So, my exchange year (initially it was an exchange semester) is coming to an end. I bought a ticket to Moscow last week – for August 30th.
I have extremely controversial feelings at this point. On the one hand, I do miss my family, my friends and my cats (did you think I´m going to omit them???). I miss my neighborhood, my language. I want to go there and absorb everything I lost for a year.
On the other hand, during my stay here I found numerous things I can’t give up – outstanding people, insights about myself, I learnt so many new things and saw so many different places. I was learning new languages, cooking and living independently, planning my trips, my time, my schedule for the day. In spite of corona, I managed to experience so much.
We’ve visited Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Berlin, Triberg, Frankfurt, Bodensee, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Cologne, Freudenstadt. We’re going to Neuschwanstein and to the Netherlands in a couple of days.
My exchange year was mostly online but I don’t think it deteriorated the studying process. On the contrary, for me (100% non-morning person) sometimes it was even a better option! I also enjoyed the topics which correlated with the situation nowadays – we were learning how to organize digital and hybrid events, how to engage people online.
What also should be mentioned is the Karls modern approach to the studying process – not only have we discussed such topics as sustainability, social equality, SDGs freely and eagerly, we were encouraged to talk about such matters. And this atmosphere of open-mindness motivates even more!
I also changed my perspective on what people can call home. For some people home is the place where your close ones are. For others – what you’re paying your rent for. For me, home is my place, where I can come whenever I want and will just feel right. My dorm room in Karlsruhe became home for me. I can’t stay there after August though, as I have to get back to Russia.
Karlsruhe in general became a special and very comfortable place for me as well. I feel safe on the streets, I feel these many, many people, who care about each other, about the environment, about our future. People with ambitions, talents, thoughts. This community, a part of which I crave to be.
Of course, from time to time the pandemic was making it difficult – I was frustrated with the thought that I can’t do all the things I could do normally. I wanted to travel more freely, I wanted to sculpt from clay, to dance, to get my driver’s license finally. I wanted to see even more, do even more, live even more and the quarantine was shaking its head in response to my temper.
But at these moments my friends were here. We were singing karaoke, making lasagna, playing in the music room, watching movies every night, solving puzzles, taking ridiculous pictures, organizing concerts, gazing at lightning and screaming from the roof when it was pouring. One of my favorite things is to notice moments in real life that look very cinematic. And this year was rich in it.
Let’s put it like that: if this year was a movie, I would give it an Oscar.
As I said, there are many things here I am not ready to give up. That’s why I will be coming back, I’m sure.
Article by Vladislava Ladyzhenskaia *VL – Management with Marketing, exchange semester.