Sonja, Daniela and Amalie in a classroom overlooking Cologne

The semester abroad is part of the studies at the International School of Management, but not only our students visit partner universities abroad. International exchange students also find a study place for their semester abroad at ISM. My name is Sonja and I was a buddy partner for our exchange students, but also the student coordinator of the Buddy-Program in the summer semester 2023 at the Cologne campus.

In the Buddy-Program, we focus on doing varied activities with the students to show them our German culture but also to get to know the home culture of the exchange students at the same time. We facilitated this discourse in various events, such as the pub quiz, drinking Stößen (100ml beer) in Dortmund or at the ISM summer party. Additionally, the students spent time together privately, such as eating in a restaurant, partying or at the fitness centre right next to the ISM.

To give future students an insight into the ISM Buddy Program, we asked some exchange students about their experiences at ISM Cologne in the spring semester 2023. Daniela, a student from Mexico from Universidad Anáhuac México Norte and Amalie, a student from Norway from Kristiania University College share their experiences with us. The summer semester started in mid-March and ended in mid-June and both students spent their spring at the Cologne campus.

Daniela: It was great! It was fun! I think here I got out of my comfort zone. In Mexico I was shy and it was difficult for me to meet new people, but here, I found new friends quickly. What I really like about Cologne is that people always help you on the street. I also like the city itself: here, there are so many parks and green areas to enjoy the sun. In Mexico, it isn't like that.
Amalie: I really like the location of Cologne because it is really easy to travel from here with trains anywhere. I would love to come back to Germany because there are so many different places I haven't seen yet. I also want to discover more about the different cultures here.

Exchange student Amalie at ISM

Which modules await our newcomers?

The subjects of study depend on the location. Students can choose from basic subjects such as project management or market research to subjects specific to their course of study, such as principles of marketing or Luxury & Fashion.

Daniela: I enjoyed meeting new people from different countries but I also liked my Luxury & Fashion classes because I was looking for that specifically.
Amalie: It's been great! I really liked the professors because they have been working long in business aside of teaching and they could share their work experience with us. But classes last double as long as in Norway! At Kristiania, I normally had a 45-minute class and then a 10-minute break but here, we have one and a half hours of lessons and a 15-minute break.

Exchange student Daniela at ISM

Is there anything you want to pass on to future students?

Daniela: Since I had to stay longer than 90 days in Germany, I had to fill out several forms in German. I would advise you to contact your International Office before your semester abroad and already get some information on this process so that you are not under time pressure once you have arrived.

Many of our exchange students come from a partner university in Europe, like Amalie. These students do not need a visa, you only need one if you are from outside of Europe, like Daniela.

Images: International School of Management

Sonja Fluehe

Sonja Fluehe studies Marketing & Communications Management at ISM Cologne.

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