Marcelo, 23, is doing his master studies in Computer Science at the TU Berlin within a double degree exchange program
How did the idea to study in Germany come to your mind?
My university in Brazil offered two double degree exchange programs: one in Berlin and one in Grenoble. Since I wanted to do an exchange and the double diploma was quite interesting, I had the choice between France and Germany. At this point my decision was kind of arbitrary, but I associate natural sciences and informatics rather with Germany than with France, and as I study computer science I finally decided for Germany.
How did you get the idea to study at TU Berlin?
The only double degree exchange program with Germany, that I could do, was the one with the TU, so there was actually no option to choose.
What are your expectations for the future after graduating from TU Berlin?
I plan to start my doctorate at the TU.
Which problems or difficulties did you have to face and how did you manage them?
The first problem was to find an accommodation. In the beginning I didn’t get a place in the student residence, that’s why I had to go through the same problem as many Berliners: find a not too expensive apartment. The documentation was also a little bit complicated in the beginning, because we didn’t have any kind of proof of income for any estate agency. Besides it’s not even possible to get the visa without first having a registered address. After one month of searching, we (we were three students) found an apartment.
Another problem was the language. The exchange coordinators in Brazil did almost convince us that English would be sufficient for the Bachelor, but it certainly is not. The solution in this case was to accept that you only learn a language by practicing and start to live in German. Even if it might be easier to speak English with the others – you won’t learn German while talking English.
What do you like most about the life in Germany?
Compared to Brazil? Safety. To come home after 6 pm without the fear of being attacked or worse, that makes a big difference.
Having various parks in the city is also nice, especially in summer.
Germans also appear to be more tolerant towards other cultures and lifestyles.
What tip would you give Brazilians who are interested in studying in Germany?
First of all: learn German. Even though you can talk English to the majority of the people in university, it’s way easier to connect with others using their native language.
Which is your favorite word in German?
Doch (yes, as response to no). This kind of disagreeing with a denial simply doesn’t exist in other languages.
Interviewed by Christina Vierdt in 2016