:bsz international. Each year more than 300 ERASMUS students live and study in Bochum. They receive a broad variety of support provided by the International Office of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN).
The EU’s programme ERASMUS+ was founded as ERASMUS in 1987 and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with a series of events, including cultural evenings and parties, a language café and a fair at the RUB (for more information, see: http://international.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/erasmus/30jahre/). According to the official ERASMUS website, its main aims are “to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe”.
Our RUB provides more than 300 students from European countries with this opportunity each year. Before and during their stay they are accompanied by RUBiss International Student Services at the International Office. The RUBiss team supports them if they feel challenged by for example individual learning agreements, visa applications or finding accommodation: 250 places in the Akafö residence halls are exclusively reserved for the guests each semester. Private rooms can for instance be found on the “Housing Anywhere” website (housinganywhere.com/de/s/Bochum–Deutschland), where German students going abroad can offer their rooms for interim rent.
Ulrike Herrlich, team leader of RUBiss, sums up the students’ emotions: “The students feel very welcome both at the university and in the city.” Due to the intercultural society, they quickly get used to their new surroundings. Beyond that, Bochum and the whole Ruhr area serve as a starting point for further travels. Another factor to feel welcome is the huge support by the universities, whether it’s RUBiss at the International Office, the faculties themselves or ESN with its “students helping students”-credo. ESN is a non-profit organisation mainly run by students. They offer support and more than 30 events each semester, organised partly in cooperation with RUBiss.
Jérémy, a History student from France, who stayed in Bochum for ten months, was impressed with the size of the campus as well as the wide variety of classes and activities: “You have the impression everything’s possible.” The only trouble he experienced: the language barrier. The International Office offers an orientation course (three weeks length with extra cultural classes) and ERAMUS students also have the possibility to participate in the “German as a foreign language” courses, but some students seem to have constant trouble with the language of their Erasmus destination. Nevertheless, 141 classes held in English last semester proof the university’s internationality.
To enhance the students’ knowledge of the region and the culture, RUBiss and ESN organise events like country-themed evenings, for example the “Spanish Evening” or pub crawls. Within the “Social Erasmus” initiative the students have the possibility to meet locals by visiting schools or homes for senior citizens. Both international and local students are welcome to all events. The latter can even join the ESN team in Bochum. A first newbie meeting will take place on May 3, 8 p.m. in front of the Bochum main station.
The upcoming events can be found on the network’s website (http://bochum.esn-germany.de/). A little reminder: ESN celebrates its big Welcome Party on April 30, 10 p.m. in the bar“Hardy’s – Die Kneipe” in Bochum.