Robin Sharma wrote in his book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: ‘Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end’. After 2 years of living and building my life and career in Germany, I have slowly understood the reality of this sentence now, which I didn’t realize at the beginning of July 2016 when I moved to this new country and put my hands on every personal development book that I heard somebody talk about in the market, just so that when the studies start, I am 100% prepared for everything.
This year has been crazy. The number of Indian students who are coming to Germany in this intake is at an all-time high. In the last year, the number of Indian students who came only to TUHH practically doubled. This was the first time that there wasn’t a normal room available in the university which could accommodate all the students from the previous and this intake for the orientation program organized by ISATUHH. For everybody who was already studying there and for the new students who came to start their new life here, this was overwhelming, but in a positive sense and this year, I am only expecting this number to grow even more based on all the surveys I did in our community. Even Studierendenwerk in different cities has already raised their hands and told the students that they can’t offer any kind of accommodation till the next few months because they are fully packed and overbooked. It’s not just the USA’s immigration situation that changed this sudden trend of the influx of students coming to Germany, but mainly also because of the worsening conditions of education and job market in India. I personally think it is great that all of the students and professionals are actively choosing to come here because nobody should ever be forced to live a life where you are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked. You aren’t a tree. If you don’t like something you can just move and that’s what so many of us are doing this time.
Now coming back to the statement Mr. Sharma made:
The Hard Part:
The whole application and visa process had been nerve-wracking, right? Even if not nerve-wracking, you must have already met tons of different peculiar characters and personalities whom you wouldn’t really forget even when you move to Germany. Be it the lady sitting at the counter during the visa interview or be it the bank official who made a lot of drama for documents while approving your education loan: people like them are completely unavoidable but you always learn from the experience that you had with them. Every single encounter that you have with any other human being in this world is going to develop your people skills which you would highly require in your life later on or just in the industry if you are planning to do Management. Many of you might be arriving in Germany in just a few days and where many of you might have found an accommodation many others didn’t. Finding accommodation is by far the hardest thing that you have to come across before you can settle here and start studying and chilling your life out. If you haven’t found an accommodation yet and are still struggling to find one, you might even just check out this video I made regarding accommodation search in Germany because it truly contains tips that will help you find one in a very short time.
Even though these are your last days living in India and you might be going out every single day with your friends and family (after all why shouldn’t you? I miss Indian food and if I had the money, would fly right back to India just to have my meals!), this might also be a phase in your life for a lot of self-contemplation, a lot of planning and how exactly you envision your life to be once you move to Germany. After all, you will realize that the thing that your friends are teasing you about these days might even just come true ‘Wahan jaa k to bhool jayega!’. It doesn’t happen in an instant. It happens over time. First it will be going talking to your friends without a week, then it will be a month and then it will be several months when you will practically realise that the thing that they were telling you finally came out to be true. You got too busy in your personal life to take out time for them.
For me personally, it was a bit hard to give up the luxury of just going to the room next to you, and finding a friend there in every single room in the students’ hostel of my university. Do you want to go out and enjoy the Paranthas in Murthal Dhabas? There will be somebody hungry enough to accompany you for that. Do you want to play Age of Mythology at 1 am at night? There will be somebody who is completely useless and will join you there too. Have you not completed the assignment or the ED sheet that is due tomorrow? You will again find somebody who would whine a bit about giving you the sheet and all the pencil marks you will make on it in the starting but eventually just end up handing you that over. This was something I still miss: having your ultra close group of friends who are always in the room right next to you and reliving that phase of life in Masters is difficult because everybody has to be focused on paying their bills, their studies, and grades and learning German (at least for the first semester) because if you don’t do that, the stress that you will experience towards the end of your Masters will be a bit too uncomfortable.
Pack your bags, don’t read any kind of packing list of what things you should bring to Germany and what not, because they are just absolute horseshit. Bring the things you love (from that I mean pens and notebooks!) and any other thing that you forgot, you can just buy here and from any other thing, I really mean any other thing. The price difference isn’t that huge, just don’t convert everything into Rupees. Moving to a new place, most probably in sharing with somebody and getting used to the heating, different floor and furniture, cooking utensils and just the smell of this new country would be a huge stimulus for you and even though there could be times when something happens to you which you didn’t expect before and it disturbed you a bit, take a note of it and rewire your brain on how you can react if a situation similar to this happens again because everything is created twice. First in the mind and then in the reality.
The Messy Part:
If you think you wouldn’t make the mistake of showing up in the wrong room at the wrong time in your studies here, I hate to break it to you that somehow it just isn’t possible in this realm. It will be messy when you start organizing your studies: getting used to the habit of using a calendar, preparing for the semester examinations, applying for scholarships, coping up with your part-time jobs, paying bills, trying to learn German and using laptops instead of notebooks to take lecture notes (and that’s the reason I already included all of these things in my upcoming online courses!) There will be times when you don’t understand your professor’s reaction to something you said to him or in the class, but your other international friends are going to slowly and slowly help you out with that. You will buy the wrong bread, use the wrong spread, take the wrong drink but every single mistake that you make will leave a mark on your timeline and will allow you to withdraw some of the craziest stories that you will be telling your friends and family over a Facebook call or Skype.
You will learn which supermarkets are cheap, which are crazy expensive (I actually made a video about this too), which clothing chain is cheap and which isn’t, which mode of traveling is cheaper and Dos and Don’ts of the German culture. But once all of that is done, you will come in a more tranquil phase in your life where you would learn how to manage everything and how to be more independent because that’s something we are unfortunately not taught at all in India, at least to most of us.
You will become a proper individual here: you will have your own desires, you will make your own choices and nobody else will be talking about the decision you made to reach where you are and this is single-handedly the only thing that will allow you to make more mistakes, document the experiences you made from your mistakes and successes, share those stories with us and grow as a person yourself along with influencing hundreds of other community members. Although there is no specific point in your life which dictates that yes! Now you can start contributing back to the community who was a part of your journey to this country, but in this phase, since you will be doing the most things, you will also be able to contribute the most back to the other hundreds of students who are looking forward to coming to Germany and almost escape the lack of opportunities that our massively growing country is claiming to provide.
After the first two semesters, things will be more relaxed and you will already act like a semi-German: making appointments for everything, putting Google Calendars on your home screen and getting pissed when the train is late, but even if you wouldn’t be one at heart, you would rapidly take whatever positive traits this culture has to offer to you. Once you have all these refined tools and skill sets to lead your own life, the challenges that will come next to you wouldn’t seem so daunting and even if they do, our community is always there. You can always write to us, connect to us, share your experiences or fears and we will try our best to help you out in whatever situation you might be in.
The Gorgeous Part:
Ahm. Don’t look at me like that. There’s nothing I can tell you about this part yet. I am still working my way towards it! ?
Bhai doesn’t believe in ‘Fake it till you make it’. ?