Kati Weissert studied automotive engineering at Kettering University in Michigan, USA. In October 2021, she came to Esslingen University for a semester abroad in the INTAP Programme.
My stay abroad in 5 words…
Exciting, enlightening, fast, welcoming, fun
Deciding for Esslingen
A part of my family lives in Germany, so I’ve been to Germany to visit my family quite a few times before. In my high school times, I took part in an exchange programme for 3 weeks and stayed in Freiburg with a host family and also visited the German school, the Gymnasium. As I heard that Kettering had an exchange programme where it is possible to go to Germany, I immediately thought “I have to do that!”. Also, I had friends who did the programme/exchange before and who liked it very much. Coming to Esslingen was the first time I came to Germany without my family. As Esslingen is close to where my Oma [Grandma] lives, this was also a big plus.
Studying at Esslingen University
Studying in Germany is very hands-off from the professors point of view. Students have to be very disciplined, you always have to ask the teachers for practice problems and study guides actively; In the US we always have mandatory homework and tasks to hand in during the semester, so we have collected buffer points over the semester and do not just have one exam in the end. I had a propulsion class with other foreign exchange students, e.g. from Mexico, so I made a lot of new friends this way. As I already knew German I couldn’t take the A1 German class with the other exchange students, but took the B1 class. The other students in my German class were not necessarily exchange students, but it was interesting learning about their future plans. The teachers were very friendly and I had a lot of fun while studying.
Living in Esslingen
My stay in Esslingen was the first time moving out of my home country because the times before felt more like vacations. It was also the first time I moved out of the house which is close to where my parents live and where I can just drive by anytime. In Esslingen, I lived in the dormitory in Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse. It was nice living there, I made a couple of friends that lived across the hall or in another floor. On Wednesday nights we have often been to the bar in the basement, this way I got to meet and talk to a lot of people.
About my worries and what I was looking forward to
My biggest worry was that I would get pick-pocketed on one of my trips. But that didn’t happen, I had a money belt and everything went smoothly.I was looking forward to the most seeing my Oma [Grandma]. Also, travelling alone/with friends was a thing I was looking forward to very much. In my time in Germany I travelled a lot and visited 10 different countries. In Germany I’ve been to Munich, Heilbronn, Stuttgart and the ‘Kürbisfest’ [pumpkin festival] in Ludwigsburg. Other than that, I visited Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, London, Greece, Luxemburg, Vienna, Salzburg, Italy (Verona and Venice) and Paris.While travelling it was often pretty rainy, but when we went to Salzburg it was such a gorgeous and really nice and sunny day. That was one of my most beautiful experiences during my semester abroad!
About my free time and German food
In my free time I ate a lot ;-). I had a ‘Butterbrezel’ everyday and did ‘Kaffeezeit’ as often as possible. I also did shopping in Esslingen and Stuttgart. I really like all the German food because it’s something I grew up with. My favourite German food is Butterbrezel and Sauerbraten. The ‘Kürbismaultaschen’ (German ravioli filled with pumpkin) I tried in Ludwigsburg were also so good!
What I would like to say (to future incoming students at Esslingen University)...
Enjoy your time and live in the moment, it does go so quickly!