Michelle Artalim© F. Klein
Michelle Artalim came from Indonesia to Germany.

Sometimes things come differently

Created by Felix Klein

Michelle Artalim's journey to Germany is quite an interesting story. She wanted to become an engineer, and in her view, there was no better place to pursue this dream than Germany. Consequently, she left her hometown of Sukabumi in Indonesia and went on her journey to Kiel. After arriving in Kiel, she was admitted to the Studienkolleg program at FH Kiel, focusing on engineering. However, here's the twist: Michelle later decided to study multimedia production. "I wanted to study engineering, that's why I came to Germany," she says and can't help but laugh at her own story. Nevertheless, she is convinced of her final decision, explaining, "When I saw the course curriculum on the website, I was fascinated." She appreciates the practical approach of her studies, stating, "It suits me more."

Michelle encountered various challenges when she first arrived in Germany. Finding accommodation, for instance, was a difficult task. She recounts, "I sent messages to nearly 100 people. Initially, I stayed close to Frankfurt with some friends, and when people in Kiel offered to show me a flat, the long distance was a problem. I had to make a blind choice." Currently, she resides in the Studentenwerk SH dormitories. Another hurdle she had to overcome upon her arrival was the COVID-19 pandemic. She had to undergo a two-week quarantine, which made it difficult to meet new people. Luckily, that changed a lot until now.

Michelle ultimately chose Kiel because it was the first Studienkolleg that accepted her. "During my Studienkolleg year, I thought about moving to another city, such as Hamburg. However, I fell in love with Kiel," she explains. She likes the city's weather, describing it as "not too hot and not too cold." She also enjoys being near the sea and the opportunity to go swimming. When her studies become too stressful, she likes to take a walk at the Kielline and enjoys the view there. When asked if Germany matches her expectations, she answers with a "jein". Michelle remarks, "I had heard that Germans, in general, are unfriendly.  However, when I moved to Kiel they helped me. I'm really bad with directions, and when I first arrived, an elderly lady assisted me and showed me the way. It was completely different from what I had heard."

There's one German experience that Michelle is eager to try: "It might be too much information, but I've heard that the pickles from Spreewald are absolutely amazing. I want to visit Spreewald and taste those pickles," she shares with a laugh. "There's a Spreewald pickle stand in Kiel, but I'm not sure if it's authentic!" Of course, she has had her culture shock moment, too. "The cashiers at the supermarket here are unbelievably fast," she says. If Michelle Artalim would go back in time she would still do everything the same way. She really likes her time here and she has gained many interesting experiences in college and her daily life.

© Fachhochschule Kiel