Being an international student in a new country can be a challenging task. Read on to find how my host family helped me through it!
Leaving home for the first time and travelling to a new country was not easy. Moving to Germany to do my masters was a life changing decision. I was scared, lonely, I felt homesick and there were times that I have cried in my room remembering my family. After a month at the university I found out about the “Host Family Program”. I took a few days to think about enrolling for the program and one day I decided to submit the application. Today I proudly stand by my decision and consider it my best decision after moving to Deggendorf.
I met my family for the first time in April 2019 and life has changed ever since. Meeting the Löfflmann family felt like home again. I was a little hesitant when we met the first time for lunch, but there was no looking back. One meeting led to another and in no time, we would spend evenings together with endless conversations, riding bicycles, coffee, or cooking food together (Marion teaches me how to cook). I enjoy having conversations with Marion and Karlheinz (my host parents). They have so many stories and experiences of life to share. When I talk to them it feels like a conversation with my parents.
I had become a little bit serious person after moving to Germany, maybe it was the fear of doing everything all by myself that got to me but my family in Deggendorf helped me remember who I was. Playing with Marco and Alexander (their children) helps keep the playful child in me alive, talking to Marion keeps me grounded and fills my heart with warmth and my conversations with Karlheinz makes me remember that I am a grown up and a responsible individual too (the importance to care and lookout for everyone and not just ourselves) . Also, it is not all about the conversations, sometimes it is about listening, observing, and feeling like home. When I watch Karlheinz and Marion talk to the children, I feel a bond and it is something I cannot describe. Just looking at them makes me feel at home, because even though the country is different, the bond shared by a family remains the same. It brings a smile on my face and I realise that it is truly the small things that fill the heart with joy.
Last year during the holiday season I did not know what to do and felt I will be alone for Christmas, but when you are in Deggendorf and have a family as amazing as mine, then you are bound to change the way you feel. Marion took me to the Deggendorf Christmas market to watch the “Christmas show”. She would explain to me how good wins over evil and what the show is all about. Furthermore, for Christmas day, I was with my family celebrating Christmas, and learned that it does not matter what is under the tree, what matters is who is around the tree and the love shared among people.
Apart from quality family time, Marion and Karlheinz have shown me Deggendorf from the eyes of a native resident and today because I know so much about the city’s history and the people, I call Deggendorf home. The thought of leaving Deggendorf scares me. Deggendorf is my home away from home and for Marion and Karlheinz I am their daughter from India. One thing I learned in life is that money cannot buy happiness, it is the bonds we make beyond our blood relations that bring us joy and happiness.
Having shared my experience, I would ask you to close your eyes for a minute and think of the small joys of life and to your surprise, there will be a smile on your face. It is an effortless smile that fills the heart with joy and this is all we need during these times. A smile, a ray of hope and a heart full of compassion.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Aishwarya Passi is a masters student of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (THD). She is the Head of Event Management for TEDxDIT. She loves minions and describes herself as a cheerful individual.