Distance Learning Abroad: God Save the Queen
Despite high rents, a lack of brown bread and being away from home, Hinrika has gained a lot in the cosmopolitan city of London: career opportunities, new friends and a wholehearted enthusiasm for the British royal family.
Good morning! My name is Hinrika, I am 25 years old and have been living in London since 2014. I was born and raised in Leer, a town in beautiful East Friesland, the coastal region in northwest Germany. My childhood on the parental farm could not have been better, but about three years ago, it was time for the big city.
So after completing a training programme in tourism management I moved to London. It had to be the British capital because I had been incredibly impressed by the place during previous short visits to the city. I wanted to improve my English, challenge myself and, after all, London is only a one-hour flight away from home – if things get rough, I can always catch a quick flight back. 😉
London – I’m staying here
I work in sales and product management for a destination agency that organises group travel within the UK and Ireland in the B2B sector. After a few month it was clear to me that one year is far too short to explore London’s diversity and grow professionally. For this reason, the decision to extend my leave from beloved home, family and friends for an indefinite period happened relatively fast. In April 2015, I started my IUBH Distance Learning bachelor’s degree in business administration (B.A.) in order to combine my career development with higher education. Originally, I planned to spend a year here and then start of classic full-time degree programme in Germany – that was more than three years ago…it’s incredible how fast time flies!
Flexibility: a challenge and a blessing
IUBH Distance Learning has many advantages for me: Should I decide at some point to move back to Germany, I will end up with a degree based on German content, which is certainly advantageous particularly for judicial subject areas. In addition, I can work full time, earn my own money and at the same time advance my career. It is also beneficial that IUBH offers a very flexible degree programme where I have the freedom to set up the dates when I take exams and the order in which I complete modules. Nevertheless, it is still an enormous challenge to integrate distance learning into everyday life. At the beginning, I had serious doubts about managing it all without neglecting work, my social life or studying. It demands a high level of motivation, perseverance and stamina – but thankfully, everything has worked out well for me.
New friends, thanks to exams
I take exams once a month on Monday at the Goethe Institute in London and my employer gives me the morning off for this. I am very grateful for this tremendous support. Through taking exams, I have met a few fellow students and we have become friends. We recently set up a “Stammtisch” so we can meet informally on a regular basis. One is thus not completely alone when studying and we can always exchange ideas. The degree programme has also already helped me out professionally: I now manage of team of about ten people.
Not much brown bread, lots of royalty
I quickly got used to the high rents for a room in a shared flat and the differences in standard of living compared to Germany. I do not miss much – except perhaps a bit of “genuine” brown bread, which I always, however, bring with me from Germany. I have gained a lot by being here, especially a great admiration for the royal family. It is magical how the people love and adore the Queen, Kate and William. I have already had the great fortune to see all the family members live at the annual “Trooping the Colour”. This military parade takes place every June in honour of the Queen’s birthday (or the respective monarch). It is a spectacular event and ends with the royal family gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch the flyover of the Royal Air Force. A definite must for all fans of the royal family!
Move your feet, your body will follow you
Although I do not usually live my life according to a motto, this catchphrase helped me get through the first steps. I think it takes a bit of courage and determination to get out of your comfort zone and move the centre of your life to a different country and start of distance learning degree programme. So I enjoy remembering the saying I picked up on the streets of London: Move your feet, and your body will follow. We will see what the future holds with the Brexit negotiations, but right now London is the place to be for me.