Intercultural Counseling - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

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Critical Cases

Most international students have stories to tell about situations at the LMU they have gone through and have found stressful and incomprehensible. We have recorded some of them. All names have been changed.

Marta is looking for new friends

Marta is from Poznan. She is now a DAF student (Deutsch als Fremdsprache/German as a Foreign Language) in Munich. She studied for two years in the German department of Poznan University and then left for Germany to work as a nanny for a family in Starnberg. During this time, she decided to continue her studies at the LMU in Munich. While Marta was a nanny she usually only socialized with other Polish nannies. Now, however, she would like to have some German friends, so she often tries to invite girls she finds nice over to her place. Her invitations have been declined several times. One girl said: "Unfortunately, I have no spare time because I have a lot to prepare for class tomorrow and I want to go to bed early." Another one said that for the next two weeks she wouldn't have time to meet, and a third girl explained that she was going to be busy the whole month. Marta found this very difficult to understand and wondered whether she should continue with her efforts. Her Polish friends usually always had time to meet and when they didn't, they immediately suggested an alternate date.

The presentation

Emilio is from Milan where he studied German for four semesters; he is now continuing his studies in Munich. He is in his first semester at the LMU. He enrolled in a literary studies seminar and was assigned a topic to present in class. Emilio worked hard to prepare for his presentation. In the seminar, he circulated the handouts and tried to speak clearly. When he finished, the professor asked the students if they had any questions or comments. Two students asked questions, one student expressed some doubt about Emilio's conclusions. The professor asked Emilio to respond, thanked him and continued with the next presentation. At the end, Emilio felt unsure because it wasn't clear to him what the professor thought of his presentation.

Difficulty with conversations

Katya is from Volgograd. She came to Germany to study and is now very glad to have the hassle of enrollment and settling in Munich behind her. She was accepted as a student of political science. Katya has a room in a students' dormitory where she shares the kitchen with other students. She finds it strange that the German students don't talk to her – unless she says something first.

When the German students engage in a conversation, they include Katya only if she has something interesting to say. Even then it's difficult for Katya because they often discuss politics, a subject that she knows little about.

The group presentation

Alesya studied German in Minsk. She is now starting her long-awaited exchange semester in Munich. She only arrived two weeks ago and doesn't know many people, especially German students; she is all the more happy now that she has to prepare a group presentation with three German students. At their first meeting, they divided the set of assigned articles between them and exchanged email addresses. Apart from their actual joint presentation, they never met again. For the presentation, each of them presented their part. Alesya had read all of the texts, but when it came to answering questions, she noticed that the other three students were familiar only with their assigned texts and had not read the others.


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