Rebecca Williams (Year 2 German) Awarded DAAD Scholarship in 2011.

Group photo"I have always wanted to go to Germany and, although I had been studying German for four years, I had never actually visited the country until earlier this year. In the summer of 2011, I won a DAAD scholarship, which enabled me to live and study in Germany for a month.

The application process for the DAAD scholarship was both challenging and exciting at the same time. In order to apply, all you have to do is complete their application procedure (this includes an application form, a letter which explains how you would benefit from receiving a scholarship and you will also need a copy of your CV in German). The German Section at Bangor gave me the information and it was not very difficult, but as I had never done anything like this before, it all seemed a bit daunting at first. However, I did not let that put me off, as this was something which I really wanted to do!

In your application, you have to choose where you would like to go from a list of courses. This was quite difficult for me as I initially did not know which university I would like to study at. As I come from a small village in North Wales, I did not really want to go to one of the bigger or perhaps more popular German cities. I decided to go to Heidelberg which is a university city in Baden Württemberg. Not only were the courses on offer there perfect for me as they combined language learning with cultural elements, I had also heard of the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. This is the oldest university in Germany and it is a German Excellence University, so it has an outstanding reputation nationally and internationally. Friends had also told me how beautiful Heidelberg is, so I decided this would be the right destination for my international summer course in Germany. 

I must say, I was certainly not disappointed by my choice. Heidelberg is truly beautiful and if you have an opportunity to go there, you should. The Altstadt has spectacular historical buildings and a great atmosphere. The university campus was well-equipped with excellent student facilities, such as the Mensa and fantastic student accommodation. I was also able to explore the Rhine-Neckar region without any trouble because Heidelberg has such a great transport network!

Studying at Heidelberg has improved my German tremendously. Not only did I have formal language instruction in my language lessons which meant I could work on specific areas like grammar, I was also able to speak the language on a day-to-day basis, increasing my vocabulary. This has now given me a huge boost of confidence when speaking German. As well as increasing my knowledge of the language, the optional enrichment seminars allowed me to learn more about German literature, history, film and culture, while also giving me an opportunity to practise my translation skills. In addition to this, the summer school ran excursions for students so we could get to know the area: during my stay, I was able to visit the Black Forest and Lake Constance.

Not only was I able to learn more about the German language and culture, I also had the opportunity to make lots of new friends, not only from Germany, but from all around the world. It was interesting for me to be able to speak to other international students of German about what interests them about German history and culture, and also to talk about what they find difficult when learning the language. I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity and would definitely recommend it to other German Studies students."

Rebecca Williams

Publication date: 16 January 2012