The Moldovans’ pursuit of happiness in Germany
To leave your home for a study-abroad or for a work-related program might be a difficult choice of many teenagers from Moldova. The challenge is quite big when you think about the difficulties which are about to follow: a foreign language, new people, a new healthcare system or just a different mentality.
Vlad Dotu is a student from Moldova’s capital of Chisinau. He is currently pursuing a Master in European Integration, Foreign Investment and Trade and International Dispute Resolution from the University of Saarland, Germany. For him it is important the university to have an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach.
“The Law School in Germany is one of the most prominent legal schools throughout the world. I chose a German university because of the interdisciplinary and multi-lingual approach it offers. Pursuing legal studies in Germany is always a good idea because of its promising multicultural, social and academic experience,” Vlad Dotu explained.
The student has been in Germany since June 2011. Being a scholarship holder, Vlad enjoys full support from his sponsor to finance his studies. Although some universities don’t require a tuition fee, it is important the foreign students to have a small financial assistance to be able to end their studies. There are many funding opportunities in Germany, such as DAAD, KAAD, Konrad Andenauer Stiftung, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and others.
Germany has become a popular destination lately for international students. Many believe that a degree acquired in Germany will help them increase their chances to get a well-paid job there or back home.
“Obtaining an academic degree in Germany will help me to succeed in my future career because studying here is not only about getting most out of the rich academic environments, but also meeting respected scholars and professionals from all over the world and establishing contacts for future co-operations that undoubtedly will be of a major importance in my future professional life,” Vlad Dotu said.
Although the student life in Germany is beautiful, Vlad emphasized that every international student who wants to study in Germany has to obey some rules. According to him, it is very important to know what does plagiarism mean, how it is punished and how to be avoided. In Germany, the anti-plagiarism policy is very strict. The students have to sign a declaration after every written term paper stating that their work complies with the academic standards.
Vlad considers that Moldova should invest more in its educational system and try to be more competitive.
“If we talk about educational system, I would suggest investing more in education, because Moldovan political, economic and social future depends on quality of education obtained by alumni of national universities. In my view, education has become more a "business matter" and the terms like "prestige of the university" or "quality of education" tend to fall by the wayside,” concluded the Moldovan student studying in Germany.
For Cristina Pascaru the German experience looks a little different. She has already graduated from college in Romania, gaining a Master’s degree in International Relations. Currently she is in Germany doing an internship at a consulting company in international development. It wasn’t easy for her to find this internship. Living in the town of Kirchheim unter Teck, the southern Land of Baden-Württemberg, Cristina has been residing in Germany for about one and a half years now. She was also an ERASMUS exchange student at the University of Konstanz prior to her current intern position.
Cristina wants to build a career in Germany, but does not reject the idea to come back home one day. She comes from Moldova’s second largest city of Balti, an industrial city which hosts some important German investments.
“I am planning to build a career in Germany, as I find the German working environment suitable for my personality. I also think that my chances of building a good career are higher here. However, I do not exclude the possibility of coming back home after gaining valuable experience here,” Cristina Pascaru said.
The biggest challenge for Cristina is the German language which, according to her, is a difficult one.
“It has a very rich vocabulary. I consider that one needs to be in Germany and to actively interact with Germans in order to be able to gain a very good knowledge of the language,” the intern emphasized.
Asked to tell what things Moldova should poach from the German society, she replied that the efficiency and integrity are two very important features her home country needs.
“The Germans are working a lot, but they are also very efficient at their work. Integrity, because most of the Germans I know respect the laws and have strong values and principles,” Cristina pointed out.
She suggests that the students who want to pursue a university degree or a career in Germany have to actively interact with the Germans and integrate into the host society.
“There are a lot of Russian and Romanian-speaking people in Germany. It is important to get to know people close to your home, but it is also very important to get to know the German culture and learn the language,” Cristina Pascaru said.
The German Federal Statistical Office reports that by the end of 2011, some 12.000 Moldovans were residing in Germany.