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Muttenz: Visit from Berlin I

After 48 days of the semester abroad at PH FHNW, Paula Deutschland had a key moment baking a Swiss Sunday Braid ‘Zopf’.

Name: Paula Deutschland
Studies: Secondary school 1 Master
Home university: Technical University of Berlin in Berlin, Germany

When have you actually arrived somewhere? In my case: When did I really arrive in Switzerland? During my semester abroad. Yes, at the beginning of September by train. Travelling by train, nobody pays attention to the weight of your suitcase, it's more environmentally friendly and there's more of a feeling of being on the road, of going away. But it isn't. I had asked myself beforehand to what extent I would notice any difference at all from Germany, from Berlin.

The preparation went without any problems: I was able to arrange everything in German and dealt with extremely friendly and helpful people (a crucial aspect that is very conducive to anticipation.) Even immediately after my arrival, nothing changed: I experienced a great Welcome Week in the first few days, which was impressively well-structured (quite the Swiss way) and brought exciting impressions.

But even though I settled in quickly, felt comfortable and welcome from the beginning, found orientation relatively quickly (in my eyes, the Muttenz campus is an unbelievably wonderful campus in all these aspects)! I got off to a good start in the university semester after the first week, in the end, it was quite unexpectedly a completely different moment that triggered my feeling of having arrived. By the way, after I thought I had arrived more than once.

In a seminar on the topic of "food preparation," we were supposed to make an explanatory video about a food preparation of our  choosing. As a non-Swiss, it appealed to me to try my hand at the Swiss Sunday Braid named ‘Zopf’ and thus get to know something typical of the country. And this is exactly the key: it was the moment when, after various attempts with dough and in the end only with scarves, I finally understood what the secret behind braiding the yeast plait is.

Everyone does it, but almost no one says it. And now I know: It took 48 days until I had exactly this one key moment. I don't know if it happens often, but it did here and it filled me with a real feeling of happiness. On the following day, the 49th, I was in a good mood in the training kitchen of the Muttenz campus and shot the video with my partner.

However, since this experience is very personal and has nothing directly to do with the general life as an exchange student, here are a few more words: As mentioned, I had a great preparation phase in which many things were taken off my shoulders. I got a place in almost all the courses I wanted. So, my schedule was already fixed before I arrived, which can be quite a comforting feeling. So, I knew where I had to go and, thanks to the openness of the people in charge, I started to discover a wide range of the University of Education (a decisive advantage of an exchange semester is the view beyond one's nose and the change of perspective): I took seminars ranging from Kindergarten/Lower School to Secondary II. Since I was free to choose according to my interests, I had a little bit of everything. Without this semester, I would never have been able to deal so explicitly with the topic of multilingualism in the classroom. I am grateful for the semester abroad I gained.

Thank you for the support and constant accessibility! It's great to be here!

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