When My Friend Coleman Came To Visit

Guest Post By: Simon Jones, a Fifth Year studying Finance and Information Systems. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany, during Autumn Semester 2022.

The grading system in Germany is whack. In some other majors I think the following doesn’t exactly apply, but for finance… you do not have to show up to class. There are no homework assignments. There are no group projects. There are no midterms. Class meets once a week, and you have a quiz section once a week. There is one final at the end of the year and it counts for 100% of your grade. So for the first probably 9/10ths of the year there is a lot of slacking off happening, but during that last 1/10th people start to study like they have never studied in their entire lives. Finals week also coincided with the Christmas markets in Germany opening up, so a lot of conflict of interest was going on. On one hand, everyone wanted to pass their classes, but on the other hand, everyone also wanted to go eat pretzels, drink spiced wine, and shop around at the markets.

During this time, the world cup was also going on, so everyone wanted to go out every couple of nights and watch the games (any football match night in Germany is a pretty big deal). ALSO, this was around the same time that my friend Coleman was coming to visit. All of these combined stresses culminated into a chaotic mix of a lot of fun and stressful times.

That’s the hardest thing about studying abroad. You have to figure out how to manage your time between being a cool, new, exciting place and making friends and exploring things, along with trying to study hard so you actually pass your classes and accomplish what you studied abroad to do in the first place. During the time my friend was visiting, I had to have some moments where I leveled with him and said I needed to go to the library that day or study for class. It was hard to turn down my friends when they wanted to watch a game or go to a Christmas market, but I still had to do it. Even after all of that, I should have honestly probably studied a little harder. Going into study abroad, it’s extremely important that you are ready to have your time management skills tested to the max.