participants_essays

My German Adventure

Joining this Erasmus project was one of the best decisions of my life. I have always been passionate with the future, science and technology. I pursue a career in Computer Science and have always wished to travel abroad with this in mind. This was an opportunity I could not just pass. And in turn, not only did I learn a new programming language, but I also changed the way I think and made remarkable progress on my soft skills.

The “alfatraining” Centre. At “alfatraining” we learned to make a difference. Collaborating with talented people, we learned to unfold our “wings” to their fullest potential. The first few days we acquired the knowledge – the basics of the PHP language. Seeing how engaged we became and how fast we could learn, the trainer gradually increased the pace. They finally revealed to us the tougher aspects of building for the Web. Later, came the time to work by ourselves. The project ideas seemed daring at first but teamwork was the key to tackling them. I am satisfied with the results of our work. We managed to pull it off and the individual websites will serve our school well.

The City. Karlsruhe is a city of culture, science and democracy. Firstly, innovation is commonplace in Karlsruhe. It has one of the largest communities of scientist and researchers in Germany. Their Institute of Technology is one of the highest ranking schools in the Computer Science department. Thus, the IT industry there is one of the most advanced in Europe. Another aspect is its reputable culture – towers, castles, museums, innumerable gardens and a Zoo. Old buildings aside, I personally enjoyed the modern air of the ZKM, the renowned digital media museum. The quality of the gallery we viewed there was staggering. Last but not least, Karlsruhe lets people enjoy the small joys of urban life. During our stay, we never ran out of new places to go out. The cityscape is vast and diverse and the possibilities are endless.

I used to be shy and not the most spontaneous person, so I surprised myself and my nearest and dearest with this step. The few weeks abroad changed me – I am now more open and independent. All the people and places became so dear to me. Sometimes when I remember this adventure, the longing brings tears to my eyes. It is an experience I recommend to everyone.

Mihnea U.


One day I was walking on my school’s corridor and one teacher approached me with a huge smile on her face and told me that there is a huge project about learning PHP. When I heard that and when I saw the teacher’s smile I knew I had to sign up for it, and so I did. I regret nothing![…] Furthermore I really enjoyed the courses that that we took at Alfatraning, there I learnt a lot of new information about PHP and how to use it. The teacher was great and very happy to share his knowledge and to help us understand. He helped me realize that a career in IT it’s the career that I want to follow, because I wasn’t sure that it’s the thing I want to do with my future.

Ionut G.


 Going to “Erasmus K1+” project in Germany was definitely the best choice I have ever made. Besides the fact that I took some very helpful and interesting PHP courses that might put a fingertip over my future career, I also managed to collect some cultural packages from the various places we visited and from the people we met.

If there is something I love about Germany it would be its people. I noticed that they are not as cold hearted as I suspected. In fact, they are very methodical and kind guests.[…]After this experience I feel that Germany has become a part of me, and a part of me was left in Germany, meaning that after some time, when I will be having my own salary, I will visit Karlsruhe again. I truly believe that leaving the National Informatics Olympics behind in order to attend the “Erasmus K1+” project wasn’t a mistake, but a really inspirational choice.

Vlad B.


My German adventure is defined by the wide range of new aspects which I had to confront- from working in a real-life business environment to self-organisation while sharing a rather cramped room with three other persons. It’s such a fortune they were, in fact, my best friends, which made everything a lot more enjoyable.

All in all, for me, this adventure was mostly about discovery: I’ve realised that IT is absolutely the career path that I want to pursue, I’ve got to know people in such a close way, I’ve seen cities, I’ve visited museums and I’ve tried new things. The idea is that this is what I love most about that mobility. It made me feel richer: not in money, not in posessions, but in the things I’ve learned and those I’ve felt and seen.

Andreea P.


Diane Arbus once said „My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been”. This is one of the most relatable quotes I could find on the Internet while researching for this essay. Visiting new places can be extremely exciting, especially when you’re doing it with your best friends. In this essay I’ll talk about one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had in my life, the Erasmus+ mobility project in Karlsruhe, Germany. It all started last summer, when one of my friends called me and said that the project was accepted. I don’t even know what was on my mind in that moment. Happiness, excitement, but also fear. The fear of living on my own for 3 weeks. A lot of weeks passed by and the exams we had to take for entering the project were getting closer. I always tought that it won’t be a problem for me, but as they were closer, my level of nervosity was growing. More and more every day. A few days before the exam I helped some of my friends with preparing for the Informatics exams. They were stressed and nervous. I was stressed and nervous. Everyone was stressed and nervous. Even if you are one of the best in a specific domain, you still get nervous when it’s coming to taking exams. It’s in the human nature.

[…] The results were posted. Excitement everywhere. Everyone we wished to pass, had passed.[…] After all this state of mind passed, I started to be happy, because I was going to spend 3 weeks in Germany. 3 weeks away from home, parents. 3 weeks with my friends. What can be more exciting than that? So here we were, on a beautiful night of March, a group of awesome people all in a bus, going to the airport. You could feel the excitement only just by looking at our faces. After a 6 hours ride on a bus, 2 hours of flying and another 3 of travelling with a bus we arrived in Karlsruhe, the city which was going to host us for the next 3 weeks. The city was quite stunning, and our hostel was situated relatively close to the city center, only a 5 minutes walk.[..]

Alex M.


Day 21

11 am. Time to get on the flight back home. This trip has been the best experience of my life. I remember how scared I felt the first day but now I am so happy and relieved.

The hostel and living with 3 more girls in the same room for 3 weeks turned out to be awesome.  We laughed and we fought on and on and yet, we got along. The food there was delicious. Even though we had spaghetti 4 times a week, we got used going at 6pm at lunch at the cafeteria. The chef was a small and chubby guy. We even got to be friends with him. He always gave us more dessert.

The company and the courses have been full of surprises for us. The trainer was a great person, he was very calm, passionate and always there to help us. Waltraud, our coordinator was one of the most interesting persons I’ve ever met. She had a special way to embrace life. Even though she was almost 50, she was positive and seemed very young.

The city, which looked a lot like Iasi, made us feel like home. The combination between old and new buildings was very stylish. The only thing that we didn’t like was that the closure hour was 8pm at every store so the only thing we could do at night was to walk in the park or explore the center. […] All summed up, this experience was life changing for me because the trainings and what I saw in that company made me decide that I want to be a programmer. Moreover, I want to keep on traveling because this is the only way you can really get to know the others and to know yourself.

Andra C.

I know that the main point of this project was to develop our programming skills, but I can’t avoid the fun part. I was lucky enough to have almost all my classmates with me and because we already knew each other we had more fun and we spent some unforgettable moments. Because we stayed together for three weeks we had to learn how to be tolerant, how to be patient and of course, and probably the most important, we learnt more about each other and we got to know better, because we saw every one of us in situations which for sure we didn’t until that moment.

Ioana P.


I really liked the people from Alfatraining, they were very kind and communicative. I also loved the way Germans promote their touristic attractions.All in all, Germany was one of the most developed countries I’ve visited and I really enjoyed staying there for 3 weeks. I liked everything, excepting the internet connection, but it wasn’t that important… We had a great time there, so we didn’t need the internet to prevent us from getting bored.

Claudiu M.


These are things that I liked , but are two things that I hated when I was in there, german food and the speed of wi-fi. These were things that I have observed in three weeks as I sat there. Germans are wonderful people, they have a beautiful country and they know how to live their lives as to be happy.

Ionut A.


I am proud to be one of the students that went on this so called “adventure” and I cannot be more thankful for the opportunity I was given. It is obvious that the improvements made were not only based on my knowledge, but also on my personality and future career decisions. I discovered that I was surrounded with amazing, intelligent and humorous people, and life lessons that change something about me when we returned. Life is really about experimenting and learning continuously.

Maria C.


The trainer was open-minded, yet professional, the city and it’s surroundings were beautiful, the company’s representatives were really nice, and their English was flawless!

George C.


Our staying in Germany was awesome! We saw a lot of cool things, we learnt more about Germany and the life in a western European country, but, most important, we now have a good base on PHP, thanks to our training program. I really enjoyed the courses at alfatraining and I’m sure the things I learnt there will help me in my future career in the IT domain. The person who held the courses was a good teacher and he succeeded in opening our eyes and make us understand how websites work and how to create a dynamic one. It was a real pleasure working with him.

Catalin F.


At the Alfatraining center, our trainer was really nice and polite as well. He was willing to help us with every single problem we encountered and he did a great job at giving us ideas and explaining how to solve issues. The working stations were well organized and cleaned every day. The cafeteria was also really nice, spacious and with affordable prices for those who opted for getting cooked food or something sweet, apart from the lunch packet we got from our hostel.

There weren’t many things I didn’t like but there had been an aspect that wasn’t so enjoyable: the rooms we were staying in were built quite small, in a boarding school manner. This wasn’t really a problem but most of us, students, weren’t used to sharing rooms , especially in groups of 4 for such a long period of time.

To conclude with, I could say that my German “adventure” had it’s ups and downs but honestly, there were mostly ups. It was a good learning experience, both for learning PHP programming but also for learning how to stick to a program and how to manage your budget. I would most definitely advise students to enroll in this kind of project as a part of a learning experience.

Consuella G.


I believe that in order for an experience to be called an “adventure” it needs to have its so very necessary ups and downs. So there we were, 24 of the brightest students with three amazing  and devoted teachers by our sides, ready to conquer German Karlsruhe and its surroundings (and, of course, to reach our primary goal – to finish our websites), after so many months of waiting, preparing and getting excited. […] In the end, I can affirm I am very glad that I had this unique and extraordinary experience I could certainly never forget. But for the wonderful group I believe that I would not have enjoyed it as much.

Patricia G.


Karlsruhe is a fascinating city, and I’m glad I got the chance to walk the streets, to breath the foreign air, to witness the simple, yet so peaceful lives of ordinary german people. In Romania, everyone seems to be forever on the run, agitated, stressed and this is what makes the atmosphere so much different than the one in Germany.

This journey abroad wasn’t my first, but I can say it was the longest and the most memorable one I have experienced so far. I have learned so much during those weeks,  not only Web Developing, but also cultural and historical facts, German customs and traditions that helped me grow both professionally and personally. It was by far the best trip of my life and I am sure I would’ve certainly regretted if I hadn’t signed up for this European project 7 months ago…

Bianca G.


Life is all about experiences, that is what I like to believe. Experiences that help you grow, experiences from which you learn something about yourself and what you are capable of, where you meet new people and discover the way you react and behave in certain situations. As we grow up, these experiences become more diverse and challenging, and one of these was, for me, my departure to Germany with an Erasmus+ project I took part in.

[…] Now, I can honestly admit that I did not expect it to be easy at all, but I am quite proud of myself for handling the situation with calm. Even though the accommodation was a little bit crowded (sharing my room with 3 other people) or the schedule being tiring, I truly enjoyed the things I have learnt, the places I have visited or the people I have met.

The thing I enjoyed the most was, however, the independence that we had. And by independence I mean being fully responsible of almost everything that happened to us. Excepting the courses we had to attend and the group activities, it was up to us to efficiently manage our time and our resources in order to complete our tasks. There was no one to constantly remind us what we have to do, so we had to take care of ourselves. Everything we have done on our own, from getting around the city, making use of maps or directions, using public transportation or managing our money, helped us grow and mature. And I am convinced that this little “adventure” will prove to be priceless for our future selves.

To conclude, growing up sometimes means getting out of our comfort zone and learning to trust ourselves more. I will cherish this experience for a very long time and it will be remembered as one of the most important events from my high school years.

Dana I.


First and foremost, I must say that this trip to a totally foreign country was indeed a true „adventure”, one that I may never be able to relive as I did now. And just like in any adventure, we went to Germany with enthusiasm, achieved our planned goals and came back victorious![…]

I never tought that a country so close to mine could be so much different. That brings us to my next liked thing, which is pretty much everything related or in that country. As I have said previously, everything there was different: the people, the technology, the architecture and much more. I fell in love with all of them. I felt as I never wanted to leave that place, that I wanted to just stay there in that complete paradise forever.

Dragos M.


I really liked Karlsruhe. I think it is a nice city with a very beautiful castle. The image of the castle will definitely stick in my head. The other cities that we visited were beautiful too.  Another image that I will hold onto is the first piece exhibited in ZKM, called „Power”. I found it incredible. It was modern, it was different but it was essentially a memorable piece of nothing but art.

Isabela N.


    Never have I thought that it would be possible for me to take part in such a demanding and complex project like this one. I know it is said that we all breathe the same air, but to my belief, the German experience was like a breath of fresh and pure air, after just inhaling the insufficient oxygen from home. The “adventure” had its ups and downs, but I would say that the positive parts were more numerous than the negative ones.

[…]     Firstly, I would like to mention the bonding that was created between us. In my opinion, this is the thing that we should all be grateful for, because in school we are not given the opportunity to communicate as much as in this type of projects. Working together for three weeks, spending time together all day long, sleeping in rooms of 4-5 persons and being apart from our parents, made us become closer. We taught ourselves to be more helpful, understanding and open.

Ioana P.


       We visited many places in Germany : Durlach, Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe and others. Anywhere we were I observed that they preferred to keep the old infrastructure,also I observed how clean is everything, that Germans like to respect and take care of the nature (when I walk through the city I saw many flowers and nobody was trying to pick them and also I saw many trees) and they like the silence.

      I liked the fact that in every morning I saw people making jogging or going to work with bikes and less with cars . Another think that I liked at people is that they were so happy and  full of joy. Even if you were in a bad mood , with their happiness, they could make you feel better.

Marina P.


Germany was a real adventure in the end. I was with my friends and that made everything better, even the worst parts because we always end up laughing. Although not everything was my cup of tea a learnt a lot and I am thankful for this experience after all, I guess you have to take the good with the bad. I am sure I am not going to forget it anytime soon or if I am going to forget anything that will probably be the bad parts.

Andra U.


Besides the classes, almost every day we had activities planned. We visited a lot of other cities, museums and sites, but what I liked the most was the Zoo in Karlsruhe. The day we went to Europa Park was one of those unforgettable days when I had so much fun, it will be in my memory for a very long time. Although it was a rainy day, that didn’t stop us from having the time of our lives.

All in all, I think it was an unforgettable experience.  We learned a lot of  new things, not only PHP, but also things like how to be more independent or how to manage your time and money better and I think that if I’ll ever have another opportunity like this one, I will sign up for sure.

Miruna V.