Inspiring way to spend time.

At Volksfest.

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Orientation time

It is my 17th day here today and it feels like it’s been at least 2 months. There have been a lot of things to do, so I haven’t had so much time to examine or focus on my environment. So far I know the vicinity of my dormitory, some local stores and the main street of Göppingen. The church at the backyard of my house has become very familiar. I have never been there inside yet, but the way they rings church bells is kinda annoying. Regardless of date the bells ring the at 6 a.m, 12 p.m and 7:30 p.m for 4 minutes in addition of indicating the time at every passing quarter. It seems to be a more common habit in middle Europe, according to my Spanish friends.

Our German, history and culture classes have already. The teaching manners seem to differ from those in Finland, I’ve noticed so far.  I am attending German classes for beginners, but our teacher doesn’t talk in English so much. It’s half English and half German. I heard that in other beginners groups they might talk few words in English so I feel a little lucky. Seems to be true that we focus more in grammar in Finland. Here, the teacher teaches us more complete sentences than vocabulary or grammar. The teaching manner here feels challenging, but the good thing in classes is that we practice oral speaking a lot.

We have had only one class of German culture and history, but it really felt interesting and I can’t wait for the next lecture. To complete the course, we are supposed to give a 20 – 30 minutes presentation with a pair, the subject is free but it must concern German somehow. I’m worried of giving such a long presentation in a foreign language. If you have good ideas about the subject, you are free to give me some ideas in the comment section.

During these weeks I have registered as a resident of Göppingen, acquired a German bank account. On spare time I have been eating and drinking out with other exchange students and met new people.

Spending a sunny day with friends


When the jorney comes true

It’s my fourth day in Germany now and two nights have I spent in my dormitory in Göppingen. Most of my stuff is still unpacked, but the most essential things have found their places, like the coffee machine, the computer and the bed sheets. There haven’t been enough time for making the dormitory cozy. Actually this is my first day when I have time and energy to arrange my personal things. I haven’t planned on what I should bring with me until the last day I was in Finland, when I started finally packing. So you could say that something must be missing, fortunately there are markets, shops and other services from 15 minute’s walk away.

I felt drowsy during the first couple days and started to regret this choice. I guess I was avoiding my negative feelings about this trip until the departure day and all the negative feelings were showing up strongly. The hardest part is to separate from my beloved ones. In addition of growing as person I want to construct and maintain my relationship with my girlfriend and family. That made me promise myself that I will perform winter semester first and then rethink if I want to continue on spring semester. For me it’s easier to split this challenge in smaller pieces rather than just carry it out. Now I have calm down and used to the idea of being here and more positive things starts to come out.

Yesterday it was the first orientation day in Esslingen and there were approximately 100 of us. Our international coordinators took us to the castle of Esslingen throught the Old city where we played some social skills games and enjoyed food and drinks. After that we found a park where we continued chatting and drinking with the other exchange students in Göppingen. The atmosphere was welcoming, warm and people took each other into account.

Looking forward one day at a time.

What a great day we had


A view from the Esslingen castle hill



This blog is about my double degree program in Esslingen university of applied sciences, where I’m performing a bachelor’s degree. In addition to mandatory school work, my intention is to share my experiences in studying, practical training and residence.

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