Student Exchange programme – 2018

Phusathi Liyanaarachchi, Lihini Nilaweera and Shannon Constantine, 3rd year Special Degree students of the Department of English were the latest batch of students to participate in the exchange programme in 2018.

“If I told you that you could pack years into months or make years out of fleeting moments, would you believe me? I’d tell you I do now , after the Exchange Semester in Giessen.  The five months lived at Eichendorffring felt like a lifetime on its own. Everything was a small challenge, from catching Bus No. 02 at “sharp” 8 to turning up for class the next morning after spending a weekend walking around some faraway European town.  Everyday brought us something new – new people, new places, new food. The long walks, getting stamps at 2am at the post office because we missed home, taking the long route home because we were scared to walk through the woods are among the sweetest of the memories. For me, the best thing about JLU was being able to borrow any number of books as long as you returned them on time. I borrowed as many as fifteen at once! On certain days, I spent hours and hours reading and writing in my room. And all of us slowly learnt to get by on our own.  I am grateful for the English Department for this life-changing opportunity as it pushed me to believe in my writing and to write despite.” – Phusathi Liyanaarachchi

“When people ask me about my Giessen experience, they always start with: “How was your trip (/holiday/vacation)?”, and I always quickly reply with a “What trip men? It was an exchange semester!” In fact, that never-ending question cannot be answered in just one sentence: recalling our time in Giessen would itself take hours, or even days. From nearly missing flights, getting confidently onto the Italian metro (only to have to get off again because I was going in the wrong direction), eating uncountable scoops of ice-cream, learning salsa, helping to cook Ghanaian food, and seeing the most beautiful landscapes and art I have ever come across, last semester was a blur of vivid experiences, new faces, and amazing surroundings. One of the best things about the semester was how close it brought the three of us: from yelling out to Romeo from Phusathi’s window to watching Lihini gain Chinese fans with her language skills, I could not even have begun to imagine how much fun the three of us would have together (although of course, we did undergo our fair share of mishaps). The courses I took at JLU were equally stimulating, with material and concepts that were at the same time different and supplementary to what I learnt at UOC. Also, I found that my courses at UOC (especially Ms. Ruhanie’s classes) have changed the way I think and approach what I encounter (for instance, I found that paintings, sculptures, and even gravestones made me stop and think, rather than just saying “Shaaaa, nice noh?” to whoever was standing next to me). I am extremely grateful to our English Department for giving me this opportunity, as well as to my parents, without whom none of this would ever have been possible.” – Shannon Constantine

“I am grateful for the University of Colombo and the Justus Liebig University, Giessen for the best moments of my undergraduate life so far. From university work, to dorm life, to traveling on my own- every turn exposed me to life in ways I hadn’t imagined. As a university town, it was very suitable and convenient for student life. Giessen is quieter than most places, but people you meet there make up for it ten-fold. There is little chance of anyone leaving Giessen without having made strong bonds and great memories. Since I have returned home, Giessen is a happy place I visit now and then, ever so fond of what it had given me. If I ever get the chance to re-live my summer of 2018, I’d do it in a heartbeat!” – Lihini Nilaweera