- My first impression in Germany
Worrying about settling into a new place can be daunting. The thoughts of trying to make new friends, learning how to get around an unfamiliar place and understanding cultural differences were some of the issues I was concerned about before moving to Karlsruhe, Germany. However, these fears faded fast. Traveling to Germany meant exploring a completely different culture. There were many first impressions on this trip.
First of all, even at the airport, I realized the strict attitude of the people in Germany, in Kenya the staff at the passport check act in a friendly way and want to know well about the place you are going. The staff at Germany airport are more strict and talk less. I immediately start catching up with the different way of life. Moreover, the way from the Frankfurt airport to Karlsruhe was really different to Kenya because I noticed the fewer people in the streets even although it was almost midday compared to Kenya where at midday people have filled in the streets and small business the street.
- Trip to hiedelberg city
One of the best days I remember was when one of our friends Simone organized a ‘day trip to Heidelberg’ for the internationals. We went to for a free tour where we were shown different places and also given the history of the town. Having little understanding of Germany language, the tour was conducted in English which offered a broad opportunity to understand the old and new Heidelberg town. One of my favorite things was a free festival organized in many different areas. I also liked walking around the town and visiting homes of the early prominent people in the old town. Understanding the town better ad the early emperor who build the castle and live in the old town. More so was the stories of how the bridge was built from a year to another and labels in accordance e to the year. It was a pleasure meeting people from various parts of the globe. To my surprise more than three-quarters of the people were from outside Europe which so impressive. More into the Heidelberg tour all the fears began to fade faster realizing that I was not the only person out of Europe.
- My Life in Karlsruhe
Tilmann Hars and Annelie Lamprecht were a big help during my stay because they offered a room in their apartment where I could stay for the rest of my stay in Germany. For many German families, Easter is the first occasion to go outside to celebrate after a long winter. During winter people lack the opportunity to go out because it is dark and no one wants to experience the cold weather in the name of enjoying. The children hunt for Easter eggs in the garden, while the adults go for walks to enjoy the mild spring air. Germans maintain many traditions and customs that make Easter, the most important Christian feast, an enjoyable affair. In my stay in Karlsruhe offered a chance to visit black forest during the Easter festival. It was different from my prior experience in Kenya because mostly during Easter I used to go to church to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was a good time to meet Annelie’s (Tilmann girlfriend) family where I visited their home place. Being in the midst of strange faces was one of the things I cannot forget because to some extent I felt like everyone was watching me. It was enjoyable but deep down in my heart, I felt like I was alone. Sometimes when people are talking and you can hardly understand what they are saying is one of the insinuating moment.
- What differences did i detect in KAworking with Germans portrait friendly, courteous, caring and hospitable behavior. Especially the restaurant staff behaved incredibly official and courteous and they were always in the mood of a providing English menu in when they realized I couldn't speak German. My impression was that German people naturally seem to be in a good mood and express a lot of positive attitude towards life and always ready to help when you ask.
When it comes to agreements and programs, I experienced the Germans as task-based. They seem to be more punctual and never get late. This is what I experienced one of the weeks with united states students. In all appointment, they keep their word. I must admit that food in Kenya and Germany is totally different. I noticed Germans eat a lot of bread in different which in the first days was not common to me. Also looking at German transport, there is a big gap comparing to that of Kenya. The street trams make movement in Karlsruhe compared to Kilifi where street matatus (minibusses) are the main means of transport. Looking at the organization of the market, it's clear that in Karlsruhe there is a shop for everything and price tags are always displayed. in contrast the in Kenya, one shop has everything and the prices are based on bargaining.
How did I manage the differences?
It was quite easy to adapt to the non-friendliness of the people by also being independent, minding your own business and conversing with the friends you have. I believe that expressing a friendly attitude when you are with your friends can help to improve your own mood.
When it comes to eating behavior I experienced a lot of differences, most of all the fact that people eat with forks and spoon which was not hard to cope with.
For easy movement in the street, I was the issue with KVV ticket which I could use for all my stay in Karlsruhe. Ths made movement quite easier and I could learn different directions for it is easy to monitor your movements.
- A visit to the Zoo
A visit to the Zoo was one of m best days in Karlsruhe for I had a chance to experience the nature. Surprisingly most of the animals at the zoo were mostly from various continents of the globe, a few were from Deutschland. value of the biodiversity was well portraited for the carrying give to the animals drew my attention to how I treated animals. it was an amazing day for I had a chance to meet my ancestors and convinced that I evolved slowly. the calmness of people was unexplainable, I could meet animals which I knew I could see in Kenya but they live in the forest thus it was my best moments to meet the lion and other most feared animals in my community like a cheater.
- The "Fremdsein" workshop
Early April I was involved in the "fremdsein" workshop where I met most of the international students and exchanged our experiences in Germany. “fremdsein’, can be described the strange feeling when you go in places away from home, either within your country or in other countries.
The workshop encompassed both germans and non-germans who visited other countries or stayed in different places other than Karlsruhe. One of the guest speakers shared her experience living in Berberian culture. She elucidated how she felt stigmatized and alien living alone, having no one to talk to. Interesting she said all she did was not to take it personally and all strange feeling kept on wethering as time passed by. In the workshop, everyone was allowed to share things which made them “Fremdsein“ and those which made them “Heimat“. The discussion was inspirational for they created comfort in my heart knowing that I was not the only one who was feeling lost.
All those issues discussed at the workshop improved my carriage to live in Karlsruhe knowing that life is meant to enjoy whether I don't get all that they discussed the but the most important part is getting some meaning and understand each other even if is to use unfished sentences and body language. the picture below shows the text group working on various creation for their work.
On the first day, we collected personal views on the word 'Fremdsein' . The picture above shows various things which made people feel foreign in other places apart from their home.
we also discussed various things which made everyone feel at home in their stay in foreign places. various ideas were generated as shown in the figure below. these ideas formed the workings of the text group and each member selected a topic and made some text regarding it.
- The holiday week in Germany
The month of April and may in Germany are the most valuable for there are many holidays after the cold winter. Coming to Germany offered an opportunity to have more holidays compared to Kenya. One of the holidays in the free week where student are given one week to rest. For me, it was a new thing which portrayed a new experience. The week is one of the unforgettable for Herr Hars friends invited us for barbeques and working some stuff in their garden. This reminded my farming activities back home where we could stay in the garden enjoying the good moment and setting up a swimming pull.
- Trip to Heidelberg Druckmaschinen
The visit to Heidelberg Druckmaschinen sharpened my digital documentation of manuals and operation of the improved machine. visiting the biggest printing section the Europe and more so in the world revealed the idea why Germany is most technological based country and this to some extent makes it a superpower. owning the highest technology which is dreamed by many nations powers the economy making Germany a valuable asset to the improvement of human technology ang documentation in the digital globe.
- Visit to TeKom
The European Association for Technical Communication (Tekom) is the largest professional association for technical communication worldwide. A visit to Tekom was one of the educate moment, sharing about how to creating and delivering information products for the safe, efficient and effective use of products (technical systems, software, services). In the current generation, the state of the art and most preferable way of information delivery is the use of electronic media, on a suitable device. Understanding the certification and publication of work online gazed my experience on best ways to share research results and passing ideas to other parts of the world.
- Studying in Kenya and united states
In early may we joined two students, Jace and Lindsay, visiting from Minnesota State University accompanied by Prof. Lee Tesdell. There was an organized program for the visitor and we connect with the group in the giving a talk on how studying in Kenya and united states was like. I shared Pwani background and how the education system is different from Germany one. I also deduced my life in Pwani as a bachelor's students and how ended up joining my master course in Pwani later. Reflecting my experience in Pwani, there was a total turn around in my life when I had to make a decision and I realized the small decisions we make towards our goal are the most important building blocks to our success. Understanding the education system in United State was an impressive view and more specifically studying at Minnesota State University.
- Master Course Information Architecture
In my first week, the Hochschule Karlsruhe organized so many events to help all the international students settle into the city and discover all the fun things going on. During this week we got to meet other people studying abroad as well as what courses each of them is studying and we had a chance to meet masters students from prof dr. sissi Closs.
In the master class, we were introduced to different projects which were being undertaken by the different groups. I was happy to join a group for a family planning project. Discussing how to educated women in Kenya by producing study material using pictures, and enlightening women more on different family planning methods, their usage and likely side effects. Furthermore, bringing to men‘s attention the importance of family planning in order to have a better spacing of children ad having the sustainable family size for better education of their children.
Having been deeply involved in the Women Empowerment in Kenya (WEIKE) Project, interacting and discuss family planning in Kilifi was provide wide knowledge on challenges facing women and this calls empowering the women in Kenya through family planning and providing economic resources for their livelihood
With the help of my project colleagues, we were able to produce materials for different target groups such as the educators, women and men as well as entering the backlog to the DITA accompanied with Oxygen for the Information architecture course.
I was integrated into the family planning project since I have a well build interaction with women for the last two years in Kilifi. Empowering women help in addressing pronounced challenges faced by women in Kenya. Understanding the problems faced by women led to the development of my master's thesis in order to understand how the devolved Kenya government enhance women empowerment politically, socially and economically and provide remedies to involve women in vital decision making in public office.
In addition being involved in creating a learning platform (KARLIFI) where students in Karlsruhe and Kilifi can share ideas, learn and circulate information and will be glad to pass the knowledge back at my home university. Also provision of learning platform where students can enrol to the different cause for better exchange between the two universities.
- What did i fear most and how it tourned out
Before I visited Germany I was a bit scared about the meeting and how they would react to us. Not only did I not know how Germans will treat me having the stereotype that Germans are kind of racist and how I would react to the get-together, I also didn’t know about their reaction meeting us, if it would be a friend or an unpleasant atmosphere. Also, I was unsure how the communication will be because most of them speak German.
It turned out to be a really exciting experience. The people we more welcoming and paid attention to my concerns. Simone and her team welcome us for the meeting, translating from German into English and vice versa. Even during most of the classes most of the presentations were made in English which made learning environment favourable. In this way, it was possible to get to know something about different projects which were being undertaken even though we couldn’t talk to them directly due to the language barrier. This really impressed me.
I had fears if I could find my Kenya food in German surprisingly we could find some Ugali through the help of Simone which was so impressive.
- Trip to Biberrach and Durbach
Living in a foreign place changes your behaviour in different perspectives. Sometimes touring different cities gives more experience in new place. Visiting Biberach was one of the best experience of cities in the outskirts of Karlsruhe town. we first visited burg Gereldseck (ruins) where we met Simone's father. He was very nice to us, giving the history of the ruins, how Germans fought against French. knowing a place better gives more ideas and how different neighbours coexist peacefully after a long search for peace. later we visited his home where he had prepared the strawberry cake. this was amazing moments, getting to know each other and sharing a meal with him.
We also visited the strawberry farm. you might be missing home but when you find activities which draw you close home, it becomes the enjoyable moments. Picking strawberries was a good experience.
later we joined our friends Belinda and Jeniffer at Durbach and visited Schloss Stauffenberg. walking around the vineyards was an amazing experience. Every time you spend with friends and share experiences, account more on your remembrance and appreciating good friendship.
- German course
Learning about the new life needs communication for passing information. Attending a German course was one of the memorable moments because I could learn the basics. Knowing how to introduce myself in a new language was one of the most important things I learned in the German course. My first day was so horrific because now I had to learn pronunciation and communication skill in German. A few weeks later it became my norm, practising every day, trying to communicate with few words. I learned various important areas in Karlsruhe and identifying factors.
Knowing the language and many others activities made life and my experience easier as I could understand a few words in a sentence and know what the conversation is about. One thing I should admit is that learning never ends and we should always be grateful when we learn new of life. All these experiences we get are the ones which make life worth living for.
Start focusing on growing yourself you won't have any time to criticise anyone else the more we realised to appreciate and recognise the potential in ourselves not recognise the potential is absolutely everyone don't worry about what anyone else is doing your life is about growing yourself and investing in yourself and meeting your true potential you're not in competition with anyone else and you know what the funny thing is no one is you and that is your superpower that's what makes you that's what makes you unique that's what it is about you don't make a difference in the world.
Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect moments. We learn to appreciate each other for the contribution they have made in our lives. Holding what you want to achieve makes us more focused and define what we need. Every decision we make in life has its consequences, but we should be concerned about the extra mile we are about to start and plan better for paving way for other people. Showing concern for those who love you adds to your joy and we learn from our friend and make substantive choices, not to benefit us alone but also to have a great impact on the society around us.
- A visit to Munich
Moving to a different city is an exciting adventure for many. But when the excitement fades, what is left is often loneliness and feeling out of place. One of the things that we all have to deal with is "fish out of water" feeling, that feeling of unfamiliarity when you walk down the street, walk into a mall or drive around the city. this can be dealt with by visiting other cities and experience other cultures. It was my first time to be in Munich everything was new and exciting, having a tour around the city; learning barbarian culture was one of the amazing adventures in my stay in Germany. This way, I discovered other interesting places in Germany. This gave me the confidence to talk to people and make friends. The fact that they recognised me made it easier for me to feel at home.