Distance Learning Abroad: Enchiladas and homesickness

Instead of going to the far north of Europe as planned, Vanessa left for Central Mexico after graduating from high school. She is studying social work in the IUBH distance-learning programme so she can build her professional future in Germany.


My name is Vanessa and I’m from Hanover. Had someone told me two years ago that I would be living and working in Mexico today, I probably would have thought it was a crazy idea. Now I live in Aguascalientes, a city in central Mexico with about 725,000 inhabitants.

MexikoAfter graduating from high school in 2017, just a few months before I moved to Mexico, I had planned to spend a year as an au pair in Denmark or Sweden. But then everything changed: I met my boyfriend who was a Mexican exchange student in Hanover. Then some people I know in Mexico offered me a job: The job was to teach German in a playful way to children at a Kindergarten and look after them. I decided to take the opportunity for an adventure and moved to Zacatecas in December 2017, where I started working just a few days later. I really liked the job and enjoyed watching how quickly the children integrated the newly learned German terms into their language.

I find the Mexican culture extremely interesting, and the diversity and variety in the country is amazing. While Zacatecas, for example, has a desert climate and is rather cool for Mexico, it’s very warm in Aguascalientes, which is 117 km away I have settled in nicely here: I quickly got to know locals, some of whom are really good friends now, and I discovered my enthusiasm for Mexican food: I love enchiladas!

Despite all the positive qualities of the country, I knew I didn’t want to stay here forever. There are a lot of reasons for that: Surprisingly enough, I can’t exercise my big passion, Latin dance, because there’s no club here for it. I see my family and friends from home less and less, and the homesickness was just too much to take. So I had to find a way to secure a future career in Germany while also allowing me to continue working in Mexico for a while.

I’ve always wanted to work with people, and social work offers a lot of opportunities. So I did some research on the internet about how and where I could study social work and came across IUBH. The university and concept behind the programme immediately spoke to me, so I decided to do my bachelor degree in social work there.

I started the programme in October 2018. We’re scheduled to return to Germany in May 2020. My boyfriend plans to come with me and finish his studies in Germany. I’m now working in a different company as a translator. Thanks to my online studies and online exams I can easily work, travel and study all at the same time.


Vanessa is 21 years old and comes from Hanover. She has been in doing a bachelor’s degree in social work in the distance-learning programme at IUBH since October 2018. In her spare time she likes to dance, learn languages and discover the world.

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