Topic outline

  • Topic 1

    It was back in 2018 when I learnt about the exchange programme from my friend Timothy who was among the first student to participate in the programme. I grew interest in it but I never thought that I would get a chance. Anyway I always hoped that one day I would get the opportunity and one year later Madam Edith who happens to be my psychology lecturer back in 2015 in my 2nd year of my bachelor course approached me and asked me how it would feel if I got a chance  to participate in the exchange programme come the year 2020. Without much thought I knew I wanted it. I had enough time to get my travel documents so when it was officially communicated that we would be travelling on 9th march all was ready. Unfortunately we couldn’t travel then since Faith’s visa was not ready. Faith is my schoolmate also a beneficially of the exchange programme. So we had to travel on 11th of March. I was lucky enough to even meet up with professor Sissi Closs  who heads the programme and Belinda who works with prof Sissi before they traveled back since they were in Kenya then.


      I packed up my suitcase and ensured that I had everything I needed. I said goodbye to my friends and left Kilifi at around 5pm to Moi international, Mombasa. I got there at around 9pm. Was all alone since my family lives up country , had no one to see me off but that was okay. I am a big girl anyway. I checked in and within no time Faith arrived and at least I felt much better since am ever nervous around people I don’t know. The waiting bays were full as lot of people were traveling back to their countries due to the corona outbreak.

      At 23:25 hrs our plane took off. I sat next to faith which was really nice. The flight was really nice and I even made a new friend. He was a German and was really nice to me. Due to my short height I couldn’t reach my bag from the cabin and he always offered help. This really gave me a nice perception of German people. We were served with delicious meal and after that I slept the other part of the journey only to wake up as we were landing in Frankfurt at 6:30 am. It was a bit chilly and there were light showers but we boarded a bus that took us to the check point. Here people were too fast and serious as compared to Kenyan airports where everyone seems relaxed and always smiling at you. All went well and we meet with Belinda who had come to pick us. I recognized her fast since we had met before. Were it not for her I don’t know how we would have found our way out since the airport is really big. Thank you Belinda.


      We took a fast train to Karlsruhe and in like an hour we were where I would spend the next three months of my year. On our way to Hadiko  I noticed that people here follow the traffic rules a thing that is not very common in my country. The roads here are very nice and no traffic jams at all.

      We dropped our bags in our rooms and we had to go to the University for some Registration but we could not do it since we did not have some documents. we left and went to have some lunch. Belinda took us to a cool joint and we had Yufka and soda. It was really tasty and tasted like shawarma only that it had more spices and was big. We later went to Aldi supermarket  for some shopping and we bought the sim cards too but unluckly mine did not get registered so I had not internet for that day. Belinda left and we had the rest of the day to rest.


        I got to meet my floor mates. They were really nice to me, they showed me around and how everything runs around here. However the stay was not long since we received an email that the school had been closed due to the corona pandemic and that we had to take the online classes. This was heartbreaking since we hadn’t even been in the school even for a day. Sadly most of the places were locked down that week and i just had to stay indoors. It was boring since most of the floormates had left and there was no activities going on. Prof sissi and Belinda suggested we go back to Kenya and come back later since we didn’t know what course the pandemic would take. We however got a solution to go stay at our relatives place since kenya too had closed its borders.


          i left Karlsruhe to go stay at my cousins place since most of the places and school was closed down.she picked me up on 22nd of March and we drove for like 3 hours to her home which is at Katzwinkel, a municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate west Germany. The journey was long and boring as most of the places were closed due to corona.There were very few cars on the highway. What i loved most was the smooth ride and there was no traffic a thing that is not common in Kenya. And what i did not like was that i was really hungry and at any joint we tried to get something to eat we found that they were closed but finally we found a snack shop where we had some nice cake and coffee for take away since we were not allowed to sit inside.  We finally got home and it was chilly and rainy compared to Karlsruhe which was bit warmer for me.


            On arrival, they welcomed me really well and for the first night we had pizza since they feared that i would not like the German meals. But the following days they cooked typical german dishes i didn't mind eating them since they were really nice.i also loved the homemade pizzas and the fresh strawberries from the farm.

            i noticed that life in the village was a bit different compared to karlsruhe. people were more friendly and said hi everytime we met as compared to towns where everyone seemed busy and never greeted you unless they knew you. Also almost every one knew each other in the village.

            i didn't have much to do so i would help with the house chores and just walk around the neighborhood. i noticed that most of the houses were built in a similar pattern and i learnt that one had to get permission from the authority to build a house even if the land is his or her which is really different back in kenya as one can build his or her home on his land without asking for permission.

            I visited few farms around  and got to see cows,goats ,horses among others.They had different breeds compared to what we have in kenia.The farms too were large and used tractors to do the farming. i loved watching them but i hated the smell when they had to spread manure from the cow-sheds. farming here seemed fun and fast to do.

            At times i would join my aunt for shopping. most placed were closed apart from the supermarkets and some few shop selling food stuffs but later on other shops opened.i learnt that in the village almost every household had a car since the supermarkets and shop were a bit far and the bus would pass every one hour so most people used their cars.There were no trams in the village. The stay also helped me get a chance to learn how german families live and what they did differently from kenyan families.


              During my stay in Katzwinkel I would say that I explored most of parts in the area and I loved how the nature was well taken care of. Being a lover of nature I would take walks in the evenings to enjoy the fresh air and watch the amazing sunsets. But, one place I loved most was the Kleine national forest which was few kilometers from home. So during Easter week I decided to like take a walk into the deep forest. My niece accompanied me since I didn’t know the area well. The forest was really large and had very old trees which really looked some point we got lost and could not get our way back on the truck. We panicked as we were in middle of nowhere and also I had learnt that the forest had some wild pigs which I hear are really aggressive. Luckily we found two forest caretakers and they showed us the way out. They were really polite gentlemen. I learnt that they had come to mark down some trees that needed to be cut down so as to decongest the forest. After walking for more than 3hrs we got home. I was really tired and slept the rest of the day.


                After staying in the village, I came back to Karlsruhe since I thought that the school would re-open. Belinda and prof Sissi got us a room in one of the students houses near the school. I liked the new rooms since they were very close to school and the town as compared to HaDiKo. We had fast access to supermarkets, the tram stops and other shops. The place was really convenient to new floormate were nice but most of them had gone back home but later joined me in June. As much as the place didn’t have much resources compared to what we had in Hadiko we tried to share what we had peacefully. We shared responsibilities like who was to empty the dust bins and buying of the shared items in the kitchen. I was the only female in my floor and I admit that my floormates really respected me. Faith lived in the next floor so any time we needed to meet it was so easy for us. We mostly cooked dinner together and even some days we would invite our friends over. They liked our African food and they would also cook their dishes. I liked the Italian Risotto. Our friends from Italy made it for us and it was simple to make. They used rice, beef and mushrooms and just added some wine to it and that’s it. After dinner we would sit and talk about our different cultures. I learnt a lot from them. They were also here for an exchange programme but they had stayed here since 2019 so they knew how different things operated around here.

                • THE MUSEUMS AND THE PARKS

                  on one Sunday afternoon got bored and i asked faith if we could take a walk to the a nearby park and to our surprise, the palace museum was open. this was very uncommon since on Sundays most of the places are always locked. We decided to go inside and see what was there. The entrance was free and we were directed to the exhibit rooms. There was a lot of history about the town and the nearby towns. We saw the ancient war tools they used during world wars and the  ancient woods they used for  building there houses back then, some were as old as 200 to 300 years. Sadly due to covid -19 some rooms were closed and we didn’t get a chance to see more exhibits.

                  We also visited the ZKM a Center for Art and Media. This had so many exhibits and the best part about it is that it had explanations in English on every Item. They also had guides who would explain every thing to you in case you had a question. We saw guitars and other ancient music instruments and learnt how people created music 250 years ago. It was really interesting how such one building would containing so much amazing information. Like in the museum other rooms and objects were not unavailable due to control of spread of corona.

                   The parks were really amazing. One of my favorites was the was like 10 minutes’ walk from my room. The parks were really clean and cool. They also have seats where one would sit and relax. I loved to go there in the evenings to enjoy the sunset and the fresh air. I also enjoyed watching the ducks swim across the `lake’.

                  • ONLINE CLASSES

                    The school was closed but that did not mean that the classes had stopped we opted for online classes. Which was a whole new thing for me since I had not done any online course be honest I was really disappoint and worried at the same time since I was really looking to experience the actual classes, meet my course mates, my professors physically, sit in the classrooms, learn what they do differently compared to my home university. Was also worried that the online class too would not be effective as the actual to classes maybe due to technical issues a thing that would be common back home. But to my surprise everything worked really well and the classes were smooth and lively. Every student attended the classes and we all participated. The online meeting tools like webinar were easy to use and efficient to use but in some classes it failed and we would use the Microsoft teams or even Skype at time. What mattered is that we attended the classes and learnt.


                      This was taught by Prof Sissi. The course was so new to me since I hadn’t done anything to do with such before. However, the topics were interesting and I also enjoyed learning something new every time since it was taught in English. Every student was given an individual task and also we had different projects we had to work on depending on which group you were in. For the individual assigned task I researched and presented on critical thinking and how it’s related to design thinking. For the master project I worked on waste reduction which we did in a group of five members. I admit t have the best group members ever. They were always there to help if I needed anything. We shared tasks amongst us and I worked on content with Felix and Fabian while Daniela and Lena worked on DITA since they had more experience. We compared how different continents and countries handled the problem of plastic waste and what more needed to be done. I also had the chance to meet physically with Jacob Muller who is the co-founder of Waste Reduction Company and we shared much on how to offer the best solution to plastic waste menace. I really benefited from this project since it was in line with my master degree thesis. I also learnt so many fact on waste management.

                      • THE COMPETENCE COURSES

                        For the competence courses one had to register for any course in those provided by the school. One was allowed to choose any course she wanted. I chose to do Personal and Professional Development which was taught by Dr. Evangelia Markaki.The course was very helpful since I learnt a lot on how to grow myself both personally and professionally. However, we had a technical issue and we could not do the class on webinar so we used Skype all through. It was a bit challenging but we managed to learn as much as we could. I would say the tutor was really good and she involved every one with question and other tasks. I learnt on how to write my C.V in the most professional way possible, on how to prepare for interviews, how to network among others. I also learnt on how to develop myself career wise.

                        What I liked too was the diversity in class. We had student from all over the world. Some were from China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Italy, Greece, and Russia among others. This made class interesting since we shared experiences from different countries. The course too was taught in English. I made two new friends here one from Mexico and another from South Africa. I have not yet met my Mexican friend yet physically but at least I have met Christian who is from south Africa and also lives nearby.

                        I have already started putting into use what I learnt in this course for my job applications and I can thus say that the course was really helpful.

                        • THE GERMAN COURSE CLASSES

                          This was one of the most challenging yet most exciting class I attended. It was taught online too and we had a very jovial and amazing lecturer. She was so patient with me since I was really fast at getting the German words. The course began a little bit late but we managed to cover much of what was was level A1 and it was mostly the basics for normal day life conversations. We always had to make sentences in Germany. The German language is really different from English, it has extra letters and pronunciation is a bit different. The ü, ä, ö, and ß were the new letters. All in all, I learnt some essential words and conversation that I can use on day to day activities like introducing myself or someone else. I also learnt some vocabularies. For example, if I want to introduce myself and say where I come from and live, and how old I am, I would say:

                          Guten Morgen.

                          Mein Name is ndumba.

                          Ich komme aus Kenia .

                          Ich wohne in Kilifi.

                          Ich bin 25 jahres alt.

                          Some of the vocabularies I learnt are;

                          Großelten – grand-parents,

                          Zwillingsschwester- twin sister,

                          bier – beer

                          wasser – water

                          The sentence construction is also different compared to English. This was a bit confusing for me all the time. At the end of the course we did an exam which was also conducted online we are yet to receive the result.

                          • VISIT TO BADEN BADEN

                            This is one of the cities in western Baden-Württemberg and is like 30 minutes using a train. It is known worldwide for its famous holy water that cures many diseases if you bath with it. I learnt about it through Omar a friend of mine. He talked about it and how it is beautiful and I thought why not visit since it was not even far. So, on one Thursday we planned to go there and tour the town. Omar knew more about it and so he was my tour guide for the day. we meet at the Karlsruhe train station that morning at around 8.30 and took the train and in like 30 minutes we arrived at the Baden Baden train station and from there we took a bus which took us to the town centre. The town was really cool with fewer people and was also hilly and more beautiful than I thought. The nature was really cool and more consoling. i noticed that the town has a lot of modern flats as compared to other towns and i learnt that some years back the town was completely destroyed during the second world war.

                            We visited various places in town. I visited the famous Greek church and I was lucky to get inside the building. I also met the priest there who was very kind but we couldn’t communicate much due to language barrier. He explained to us that the church was built in 1863 to serve as the tomb of the teenage son of the prince of Moldavia who had died during a family vacation there.

                            From the Greek church I visited the  Russian Orthodox church was also few meters away.we also had a chance to get inside. It was really different fro the Greek church and was so dark inside a thing that is not in Kenyan churches. We only met a nun there but couldn’t even talk to her cause I was so scared.the church was a bit smaller with no lights buts just afew candles and some small windows which didn’t allow much light to get in.

                            We later visited the beautiful rose garden in Lichtenthaler is located on top of some hill and we had to walk took us like 20 minutes to get there. The garden was great and had so many different types of rose flowers and even seats to rest. Unfortunately we did not get to see the beautiful roses since the summer season had not yet begun and they were yet to blossom.we enjoyed the view from the top and the forest nearby.

                            On our way back we went to Lichtentaler Allee park which was awesome. The park had very big and old trees, water tower and neatly cut grass and some benches too. Finally, we took the bus back to the train station and headed back to Karlsruhe. The tour was worth it and I had a lot to share with faith that day since she had missed the trip to attend the project meeting.

                            • VISIT TO HEIDELBERG

                              This is also another beautiful city with nice visiting sites. Faith and I decided to visit the city to enjoy the views and the beautiful scenes. We boarded a tram to Durlach train station and boarded the train.It took us like 1 hour to Heidelberg central station. From there we took a bus that dropped us at a place near the Heidelberg Castle. We had to walk our way up to the castle and it was really steep climb but when we got up there it was worth it since the views were really amazing. When we got at the entrance we had to pay a fee of 8 euros for us to get inside we paid and we visited the museum in there and had a lot of history and drawings and the bad thing is that they were always explained in German and we had no one to translate it for us. Google translate was of great use that day. We visited later went to a park near the castle and enjoyed the view of the old town as we ate our ice creams since the weather that day was really nice.

                              After some resting, we went down the hill to the old city and walked to old bridge. It was like a one-kilometer walk to there. And there were lot of people there. The place was beautiful and were ere lucky to catch the sunset. The view was great as there were boats and some tourist ferries passing under the bridge. We saw the old bridge gate and it even looked better than in the pictures we had seen on the internet.

                              We later took a walk around the old town. The architecture of the town was on point. The town maintained its old look yet so classy. The streets were very beautiful and were full of people. People here seemed happy and jovial this was evident from the laughters and chats across the streets. We also visited the holy ghost church but we couldn’t get in since the closing time had was a nice building and very attractive. We then walked to a bus stop and took the bus to the train station and boarded a train back to Karlsruhe. Another day well spent

                              • VISIT TO MANNHEIM

                                Faith and i had not planned to actually visit Mannheim but when we missed our train to Frankfurt, we decided to take the next train which was going to Mannheim since it was closer to Karlsruhe and like 45mins long. Were alighted at the Mannheim main train station which was so close to town so this time we didn’t have to take a bus. We decided that we visit the Luisen park so we walked to the tram station where we took the tram and it dropped us right at the gate of the park. We payed 8 euros and we were allowed. When we arrived, there were very few people there and most of them had children so we kind of thought that this was a children’s place. We started our walk and all we could see were really nice flowers, trees, different kinds of birds. The pack was so big that it had a lake in it and we even took a ride on the small boats. We paid 5 euros per person and took one boat for an hour. We saw fish, ducks and even the beautiful flamingos. After the boat ride we went to play chess. They had drawn these big chess board on the ground and it was more fun than the small ones I have always used.

                                 After touring the whole park, we left and took a tram to our next scene which was the wasserturm(water tower) and the water tower garden around it. As much as the weather was not very nice, there were lot of people there. The view was amazing.

                                 We then left and walked down the one of the streets we saw the famous Karl Benz’s first automobile created in the looked more like a three wheeled bicycle to me. We had a döner and walked back to the train station for a ride back to Karlsruhe.

                                • NIGHT LIFE IN KARLSRUHE

                                  Just like any other young person I was curious to know and maybe even party here. But I was really disappointed as most of the clubs and pubs were closed down during the week I arrived here. From march to mid may the clubs were closed and late may when the opened I had a chance to visit(scruffy´s) one of the oldest Irish pub around. The pub didn’t have a lot of people due to the strict social distancing policies so it was a bit boring but the drinks were awesome. I visited the pub several times since it was cool and the staff too were nice. The music was soft compared to what most Kenyan pub and clubs play.

                                  And later when the social distancing rules were lessened, I visit another club. I was accompanied by faith and my friends from Italy so it was fun. I would say that this was the first time I had seen so many people together since the corona pandemic started. I was surprised at how much people seemed not care so much the virus,but anyway I bet we were all tired of staying indoors and we needed to `breath’.

                                  • Topic 18

                                       THE TRANSPORT SYSTEM

                                    they have a very efficient and reliable transport system. I loved how they were always on time and were always had a connection from one stop to another. the street cars(trams), buses and trains were very efficient and always on time as compared to what we have in kenya. in kenza we commonlz use matatus and buses. the highways here are super nice and minor chances seeing an accident.The traffic is really organised and there are no jams. i also liked the idea of using bikes a thing that is not common in kenya since most of our roads do not even have a bike lane.