First Impressions – by Erasmus+ student Chansamone Senxayyachak

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Dear Readers,

Before sharing my first impressions of Germany, let me introduce myself. My name is Chansamone Senxayyachak, but you can call me “Em” or “Am” for short. I am 21 years old. I am currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in English at Savannakhet University, Laos.  This is my first blog post on the Laos Experience blog. I am very pleased to be a part of this community. I am delighted to have been chosen as one of two students to study for the summer semester at Karlsruhe University of Education, also known as Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe in Karlsruhe, Germany, with support from the Erasmus+ KA107 program and Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin.

1. I am a student at Savannakhet University

I have always wanted to live and study abroad since I have always thought that going overseas to study will provide me access to extra alternatives and opportunities, different points of view, knowledge, and the chance to experience more facets of life. So I have worked really hard to figure out how to make that happen because I believe that the harder I work, the more opportunities I get. Now that I have the amazing opportunity to study in Germany, I am overwhelmed and feel like I have reached my greatest dreams. I will take advantage of this chance for growth as well as becoming the best version of myself. Some of the instructors from Savannakhet University had already arrived here through Erasmus+ Mobility before I did.


My flights

It was my first time flying and being away from my parents. Mr. Somchai (the other student that was selected to study at Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe) and I flew from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam. Then we changed planes from Hanoi airport to Frankfurt. Experiencing my first lengthy flights, my first journey abroad, and significant time away from my family, I felt a mix of excitement and anxiety. In addition, I was anxious about any possible issues with my passport and visa, but happily, everything went off without any problems.

3. I was in Hanoi airport















My first week

I first arrived in Frankfurt on March 1, 2024. This is my first time in Europe, and the temperature was extremely cold. I was happy and uneasy at the same time. I was a little confused about the German train system because I had never taken a train before and had to take one from Frankfurt to Karlsruhe. Fortunately, most Germans speak English, so Mr. Somchai and I asked someone at the train station about the train that was currently heading to Karlsruhe. The thing I appreciate most about Germans is that they are kind, friendly, and willing to help.

4. Frankfurt airport
5. Frankfurt main train station












After that, it took us about an hour to get to Karlsruhe by train. When I heard the announcement that we were arriving at Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof (the main train station), my heart skipped a beat. My “buddy” Hanna Joy Müller (an international student assistant sent by the international office) was waiting for me there.

She showed me around the Karlsruhe University of Education, and then took me to my dorm. After arriving at my room, we went to a store close to my dormitory. She showed me where to get food and drinks, and she bought me a pretzel (a baked good typically twisted like a knot), which was my first taste of German cuisine. She took me to the Karlsruhe Palace and the city center in the evening of my first day. I was really surprised by these locations, as I had never seen such amazing sights before. We had a great time cooking dinner at her apartment, after we bought some groceries and my German SIM card.

She provided me with nearly everything, including helping me to open a German bank account, showing me where to buy clothes, where to get Asian ingredients, and other important things for my first few weeks in Germany. Hanna, thank you very much!

6. Departure board of Frankfurt main train station
7. My first picture with Karlsruhe Palace












8. Hanna and I explored the Karlsruhe University of Education
9. My dormitory
10. The Pretzel that Hanna bought me











During my first two days here, I walked all around this amazing city. I had a good trip and visited new locations and people, but I also had some jet lag. On my first night, I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. because Laos is five hours ahead of Germany in terms of time, which explained why I was so tired. In addition, the weather in Germany was very cold, which was quite different from Laos, where I am from. But since I enjoy winter a lot, that wasn’t at all a problem for me.

11. wonderful view of the city center

March 4th, 2024, was my first day of university, My buddy took me to the international office for my registration. That day, I met exchange students that came from different countries, such as Israel, Ukraine, and South Korea. We explored the different buildings and rooms in the Karlsruhe University of Education with the assistance of the international club.

We have to take German language courses. I started studying German for the first time in my first session. I have two wonderful, compassionate teachers. Since I’ll be spending six months in Germany, knowing a little bit of German is essential for greeting people and buying food and drinks. For me, the most important thing is knowing numbers. I would say that I enjoyed learning German numbers because they are simple to understand, and they are also really helpful when I go to grocery shops. Furthermore, I truly value the way the teachers teach. They use acting to help me and my classmates understand, and they rarely ever speak in English in German classes.

13. My German class
12. My German class




















After a month

It was time to choose courses. I truly enjoy Karlsruhe University of Education’s educational program since it allows me to register for courses that interest me by emailing the lecturers. I love the university’s study management system Stud.IP because it makes everything simple to discover, including course material. Instructors post their lecture material, the syllabus, links, Forum questions, pre-activities for preparing sessions, and much more on Stud.IP so that students can access the information before any given session. In order to register on the university’s management system, each student receives their own PH-systems email address provided by the university.

On April 15, 2024, the regular lectures began. I chose four courses in the English Department, but I attend six because exchange students also take the “German language” and “Germany Today” courses. The courses I chose are “Linguistics for the Classroom (LFC)”, “Global Englishes and Global Citizenships Education”, and “Planning and Designing Lessons for Primary and Secondary Classrooms (PDL)”. I took those courses because I enjoy teaching and since I have never studied teaching before. So far, I have studied with 6 lecturers, and they are very friendly. I have met a lot of new friends from various classes. They are friendly, willing to help, and eager to answer any questions I may have. I also have friends at other universities, such as Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA).



My first trip in Germany was to Turmberg (a hill located in Durlach, a suburb of Karlsruhe), where I went with friends, exchange students, and the international club. Turmberg is such a magnificent hill. When we got to the top, I was amazed of the view of the entire city below.

14. Trip to Turmberg

Following that, we travelled to Heidelberg. Unfortunately, it was freezing and raining that day, but the city is incredibly beautiful. I particularly adore Heidelberg because it has a large, gorgeous mountain, a charming old town, and a wonderful bridge—such a great combination. After it rained, the city was even more lovely because of the stunning sky.

15. Trip to Heidelberg

The third journey took us to Stuttgart, and we went to the Porsche Museum, where I got to see a variety of cars. It was my first time visiting a car museum, and it was a great experience since I had never visited a car museum before. Later, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to tour the city. That day left me feeling both exhausted and really happy.

16. Trip to Stuttgart
17. Porsche Museum in Stuttgart













The latest journey was to Ludwigsburg, where we toured the inside of the Ludwigsburg palace. The palace is really beautiful and has a fascinating history. The city center of Ludwigsburg is also extremely lovely. I enjoy visiting new places and taking pictures of breathtaking scenery. These places offered me amazing scenery as well as a variety of new experiences, friends, and perspectives.

18. Trip to Ludwigsburg


What I love about Germany so far

As of this writing, I have been in Germany for two months, which means that I had to leave my comfort zone for the first time. Living alone in a place I have never been to before, where I do not speak the language fluently, has taught me how to get by. However, I always tell myself, “you have to be better than you were yesterday.”

Fortunately, the majority of Germans are friendly and willing to lend a hand, and they are also punctual. In addition, Germany has excellent transportation systems, which I truly adore. Travelers may take trains to neighboring countries like France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and so forth. Waste separation is one of the reasons I adore Germany. It is a wonderful idea that every country ought to start. And I have no doubt why Germany is so clean. Germany has laws governing street and road crossing, polite driving, respect for one another, safe crossing, and a high number of visitors from around the globe who wish to visit the country.

I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to live here for six months, during which time I will be able to figure out which experiences were good and which were terrible by the age of 21. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance that I want to make the most of and share with others back home, including my family, friends, and teachers who have always supported me no matter what.

19. Karlsruhe main train station
20. Roads in Karlsruhe
21. Traffic lights for crossing the streets
22. Waste Separation in Germany













After a long time, I would like to thank the Erasmus+ program, Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin, the international relations team at Savanakhet University, the Karlsruhe University of Education, and Savannakhet University for giving me a memorable and valuable opportunity to see and experience a new world. I learned a lot of new things, and I have seen a lot of things that I had never seen in my home country, such as the German education system, excellent transportation, and different ways of life. Furthermore, I have learned many things about living abroad that I had long wanted to learn, including how to solve some problems on my own and gain personal insight from spending time alone.

I firmly believe that those experiences will benefit myself and others in the future. I truly want to share my experiences abroad with my friends and family as much as I can because I would like them to know how wide the world is. And if at all possible, I also want to use the knowledge I’ve gained from the courses I’ve been taking to help my community by doing as much English teaching as I can.

Finally, I would like to say that “I am living my dream life.”


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