Manuela Randrianirainy, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Name: Manuela Randrianirainy
Lives in: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Stay in Germany: August to October 2010 in Munich
Educational institution: Goethe-Institut
Occupation: Student of German
After I landed at Munich airport the first thing I did was get lost. Everything was so different to Madagascar, and I was nervous, curious and impressed all same time. When I got to the Goethe-Institut for the first time they told me that I was the first person from Madagascar ever to have taken part in the course there. I found that funny.
In the language course we dealt with some very interesting topics. I can now say I'm better at making presentations in front of people, because we practised that intensively. In my opinion, Germany is the best and most convincing country in which to study. There are many universities and colleges of a high standard, and you have more effective means of research at your disposal.
‘This trip was the biggest challenge of my whole life, but I'm glad that I did it’
Madagascar is an island, and it's very different to Germany. I noticed how well organised and clean the streets and the buildings are, and how punctual and fast the trains and buses are in Germany. Just small things, perhaps, but so significant. The Germans are serious, grave, determined and orderly, and they value punctuality very highly. I liked that lot.
There are a lot of things to like about Germany: technology, education, environmental protection and orderliness, as well as a mixture of the past and present, with a view to the future. The Germans’ mentality is very different to that of the people at home, and it somehow had an impact on me. My time in Germany showed me that I should always make an effort to achieve my goals, in order to get a sense of satisfaction from them. Being determined, always thinking of the future and never giving up: you should somehow have values like these as a model.
I'm convinced that everything we do, be it good or bad, later comes back to haunt us – in other words, that we reap what we sow, depending on the things that we have done before.
‘I have many happy memories of my stay in Germany, which I will never forget’
I lived in a student hall of residence in Munich. Without doubt, one of the things I remember best is the Oktoberfest. The great atmosphere ‘auf der Wiesn’, the people, the vivid colours – the Theresienwiese is certainly my favourite place.
Apart from that, I associate Germany with football and beer. The German national squad is an impressive football team, and beer is a very popular drink. At the same time, of course, there are beautiful castles like Neuschwanstein, which really amazed me. But on the other hand, I missed Madagascan food a lot when I was in Germany.
‘I'd be very happy to travel to Germany again, but I'd also like to see other countries’
At the moment I'm doing a masters degree at the university in Madagascar, and I'd like to write my thesis on literature. When I’ve completed it, I want to try to get a job as a lecturer at the University. You see, I'd really like to share my passion for Germany and the German language with as many other people as possible. But from that, I'd also like to work as a translator.
I'm a real ‘bookworm’. I mean, I like reading and I read a lot, above all fantasy and science fiction, but also crime stories. At the moment I'm reading ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, the fantasy series by George R. R. Martin, which the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ was based on. Besides this, I also write novels.
When I think back to my stay in Germany I first think of Marta, who I met in Munich and who became my friend. Beside her, I'm still in touch with my German teacher as well as some of my fellow students from the same class.
Manuela Randrianirainy talks about Alumniportal Deutschland
Online networks such as Alumniportal Deutschland offer people from distant and poorer countries (like myself and other Madagascans) the possibility to keep in touch with the whole world, to get to know other cultures and to gather as many experiences as possible.
I use the Alumniportal to make contact with people from countries that interest me, and to exchange information. It’s a way of taking pleasure in the whole world. As I'm relatively new to the Alumniportal, I'm still looking for alumni from my own country with whom I can share experiences.
My advice to future Germany-Alumni: With determination, you can realise your dreams. Make an effort, do your best, then you should go far – have fun at the same time!