Sevgi is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Life & Medical Sciences at the University of Bonn. She found the programme and enrolled via StudyPortals. We asked Sevgi about her experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
Hello, my name is Sevgi Cengiz and I am 24 years old. I am from Ankara, Turkey.
Where are/were you studying and what programme? What degree and how long is your programme?
Right now, I am studying Life and Medical Sciences in University of Bonn. This is a Master programme and it takes approximately two years to finish. I am in my second year now.
Why did you want to study abroad?
There are many reasons why I want to study abroad. One of them is that I wanted to experience different cultures and meet people from all around the world. Now I have many international friends; from Spain, USA, India, Germany and many others and everyday I learn new things from them which is very fascinating to me. One other reason is that I believe it is very important to learn new languages and even though I speak fluent English and my mother tongue is Turkish I felt like It would be very helpful for me in my career to learn at least two more languages, I am going for German and Spanish. Also, from the career perspective, it would look really good on my resume pointing out that I did my Master's in Europe , and in one of the most developed countries in the world.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
Before deciding which university to apply I first checked which countries had the most intense research in medical sciences. I had few countries in my list. Then I checked the publications of the lab heads in the universities. Also, in order not to have financial problems, I looked for countries which did not require tuition fee. In addition to these, I wanted to live in a quiet international city also not very far away from my home country. At the end, I had exactly what I wanted, Bonn- Germany!
Was this your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
This was my first study of choice. But I had other options such as Heidelberg University, University of Göttingen and one in my home country, Bilkent University. I felt closer to Bonn from the beginning, therefore, I chose to study here.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose for this particular location?I have not considered which country to study before. Only after I searched on the internet and asked my friends, I wanted to apply to Germany. I love Bonn because it is peaceful, green and many international people live here. It is also very close to a big city; Cologne, so whenever I want to do something different I can go to Cologne in 20 minutes.
Did you find your study programme on StudyPortals? How did StudyPortals help you in your decision process?
One of my friends told me about this site and I wanted to check for myself. At the end, when I filtered my interests, University of Bonn was right there, so I first learned about the programme here.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
I took TOEFL when applying the programme. It was closer to the language exams I have taken during Bachelor's; therefore, I was familiar with it. I scored 103 which was more than enough for the programme I wanted.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
I understand that application period is very exhausting, sometimes boring and frustrating. But prepare a nice resume, not a copy from examples on the internet, but something from you, what you want and why you want that particular programme. Do not worry if some of your friends are accepted and you are not yet accepted. If you just be yourself and prepare everything they ask, there is no reason for you not to be accepted. Do not give up, keep trying, you will have what you want in the end.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
My family and student loans from my home country are supporting me financially. If you do not have these options, please search if your university is supporting you in any way (housing, etc. sometimes are supported). If this is also not an option, then you should check the work regulations in that particular country you want to study and you can work part-time to support yourself.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?I would definitely recommend Bonn for studying. People are very friendly, almost everyone talks English, it is a very nice and peaceful city. You can walk in gardens or read your book near Rhein during the weekends, during the day and enjoy beer and parties in the city center at night. You can bike to almost everywhere in the city. Many culture events are also present, carnivals, beer fests, Halloween parties, Christmas events and many others. The university has many opportunities for students such as sports, clubs, etc. I would rate my experience with a 9 (because nothing is perfect)
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
I don’t think I would do anything differently if I could do it over again.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
My biggest surprise was to see Germans drinking beer like drinking water. Also, beer being the cheapest beverage in the menus.But after spending a year in Germany, I can understand their reasoning; beer is awesome here!