“When I went to study in Germany, I didn't know a word of German”
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Seeing his application for a master’s degree refused at Oxford can be a chance. The proof, the course of the British Phoebe Brunt. “Before applying to Augsburg, I applied to Oxford. When I received the rejection letter, I was disappointed, but also relieved because studying there in postgraduate studies would have cost me several tens of thousands of pounds, whereas in Germany I could study almost for free” , she says in Tea Times.

It’s up to her “transatlantic education”, between California – where she spent her early childhood – and England where she grew up, which Phoebe attributes to her taste for travel. In 2016, after three years of higher education in the United Kingdom, she decided to “packing up”. “The consequences of Brexit were still uncertain and like many other graduate students in the UK, I wasn’t sure what was in store for me, but I didn’t feel like waiting to see the world.”

Phoebe says that when she arrived in Augsburg, where she had enrolled in a master’s degree in British and American studies, she spoke not a word of German. “The university accepted to enroll me as a ‘German complete beginner’ student. It took me a while to master the language. On the other hand, it was easy to make friends because around 30% of the inhabitants of Augsburg have an immigrant background. Besides my dear German friends, I was able to meet other people from Russia, Kazakhstan, India, Italy or Ireland.”

Successful integration

In total, it took Phoebe four years to complete postgraduate – twice as long as if she had continued her studies in the UK, but she does not regret her decision. In addition to the maximum mark obtained for her thesis, she was able to benefit from the status of residence in January 2020, when the United Kingdom officially separated from Europe, thanks to her work as an English teacher and tutor. for undergraduate college students.

Now employed in Munich in a company that publishes educational content, she lives with her companion in the suburbs of Augsburg. “If you had told me ten years ago that I would live in Bavaria, I would not have believed you. But we have made a home here and I am very happy.”

If Phoebe has succeeded so well in her integration in Germany despite her initial linguistic handicap, it is undoubtedly because this was not her first stay abroad. After her childhood years in the United States, she was able to test her adaptability during a summer spent in Thailand teaching English and a sabbatical year in Spain, where she had worked as an au pair in a family.

Also, beware: recent studies show that lack of German proficiency explains a large part of the abnormal dropout rate recorded among foreign undergraduate students enrolled in German universities – including among those who thought they had a sufficient command. of the language.

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