One of the reasons why I enrolled at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management was the opportunity to exchange, but I never thought I would study in Germany. Ever since I knew for myself, Germans have always been portrayed as cold, closed-minded, hard-working people whose country is the most successful economy in Europe. I didn’t think I would be able to fit into a culture like this.
I dreamed of the countries whose cultures I admired, countries such as Russia or Canada. But at the time, I was an eighteen-year-old girl who was just studying to study economics and management and didn’t know what to expect from her studies. I did not know which branch in that expanse of economy was the branch on which I would build my career. During my studies, my view of economics and the business world changed completely.
From the first weeks of college, ZSEM has prepared me for a world where there are no idylls and a world where success is achieved through work, work and work. I made the decision to eventually go to Germany for an exchange, at the ZSEM International Office in January 2017. I was an assistant at the International Office and worked with Mr. Javier Aguay (another of ZSEM’s advantages – you can work in college! ). After thinking about a couple of destinations, talking to Mr. Javier, parents and friends, I decided that the Frankfurt School of Finance was the best choice for me.
At the time, my priorities were much different from those at the beginning of my studies. Of course it was important for me to go to a country whose culture attracted me, but it was not at the top of my priorities. I wanted to study at a prestigious accredited finance university, with good resources, professors and opportunities, and wanted to improve my German language skills. The Frankfurt School of Finance and Management is one of the world’s top finance colleges and a leading research financial center in Germany, and I would say broadly. It ranks with prestigious universities such as London Business School, BI Norwegian, Bocconi, etc. Although I knew it was the school I wanted to spend my third year in, I didn’t know what to expect from the Germans in higher education. Friends complained about not going to a sunnier place with the sea and beaches, but I thought Frankfurt was the best city in the world.
I first visited Frankfurt in June 2016 as part of the award-winning students from the Open4Business start-up competition. We spent a couple of days in Frankfurt visiting companies like Commerzbank and institutions like Deutsche Borse. At the time, I really liked Frankfurt and it greatly influenced my decision about where to study abroad.
Without much of a story about my arrival in Frankfurt, I immediately jump to the point. Frankfurt School more than fulfilled my expectations! And yes, the Germans are very hardworking. Arbeit über Alles! I like that, the atmosphere in college is very motivating, the library is always full of students, and the three-hour classes (which may not sound ideal to Croats) are always interesting and stimulating.
I am now in the second semester of my third year of study, living in Frankfurt for 7 months, enjoying student obligations, improving my German language and finance skills, and joining the FS community – I am a member of a couple of student clubs, I study part-time – which means constantly 😀 and I try to make the most of it every day here.
Not to be misunderstood that Frankfurt is just a city of business, bankers and skyscrapers, though, I’m here for an exchange: Nightlife is almost as good as Zagreb, and I’ve met people from all over the world – Jordans, Australians, Brazilians, Egyptians, etc. Most importantly, I have made lifelong friends, and who knows, maybe one day business partners too!
Whoever is thinking about where to go for an exchange, my advice is to put it all on paper. Write in three cities you would like to live in or three universities you would like to study at. Make your priority list, talk to your parents, friends, professors and consult with the ZSEM International Office! But before the exchange, book to hand, make sure you have the best grades so you can go wherever you want. And whatever decision you make, you can’t regret it. From each experience, something new and positive is learned. Good luck!
Author: Josip Šegota