Ruth Surenthiraraj

Ruth Surenthiraraj

Exchange (one semester) – Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany (2013)

Ruth is a 4th year student of the Faculty of Arts, UoC reading for a Special Degree in English

“ In all honesty, flying from 32° C straight into 2° C was not fun, and I remember that my first week of travelling consisted of simply getting from one warm place to another in the least amount of time! But aside from my aversion to German weather, I absolutely loved the experience of studying abroad. Firstly, I loved the independence that comes with living alone and learning to manage things for myself. It was really different from Sri Lanka where you could always depend on someone to help you out. I also loved the fact that being independent also meant that I had to push myself to make friends and try to communicate despite the language barriers and cultural differences. In my opinion, being alone helped me to evaluate my skills of communication and helped me become friendlier and more easy-going. On the level of academics, it was a big change in terms of perspective. I feel especially enriched in this area because I experienced a different style of education. What particularly amazed me was how ready the students were to argue and critique their lecturers as well as the critics they studied. The discussions to me were more satisfactory because I was expected to interrogate the text and comprehend it for myself, instead of depending only on what the lecturer had to offer. I also liked the atmosphere of encouragement and enthusiasm that the lecturers offered in their classrooms. Travelling was the best experience – it was lovely to walk the streets of various cities, seeing the architecture, landscaping, art and cultural sites, not to mention burning calories to boot! I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and have realized how much it has changed me and the way I view life. I owe the International Unit of the University of Colombo a big thank you for facilitating this program – it has been an amazing experience! “