From October 2019 to March 2020, Ms. Li Jusha, a Master’s degree student of sport sciences at Waseda University, visited the German Sport University Cologne as a visiting student through the Top Global University Program. Below is a report from Ms. Li.
On October 1, 2019, I came to German Sport University Cologne (GSU) and started a five-month exchange study in the graduate department of sports management with nervousness and excitement. This is a journey full of unknowns.
In order to allow exchange students to integrate into campus life faster, GSU has paired each of us with a “Buddy.” You can ask your buddy any questions. This has helped us alleviate the anxiety of living in a different culture. My buddy is German, and he was also very interested in Japanese culture. We learned and communicated with each other about German and Japanese cultural issues.
The curriculum and extracurricular activities of GSU differ from those of Waseda University. GSU’s postgraduate courses in sports management are all in English. Unlike the mentor system at Waseda University, GSU’s graduate students do not have a fixed mentor. First-year graduate students mainly learn basic theories about thesis and research. In the second year, students will start to gain in-depth knowledge of sports management expertise. On the progress of the thesis, students need to take the initiative to think. Being an exchange student allowed me to choose any course at GSU. Taking this opportunity, I also chose a non-sports management course across majors.
GSU’s extracurricular activities are very rich. There are free physical education classes in the school every day from Monday to Friday, and students only need to go to the corresponding venues at a given time. There are many types of physical education classes, including yoga, samba, boxing, aerobics, etc. that we are relatively familiar with, and other sports that I have never encountered or even heard of, such as gymnastics, African dance, improvisation, meditation and more. These physical education courses have greatly enriched students’ extracurricular life. In addition, GSU also set up some PE classes for exchange students. I chose the mountain bike class, which was also a challenge for me because I did not have any experience.
The international student group at GSU is very open and tolerant, and I have made a lot of friends. Every Wednesday night is “International Day,” where everyone will gather to introduce the culture and customs of their country and share special food. In addition, every weekend, there will were group activities, such as climbing mountains together, visiting the market, or exploring other cities. In the five months in Germany, I was fortunate to experience the most important Christmas in the West and the biggest carnival in Germany – the Cologne Carnival – and felt a different European style! These are my precious life experiences!