“It won’t be easy, but nothing worth having ever is”
Eric Theodore Cartman
Given the specificity of the master of international business program, the vast majority of it’s students have to just move from one city to another, they change countries, diving into the world of new traditions and, most importantly, social and cultural environments. When you move 5000-9000 kilometers from your home, arrive to a country with the language you don’t speak, where you think you are completely alone, with no friends and with everything that matters left behind, it can be truly daunting. It’s a good thing that Frankfurt School allows none of that nonsense.
From the very first e-mail conversations with one of the wonderful admissions officer and then during the admissions interview, I felt as if being gradually accepted into a new family. The school staff does everything to make your transition as smooth as possible (e.g. you get lists and instruction on important things to do and how to do them upon your arrival in Germany, you get your insurance checked, you’re offered language classes etc.) and everyone is always very open, friendly and approachable. Then, once you arrive, the orientation week is a whirlwind of experiences and emotions.
The first part, the outdoor campus, is a perfect opportunity to make new friends and get used to the new environment. Intensive team-building games and even more intensive partying in the evening guarantee that you won’t be left an outsider and even the most introverted among us were laughing and enjoying themselves in no time. Out of all the people you meet there you will likely not be able to recall even 1/3 of the names the next day, but you will most definitely remember the good times you had with each of them. Besides, you will be constantly seeing these people on campus afterwards and a friendly smile or a clap on the back go a very long way to create a great climate, making you feel at home and like you truly belong.
One thing that surprised me the most was how friendly and nice every fellow student was. There was absolutely no animosity or intolerance, not even indifference. Everyone was very eager to know each other better, learn new things about different countries of origins, discuss interesting topics and have fun together. In the evening, we had a huge BBQ party, where most of the students were given distinct duties (food preparation, tent building, tending the fire, bar etc.) giving everyone a chance to show their skills and talents.
During the rest of the orientation week you will be shown around campus, made acquainted with the library and all of the campus/online campus functions, everything that can be explained by either school staff or the senior students from your program. Once again, we were met with unexpected care and friendliness. Senior students don’t look down on you, on the contrary, they are helpful and interested. They will explain to you how things run in school and how best to approach different subjects, what difficulties they had and how to avoid them, recommend good places to hang out in Frankfurt and just generally are very open and easy to approach.
Last but not least – your own group. The people, with whom you’ll be spending a lot of time during the next 2 years. Everyone in the group had to go through the admission interview, the main goal of which is to see whether you fit the program and vice versa. And it truly shows. My group is a collection of very unique, motivated, talented and driven people. There was no transitional period, we didn’t become friendly with time, we started out friendly. Would you believe me if I told you that a bunch of people, who have known each other for a couple of days were spending almost every evening hanging out together? Well, we were. And judging from what I’ve seen of the senior student’s these relationships do grow into real friendships and only become stronger with time. Even those who couldn’t arrive for the orientation week were not left outside and were incorporated into the group and welcomed on their first day with us.
Now, you might wonder, is everything really so easy and magical? Will I be showered with new friends connections? Well, in some sense yes, but you need to keep the most important thing in check – your own attitude. Be respectful, be friendly, be interested and open, be willing to cooperate and be at least some times proactive. If you can manage it, if you are ready to be part of the new family, then I promise you will have the time of your life here at Frankfurt School.