Bence Szabó: My CEMS exchange in Cologne
Now that my first CEMS semester has ended, I have to say that it was really amazing! I spent that semester in Cologne, Germany and sometimes I really felt like that this was the best decision of my life. In the next pharagraphs I elaborate a little on this.
First, since we can say that Cologne is nearly the center of Western Europe, one has many opportunities to travel easily and fast. I was very lucky because I could have a car here, so travelling was even easier. I had many great trips in that 5 months I had spent here.
- I visited the Netherlands many times; I had been to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Gouda, Utrecht, Tilburg and Venlo. Among these destinations I hardly recommend Gouda for all the people! It is a small city, but it is very famous from its cheese; and also its few other sights make the city a wonderful one-day-trip opportunity!
- In Belgium I had the chance to visit Brussels, Gent, Brugge, Antwerp and the Waterloo Memorial (the place where Napoleon was first defeated). Many people say that Brugge is the best place in Belgium, however, I would rather recommend the people to visit Antwerp or Brussels and a belgian brewery!
- I had a short holiday in France, where I spent the first day in Strasbourg and 4 more days in Normandie. We stayed in Rouen and visited Caen, some D-day memorials (Arromanche, Point du Hoc), Mont Saint Michelle, Camambert, Honfleur (this small city has a beautiful harbour which was also painted by Monet) and Etretat. We also stopped at Epernay, the capial of champagne on the way to Rouen from Strasbourg. That was probably my best trip during my exchange semester I only can recommend these sights for everyone.
- Last but not least, in Germany I have also visited many sites; I had one skill seminar in Frankfurt, two in Düsseldorf, we had the CEMS welcome weekend in Aachen, the Block Seminar in Oberwesel, and I also had the opportunity to see some castles in Germany (e.g. Burg Eltz and Cochem), Bonn, Lübeck and Hamburg.
Secondly, what I enjoyed indeed, were the skill seminars. I actually attended five out of six. As a Hungarian it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know those CEMS Corporate Partners, with which I cannot meet in Hungary. We had a presentation skill seminar with A.T. Kearney (which actually was my favourite and I felt that my presentation skills have improved indeed since then), a negotiation skill seminar with SEB Groupe, two marketing focused skill seminar with Arla and Beiersdorf, and a digital transformation one with Microsoft. These are wonderful opportunities for students to gather information about the potential future workplaces.
It is also true that you can meet amazing people abroad with CEMS, one can really feel the difference when they work with CEMSies! Moreover we had several great parties together in the CEMS Club of Cologne, which is probably my favourite place in the inner city. However, to be honest, I expected a little more from the university. I had four courses, out of which only two could hit the „That’s very interesting!” level (the Global Strategy and the Supply Chain Management).
All in all, I feel very happy indeed that I could spend this wonderful semester in Cologne, Germany.