Summer may be slowly coming to a close, but KLU’s doors were flung wide open last Friday for the start of the university’s annual Welcome Week. Packed with fun, informative and rewarding activities, the week allows students from Germany and around the world to familiarize themselves with the workings of the university and their study programs. Perhaps mostly importantly, it also paves the way for classmates, KLU alumni and professors to meet and bond, creating a sense of community students will carry with them through to graduation and beyond.
The start of every academic year is full of excitement and promise and the KLU’s campus in Hamburg’s HafenCity buzzes with both bachelor and master students flood into seminar rooms for a round of “Get to know you” sessions.
On the fourth floor, the harbor glittering in the sun in the background, Rachadawan Laocharoenchai and Jana Braun are going through their icebreaker questions trying to find fellow Master in International Management students who have siblings or own a pet.
23-year-old Laocharoenchai, from Bangkok in Thailand and Braun, a 25-year-old native of Frittlingen near Stuttgart, already have plenty of things in common, including been drawn to studying at KLU because of its internationality.
“I looked at a lot of universities and KLU was very attractive because the courses are in English and you get to know a lot of people from around the world,” Laocharoenchai explains.
“I also wanted to study a program in English, since I got my bachelor’s degree in the US,” adds Braun, who played college soccer for Providence College in Rhode Island and now represents local powerhouse Hamburger SV. “KLU offers a diverse environment and I’m excited to get to know different cultures. I really like it so far, everyone – students and teachers - have been really nice.”
Both students agree that Hamburg also played a role in their decisions to study at KLU. “It’s a big city that has everything, and you also can think about starting a career here,” says Laocharoenchai, adding she could see herself working for a multinational in the city at the end of her studies.
Downstairs, this 2023’s intake of Bachelor in Business Administration students are breaking for lunch, heading towards buffet tables in small groups to refuel before afternoon sessions getting to know their professors and being introduced to KLU’s IT and learning platforms.
“I’m really impressed by the university’s facilities,” enthuses Milad Mushrief, an 18-year-old from Hamburg, as he wanders past the campus’s futuristic “golden egg” auditorium. “KLU offered me a scholarship, and I'm very glad I chose this university because there’s a really open environment here. Everyone’s very easy-going and friendly.”
Great variety of activities offered
Tours of Hamburg and a local brewery, visits to chocolate and maritime museums, as well as team building exercises at an escape room on a ship in the harbor in the following days provide great opportunities for further crafting friendships and networks.
Advice provided during the week about setting up bank accounts and getting health insurance, meanwhile, are invaluable for international students new to Germany.
Among those newcomers settling into life in Hamburg is another former college athlete, Zach Rabinowitz, who is about to start his supply chain management master’s.
“I chose KLU because I knew that it is a very prestigious university in the field of logistics,” explains the graduate of the College of Charleston in North Carolina, where he played Division 1 basketball.
“Being able to talk to professors and people in industries that are knowledgeable is something a massive university wouldn't provide with the same familiarity,” the 26-year-old adds. “Being from the US I don't have a ton of connections to Europe, so it would be very nice to build a community here and really cement myself in Germany and Europe in general.”
With that, Rabinowitz goes to join his classmates for lunch, the first few steps to achieving his goal clearly having already been made.
We wish all our new KLU students a great start to their academic year and look forward to seeing everyone on campus!