Niousha Firooznia is in her second semester studying linguistics and educational science at the University of Bremen. The 26-year-old grew up in Iran and came to Germany to study three years ago. It took her a while to find her way to the University of Bremen. But ever since she’s been here, she feels like she’s in the right place. Why? Read the interview to find out.
Niousha, why do you feel so comfortable at the University of Bremen?
Because there’s so much to do here. There are so many groups and institutions you can get involved with. That makes it easy to get to know other people. For example, the International Office, or IO for short, is very important for me. I also have a part-time job there. It helps me finance my studies. But IO is much more than that. It’s a university institution that helps students from other countries to get settled in Germany and in Bremen. I know how valuable that is from my own experience. For instance, there’s a buddy program: every newcomer is paired with an experienced student who shows them everything and even takes them to parties. This makes it much easier to feel at home.
I’m sure your language skills also helped you, right?
Of course – language is really important. I knew that before I braved the step to come to Germany. That’s why I attended language courses in Iran and practiced a lot. I’ve always had a soft spot for languages. I find it fascinating to see the structure of different languages, how they differ or resemble each other. Did you know, for example, that Arabic and German have almost identical grammar? I only realized that here during my studies in linguistics, even though I speak both languages. Discoveries like that make the subject so exciting for me. Now, in hindsight, I don’t understand why I didn’t just start with linguistics at the University of Bremen. When I came to Germany, I first tried architecture at another university. But that didn’t work out at all. I’m glad that chapter is over.
What’s different now?
Here at the University of Bremen, I feel better supported. The lecturers are extremely helpful. And there are also tutors. Those are experienced students who will help you in your first semesters – for example, when it comes to writing an essay for the first time. They don’t do the work for you, but they give you good tips so you can learn how to do it. I also had a good start in educational science, my second subject. We learn in a very practice-based way. Recently, for example, we discussed in a seminar why students like to make excuses – what’s behind them and how we as teachers should deal with them. Usually, they [the students] are just afraid of failure. That’s why it’s important for teachers to take the students seriously in that moment and respond to them as individuals.
Do you want to work as a teacher after you graduate?
I don’t know yet. I really enjoy teaching. In Iran I taught math and English to children between three and six years of age for a while. It was great to see how fast they learn. So I could envision that. But there are so many other possibilities too; I don’t want to commit to any one thing yet.
Do you have a tip for anyone considering studying at the University of Bremen?
That’s pretty simple: join in! No matter what’s on offer, it’s worth taking part. During freshers’ orientation week (“O week”), for example, I tried out a lot of things and therefore got to know a few people who I still meet up with regularly. In general, O week is super important. Your StugA will certainly have something to offer. StugA is an abbreviation for study program committee [Studiengangsausschuss], which is simply a group of older students. At other universities, this is also called the student council. They give you lots of tips for university life, such as how to put together a timetable or who to talk to for what area at the university. That is very practical for the beginning, when everything is still new and unfamiliar. But I would also recommend the recreational activities. A pub tour through the Bremen district is probably the best way to get to know the city. Oh, yes, and one more tip: go to GW2 to study. The cafeteria serves the best cappuccino on the entire campus.
Niousha Firooznia grew up in Iran and came to Germany to study three years ago. The 26-year-old is part of the student marketing campaign #YOUKNOWWHY. Find out more about Niousha’s academic experiences and why studying at the University of Bremen might be right for you: website YOUKNOWWHY