Estefanía Figueroa Buitrago, Santiago de Cali, Kolumbien
Name: Estefanía Figueroa Buitrago
Lives in: Santiago de Cali, Colombia
Period in Germany: August 2012 to July 2013 in Göttingen, Dresden and Asperg (close to Stuttgart)
Educational institutions: Goethe-Institut, Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden)
Job: Electrical engineering student
I was one of 30 Colombians who flew to Germany to take part in the ‘Young Engineers Programme’ run by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). I first attended a German-language course at the Goethe-Institut in Göttingen, and when it ended two months later, I moved to Dresden and studied for a semester at the Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden). At the end of my stay in Germany, I completed an internship in android programming with Bosch in Schwieberdingen.
‘I was keen to find out about Germany as a country and the way of life there’
I’ve always been interested in German culture and language. In addition, for a budding electrical engineer like myself, Germany offers excellent development prospects, seeing as it’s a global force in research, technology and innovation.
I like the mentality of the country and the people. I admire the Germans because they are so responsible, decent, respectful, orderly, open and friendly. I really like the fact that Germany sees education as a great enabler and that it always supports its students. And not just students from Germany but from all round the world. You can really say that Germany is an equal opportunity country. I’m also very taken by the substantial support that is provided for research work.
My favourite place in Germany is Dresden. I have a soft spot for this city and some fond memories because of all the things I’ve seen and done there. Dresden is a really beautiful city that has a lot to offer and you can sort of travel through time there. An especially atmospheric and well-known feature is Dresden’s Christmas Market, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt. This is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany and is held every year on the Old Market Square (Altmarkt).
‘Germany is an open door that is opening up more doors for me’
Life in Latin American countries is very different from life in European ones, and from Northern Europe in particular. The food, the culture, the language, the weather and the people are all different. This great diversity was a whole new world for me and one that welcomed me with open arms and taught me a lot of new things.
I had the chance to broaden my horizons by making contact with new and diverse cultures and people. Now I can see the world and various aspects of my life from a new perspective; I’ve become a global citizen.
In my free time I like to read a lot. I write poems too and publish them every Sunday in my blog. I’m also learning some new languages. At the moment, I’m concentrating on Japanese which I think is a very beautiful and interesting language.
‘You can achieve anything you want if you believe in yourself and stay true to yourself’
International experience is perfect for acquiring new knowledge and skills, learning a new language, getting to know a new culture, making interesting friends and growing personally and professionally.
When I think back to my time in Germany, I think how wonderful it was that so many different people from around the world with their diverse cultural, political, religious and economic backgrounds could form such good, unconditional and close friendships.
I have fond memories of my excursions with my friends from the Goethe-Institut. We discovered Germany together like a bunch of kids. We were one big, diverse group spanning five continents and everything was new to us. With them I always had the feeling I was with my family.I still missed my family and friends in Colombia though. Before I came to Germany, I’d only ever lived with my parents and always in the same city. However, I didn’t really suffer much from homesickness because with today’s electronic media it’s quick and easy to stay in touch.
‘I’d like to do my Master’s in Germany in the field of telecommunications technology and then do some research in this field’
Before coming to Germany, I agreed on the topic of my dissertation with my tutor in Colombia. The lectures I attended at the TU Dresden were all connected to this subject, and then I looked for an internship in a related field as well.
At the moment I’m writing my undergraduate dissertation, which I started in Germany, and I’m making use of all the skills and knowledge I acquired. It’s about inter-machine data transfer using the latest generation of communication networks.
For the future, I’m planning to do a Master’s in the field of communications technology or satellite communications. I’d like to make use of the German-language skills I’ve acquired already and my experience from my previous stays in Germany to do my Master’s Degree there.
Estefanía Figueroa Buitrago on the Alumniportal Deutschland
I’m still in touch with the people I got to know at the Goethe-Institut, university, ERASMUS groups, on trips and at work. I use online networks a lot to stay in touch with my friends, meet new people and generally keep up with what’s going on.
I think the Alumniportal is really positive because it allows you to get to know new students, experts, scholarship holders and other people. It enables you to refresh your German-language skills, take part in group discussions on specialist topics and stay well informed about the latest trends in Germany.