“The University of Mannheim provides a very pleasant environment for international students“

Hieu Nguyen (23) from Hanoi is a student of Media and Communication Studies. He will complete his Bachelor’s program in January. In his myUniMA story, he explains why he would like to work in Germany after graduation.

You are working on your bachelor´s thesis at the moment, what is it about?

Hieu: I am writing about the discourse quality in participative journalism and in quality newspapers. Here, I analyze readers’ contributions and compare their quality with the quality of the newspaper articles. My focus is on the articles about the refugee crisis. There is a research gap in this area, so there is not much literature available. This creates some problems.

Do you already have an idea of what do you want to do after completing the bachelor´s program?

Hieu: At first, I would like to find an internship or a student job. I would also like to pursue my Master’s if my grades will be good enough. If I get a study place here, I would like to stay in Mannheim for the Master’s program. Two months ago, I finished an internship at the marketing and press department of the National Theater in Mannheim. My main task there was maintaining their website, I also created my own brochure. I really enjoyed working there and I can very well imagine working in this field after my graduation. If I can find a job here, I would really like to work in Germany.

What made you decide to study in Germany?

Hieu: I came to Germany four years ago. As a child, I have already been to Germany three times and I really liked the way of life. You have a lot of freedom in Germany. Generally, the Germans are very nice and I enjoy the student life here. I had studied German for a year, when I came to Germany. Before taking up my studies, I´d been also attending a language school in a village near Erfurt for one year. Sure, at the beginning of my studies, it was difficult. My classmates had more experience in dealing with the “classic” texts such as those of Habermas. But, when discussing it with my colleagues in the project group, they told me this is very difficult for them, too, despite the fact that they were German native speakers.

How do you like your program of study?

Hieu: I really like it but you have to work very hard. We have some quite theoretical courses where we have to read a lot. But the main focus is on the empirical methods. I am mostly interested in the quantitative area. This focus on research is the main characteristics of my subject in Mannheim. In general, the University of Mannheim provides a very pleasant environment for international students. There is always someone I can ask for help if I have questions or problems.

Are there any disadvantages for international students?

Hieu: In my program, there are only two or three international students, in some classes I am the only one. But that is no problem because there is no difference between German or international students. I also know a Vietnamese girl, but she was born here, so technically she is German. There are more difficulties, when applying for a job. If you are not a native speaker, your chances are lower. But I think that is something international students who want to work in Germany have to cope with. There are also very nice employers like during my internship for example.

What do you think are the biggest cultural differences?

Hieu: In Germany, you tell what you want directly. In my home country, we communicate more with our eyes than our mouths. I am also a little more introverted. I would say that in Vietnam students have much more free time. Also the studies there are less scientifically oriented. The “universities of applied sciences” there are called universities, too. Most of my friends in Vietnam already have a family. That is something I can´t imagine at this point. If I ever decide to go back, my language skills and my experiences abroad would be an advantage. By now, there are many international companies in Vietnam where you can get a good job. But there are also many applicants and students who return from abroad.

Do you miss anything here? 

Hieu: No, actually I don’t miss anything. At the beginning, I missed my friends but it´s getting better with time.

Interview: Lina Vollmer  |  Photo: Elisa Berdica  |  October 2016