Since 2015 the Office of International Affairs at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has been sending three students every year from the II Semester stream in the School of Social Sciences and S.N. School of Arts and Communication to the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies based on a Memorandum of Understanding and Students Exchange Agreement that the UoH had entered in 2014. Till date nine students have availed of this opportunity from the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology in the School of Social Sciences; from the Departments of Communication, Fine Arts, Theatre Arts from the S.N. School of Arts and Communication.

The students who have returned this year highlight their experience which goes to show that international exposure is of utmost importance for all students to gain.

zarnain

I, Zarnain Manzoor, student of MA in Political Science had my exchange semester at Karl Jasper Centre for Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany and this has been an experience that will definitely shape my future endeavours. It exposed me to an uncharted territory that I might not have otherwise thought of. The purpose of this exchange was to study in a diverse environment from a transcultural perspective. It surely delivered the same for me. I studied about World War 2 in a class full of German students and learned about Brexit sitting with people who actually got to vote for it. Academic exposure was just a part of the packaged experience of living in Heidelberg. I got to travel in Europe which undoubtedly was the best way to learn beyond the classroom walls. I feel a programme like this makes one realize that there is no dearth of opportunities out there and thanks to the International Affairs, University of Hyderabad I now feel I have the substance to explore more of them in my career ahead.

bhavapriya

I, Bhavapriya Thottakad, as an Integrated MA student of Anthropology, had the opportunity to visit the scenic and quaint little town of Heidelberg in Germany as part of the cultural exchange programme between University of Hyderabad and the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University. I took two courses at the Karl Jaspers’ Centre (KJC) and benefitted immensely from the different academic environment. My courses helped broaden my critical thinking and analytical skills as well as supplement my knowledge base. As an Anthropology student, the courses at KJC catered to almost all the areas I wished to dabble in and choosing from among various courses only two courses, was a Herculean task.

I utilized this opportunity to the maximum by travelling around as much as time and money permitted. Accordingly “I learned what it is to live when I was in Heidelberg. It was freedom which was both exhilarating and terrifying.” I feel that these travelling experiences added to what I could take away from living life on one’s own terms suddenly and I feel they were more educational than any lecture.

I am immensely grateful to the office of International Affairs, University of Hyderabad and Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University for having presented her with the opportunity to experience life in Europe and in a European University.

harini rajasekhar

As someone who has always wanted to explore different cultures and interact with new people, this three month exchange program at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University, Germany has been a life changing experience for me, Harini Rajasekhar, a student of Communication at the SN School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad says. My interests lie in writing for film and television, thus observing people and culture has always been of great value to me.

The two courses that I took focused on ‘App Cultures and Identities’ and ‘Iconospheres of Water’ – from both of which, I gained immense knowledge and perspective. One plus point, I had, was that my classes consisted of people from varying cultural backgrounds, which led to extremely interesting group discussions with contrasting insights. Overall, I feel that the three month summer term at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg has been “the most enriching experience” of my life so far.

Besides the academic opportunity, I was able to travel in Europe. The solo trip I took to Paris, was a highlight where I explored the city on my own terms, met people from different parts of the world and got to really experience Parisian culture right at its roots. Besides this, some other memorable moments included my time at the picturesque town of Heidelberg, eating authentic Italian pizza in Italy (Florence) and the rather emotionally heavy but eye-opening visits to the Anne Frank House and the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

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