Newsportal - Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Make the best of your Bochum experience
An unfamiliar language, an unfamiliar campus, an unfamiliar city: going abroad as an exchange student can be quite stressful. Tim Göbelsmann from Erasmus Students Network Bochum (ESN) knows how difficult the first few weeks can be. “I went to France and I remember how helpless I felt at first,” he says.
Even when it comes to daily routine: Where do I do my shopping? How do I plan my semesters? In France, he learned about the ESN, which then assisted him with all his questions. “When I returned to Germany, I wanted to share my great experiences and joined the ESN unit in Bochum,” explains Göbelsmann, who is pursuing a teaching degree. That was in 2018. Today, as vice president at the ESN branch in Bochum, his goal is to make sure that all Erasmus students at RUB know to whom they can reach out if they have any questions, from the very first day.
All ESN events are open to exchange students, international guests and matriculated RUB students. The current schedule is available at the association’s Facebook page.
Students who would like to volunteer at ESN are welcome to come to a meeting or an event to get an insight into the work. From event planning to pick-up service: there are many options to participate.
Established in 1990, the Bochum-based branch is the oldest section of the pan-European network in Germany. ESN was originally founded in Utrecht in 1989. In addition to helping students with their daily routine, the ESN in Bochum also organises theme nights, excursions and pub crawls. “We are there to support students at the beginning of their exchange year, and organise events that are meant to make their time in Bochum a memorable experience,” says Lukas Reinert. He pursues the Master’s degree in bioinformatics and is likewise a member of ESN Bochum. “After my exchange year in Stockholm, I missed the international atmosphere and wanted to have an international exchange in Bochum, too. This is why I became a volunteer at ESN,” he says.
It’s encounters like this that make my work so rewarding.
Reinert meets a lot of people through his networking activities, and sometimes he meets them again by chance: “For New Year’s Eve, I went to Budapest, where I happened to bump into a former exchange student from Mexico. It’s encounters like this that make my work so rewarding,” he says.
The team in Bochum collaborates closely with the International Office. For example, they jointly manage the pick-up service for new Erasmus students from the train station. The students also organise many events together with the International Office.
Herbert Grönemeyer's "Bochum" is always a highlight at the end of our evenings.
Moreover, it’s not just international students who can take advantage of the ESN. “All students who would like to enjoy the international atmosphere or share their own exchange experiences are welcome at our events,” says Lukas Reinert. A nice side effect: at the events you can brush up on your foreign language skills. “And the atmosphere is always great. Once Herbert Grönemeyer’s song ‘Bochum‘ comes on, everybody is singing along. That’s always the highlight at the end of any event,” says Lukas Reinert.
Tim Göbelsmann and Lukas Reinert organise and manage their ESN duties in their spare time, as extracurricular activities. “There are certain periods of time that require a lot of work, for example when new Erasmus students arrive in Bochum. But apart from that, my volunteer work doesn’t get in the way of my degree course,” says Göbelsmann. “It’s much more fun than work. We get a lot back. That’s what makes it so rewarding,” adds Reinert.
17 January 2020