“Growing up” in Chemnitz: How I reached the answer to the five-year question

Reflections on spending a fifth of my life as an English major at TUC

The decade reviews in the beginning of this year made me realise – I have spent 20% of my life studying English at TU Chemnitz. If someone were to ask me at my high school graduation where I see myself in five years, I would have answered – teaching English at a Bulgarian high school. Now I finally have the answer to the five-year question – I am preparing a PhD proposal in English Linguistics!

So what has changed?

Studying English at TU Chemnitz (Photographer: Lili Hofmann)

During the Bachelor’s and Master’s studies, the wide variety of courses in English Studies included many subjects that sparkled my interest and led me to contemplate on different future careers – teaching, content creation & journalism, literature. But eventually I started gathering about the Digital Humanities and Data Science and after several Master’s courses in Linguistics and my thesis, I found that I like and want to work with language data.

I had not thought of doing a PhD before hearing my professors imagining me as a PhD student. Research is generally a career which becomes more attractive when one enters tertiary education and gets closer to people working in this field. As students we were also always invited to conferences and workshops organized by the department where we could gain insights from life in academia and imagine ourselves exploring similar topics. So if you are interested in doing research and are wondering how to get noticed – be active, try to leave a good impression, and show your enthusiasm and motivation for the subject.

I have also found myself comfortable living abroad, especially in Germany. Here I got the chance to meet people from nearly all continents (Australians, where are you?) and get a glimpse of their cultures, cuisines and life stories. I have also developed an affection to the language and would miss it anywhere else. Even shopping feels incomplete without the customary “Kassenzettel dazu?”

I also had reasons for feeling at home in Chemnitz apart from “it is close to Dresden and Leipzig”: the cosy get-togethers with friends and colleagues, the architecture and the museums, the view from Schlossteich, the insider jokes about the chimney and the Nischel… There were also reasons why we could look at it critically and work for tolerance and acceptance of “others”, e.g. by helping newcoming students in the Buddy Program and sharing diverse experiences in creative projects like TUCzine, the new support project organized by the StuRa International Subdivision and TU4U.

These five years in Chemnitz did feel like growing up but perhaps not enough for a complete coming-of-age story. So I will keep updating you on student life during the PhD!

Best wishes,

Marina

(Master English & American Studies, 5th semester)

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