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Studied in Munich: Stephanie Shousha

Stephanie Shousha studied abroad from 2012-2013 at LMU Munich during her second year of undergraduate studies at McGill University in Canada. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Water Resources in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Montreal. 

PLANNING AND PREPARATION

Why did you choose to study abroad in Germany, and why did you choose LMU Munich? Studying abroad was the one thing I wanted to accomplish during university. Since I was a biology major with a minor in German, in my opinion it only made sense to spend a year in Germany.  At LMU I was able to take biology courses (or equivalents) in English while also getting that first-hand experience with the German language in other classes. When making my decision of where to study, I was deciding between Munich and Berlin. I honestly made my choice based on the look of pictures from Munich!

How did you learn about study and research opportunities for international students at LMU Munich? I learned about study opportunities at LMU through McGill University study abroad information sessions.

LIFE IN MUNICH/GERMANY

How would you describe student life at LMU Munich? What did you find the most rewarding and challenging about your time in Germany? As an exchange student coming from Canada, it was initially impersonal and lonely. I was taking master level classes because those were the only ones offered in English, but I was not registered in a master’s program. Therefore, I bypassed all the master’s welcome sessions, the “get to know who your classmates are”. Additionally, it was probably for that same reason, that I was unaware of the “Welcome to Study-Abroad-Students” sessions. However, making German friends was one of the most rewarding parts of my time abroad. I was living in the Olympiadorf and met my neighbour the first evening I landed. He was German and introduced me to his German group of friends. I spent the whole year with Germans and that was definitely the most rewarding part of my study abroad experience. I will say that really getting to know these people took a lot of time. It was a good two months before I could comfortably call them” friends”, but I think that happens when anyone moves to a new place.

I also really liked the cafeteria at Großhadern campus because it was big and food was cheap and good. There are no common cafeterias in Montreal universities, and having a place where students from every lab and every program could eat at the same time at the same place was very cool!

What was, as you remember it, your most “German” experience? My most German experience was definitely going to Kloster Andechs, the oldest pilgrimage church in Bavaria. I took the S-Bahn one hour south from Munich and then had to trek one hour through mountains to get to the monastery. I then ate in the Biergarten and stayed for hours while drinking the beer they make at the monastery! It was a spectacular experience.

Tips and Advice

What advice do you have for prospective students considering studying abroad in Munich/Germany? I would say to join clubs, groups, sport teams, etc. As soon as I got to Munich I joined the Munich International Orchestra (MiO) where I met both international and German students. I played with the MiO for two semesters. We had rehearsals once a week and I looked forward to them every single week I was there. It was an amazing experience!

Lara Roessig