I am Pham Vu Dong, 26 years old, from Vietnam. I am currently a Master student of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System at VNU University of Science.
In 2019 and 2020, I had opportunity to participate two summer schools under the framework of the Erasmus+ BioEcoN project. The 1st summer school was held in Vietnam and has left so many good memories and experiences. The 2nd Summer School so-called intensive learning periods (ILP) was hosted by the University of Valladolid (UVa, Spain) at Campus la Yutera in the beautiful city of Palencia. In 2021, under Erasmus+ KA 107 program and the cooperation between VNU University of Science, Vietnam and Greifswald University, Germany, I had a next chance to mobility in Greifswald, Germany from February to August 2021. If you are looking for a reason to come to the beautiful city of Greifswald, I hope this can help you, and if you are not looking for any specific thing but just simply coincidentally glance at this line, then I hope this will bring you new perspectives on the country and the people of Germany.
Greifswald has a big and warm welcome for me. The scenes, flowers and grass, sky and clouds are still warm and full of love despite the cold winter... I chose to go to Greifswald not only because of the scenery and the atmosphere here but also because of the warm welcome and enthusiastic supports I received from teachers, international and native friends. I still remember the days when I first arrived, I missed my homeland and my family very much, but I also realized that I was very lucky, because my surroundings were teachers, very dear friends.
Pham Vu Dong together with friends and lecturers in a field trip in Palencia, Spain under the Intensive Learning Period of an Erasmus+ program
As soon as I found out about the Erasmus+ mobility program, I was immediately fascinated by the study curriculum. The six months period is neither short nor long period, but the courses helped me understand many things, especially the questions and concerns I had before joined the program have been answered. During that time, I had opportunities to study and work with researchers and employees in the Institute of Geography and Geology, headed by Professor.. Sebastian van der Linden. Apart from the highly academic courses, we – international exchange students - were able to join various field trips which had broadened our horizons.
In daily life, like other international students, I was very confused and unfamiliar when I had to start my own life for the first time, in a place where there was such a language barrier when most German people did not speak English. However, I have received enthusiastic help from neighbors, landlords and especially lecturers at the University of Greifswald. Six months is not a very long time, but it is enough to make me feel like this is my second home.
Before joining Erasmus+ student mobility program, I was still in a state of uncertainty, ambiguous about the future, and my next direction as a final year master student. I think this is a common problem for all students, a decisive question for their future careers. Fortunately, during studying and doing my thesis in Europe, I found my passion and direction. Participating in and studying the mobility program has helped me strengthen my ability in the field I am working in, helping me have more confidence to become an expert in the near future.
I would like to extend thanks to the many people who so generously support me during my mobility. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to VNU University of Science, University of Greifswald and Erasmus+ KA 107 program that gave me an opportunity to study abroad for entire summer semester. In addition, I would like to express my thanks and sincere all the professors and other students in Institute of Geography and Geology for their assistance and supports in many aspects of my life and my studies. Finally, because of the successful learning and studying periods under the Erasmus+ program (began by 2 weeks intensive learning period at the Valladolid University, followed by 6 months mobility at the Greifswald University), it has enabled me to return to Germany in 2022 to perform my PhD study in University of Greifswald in a longer time, which is going to be a new chapter of my life. Wish the best to all Erasmus+ coordinators have given us – academic students – to be able to archive our dreams!
Pham Vu Dong