Semester abroad at Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Spring/Summer semester, Marlon Berkhoff International Business

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1 Semester abroad at Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Spring/Summer semester, 2015 Marlon Berkhoff International Business

2 General Report 1. Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad The official semester dates for the so-called Sommer Semester (SoSe) were from the 1 st of April till the 30 th of September. I already arrived the first week of March in Frankfurt, because I took the optional German language course DIA (Deutsch Intensiv für Austauschstudierende) specific for exchange students. This started on the 6 th of March. The exam period was from 20 th of July till 7 th of August, however I was lucky that my last examination was on July 31, which meant I had some summer holiday left back in Groningen. 2. Contact with home faculty, preparation and journey The contact with the exchange office of the Rug was excellent, fast responses considering for example your learning agreement was helpful. The preparation for enrolling the Goethe Universität was easy, they have an online program with steps you have to follow to enroll. The only thing that lacked was an up-to-date course overview, which came very late online, so already preparing what courses to take was only partly possible with a course overview from the summer semester of Since Frankfurt am Main is not that far, I was brought by car, which was easy with the luggage and time. Taking a train is also possible ( 60-70) if you don t have the possibility to go by car. 3. Residence abroad In my case this was a major problem. The Goethe Universität tries to find you a room in a dormitory (well, at least it says it does), however I received in January the message there was no room available for me. The university gave some websites to find a room in the open market. I experienced that it is extremely difficult to get a room through the internet. Frankfurt is quite a large city, so any cheap accommodation has a lot of respondents. I don t understand the process of appointing rooms by the university, since I found out while being in Frankfurt, a lot of exchange students got a room appointed in a dormitory. In previous reports I noticed none of the Dutch exchange students got a room from the university. For the first month I got a temporary room in a student dormitory, but even when in Frankfurt it was really difficult to find a room. I tried a lot and wasted a lot of time by searching. Eventually, I went desperate to the office of the organization of the dormitories (Studentenwerk Frankfurt am Main), explained my situation and, luckily, immediately got a room. Finally after weeks I had a place to stay the rest of the semester, but it took too much effort and time. 4. Grant I received the first 70 percent of the grant before mobility. When you are in a dormitory, which is the cheapest place to live, this is sufficient, of course together with the Dutch student loan. The total amount of the grant will be around 1000,-. Living expenses in Germany is pretty much as in the Netherlands.

3 5. Study general The overall organization of the study was pretty good. The faculty gave an introduction lecture before the start of the semester, which explained the structure of the semester, important deadlines, and the course overview for the semester. Furthermore, ESN arranged in the introduction week campus tours to get to know the campus and explained the rules of the library. Other than in Groningen, you don t enroll for courses. It was possible to go to any course you were interested in. After approximately four weeks, in the beginning of May, you had to enroll for the exams you want to take. Thus, by that time, you had to be sure what courses you wanted to follow the remainder of the semester and to do your exams in. The campus itself is beautiful and the library is very modern, which gives a nice atmosphere to study in. The faculty has a buddy program, however I only met once with one of my two buddies and didn t had contact with them throughout the semester. This could be because I liked to find out the things I needed to know myself, it was of course possible to contact your buddies with any question you had. 6. Other relevant info The semester dates in Germany are not the same as in the Netherlands. If you want to start your master directly after the summer semester in Frankfurt, there will be problems with the grades and credit points you receive, since the results of your exam will be send in September, which is too late if you want to start a master study in September. I didn t had this problem, but other people around me during the semester faced this problem. 7. Summary impression Despite the difficult start I had due to the housing problem, overall I had a great time in Frankfurt am Main. There are a lot of exchange students in Frankfurt from all over the world, which meant I had the possibility to get to know many people and learn about many different cultures. Beforehand I d read about the two faces Frankfurt has and you will definitely experience this when in Frankfurt, with on one side the beautiful business character, with great skyscrapers and all the different banks and other financial institutions, and on the other side the more German parts of the city, with small streets and typical houses and pubs. There are many events to get to know the city and it is really fun getting to know the city with new made friends. The university itself is a nice place to go and to study. The beautiful campus is something you will never forget when you went to the Goethe Universität. Since Frankfurt is known for the financial business, a lot of courses are finance focused with many practical courses, which I will be more specific about in the specific report. The campus has many Mensa s which have nice meals for good prices.

4 Specific Report 1. Host institution and study period My host institution was the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt am Main. The study period was from the beginning of March till the end of July. 2. Lectures and literature During the study period I took six different courses. The pre-semester German course (DIA) was three weeks and was on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 09:00 till 12:30 and on Thursday and Friday from 9:00 till 15:00. We received exercises in class and had to buy a book. The course Mergers and Acquistions was every other week two hours and four hours. This was a lecture but with a lot of interaction with the students. The book for this course was provided online by the university. For Labor Economics there was weekly a two-hour lecture and every other week a tutorial where exercises where practiced together with the professor. For this a book was required we had to buy. Central Banking had every week a one-and-ahalf-hour lecture. No book was required, only lecture slides and a few academic papers were provided. Competition Economics had every week a two-hour lecture and every other week a two-hour tutorial for exercises. No book was required, academic papers were provided. Lastly, I took a German language course throughout the semester, Akademi B, which was two days a week for approximately three to four hours. The book used in the pre-semester language course was used in this course as well. 3. Overview of lecture program Monday: Akademi B 09:00-12:00 Labor Economics 14:00-16:00 (lecture) Tuesday: Mergers and Acquisitions 12:00-14:00 / 14:00-16:00 Wednesday: Labour Economics 10:00 12:00 (tutorial) Competition Economics 12:00-14:00 Thursday: Akademi B 10:30 12:30 Friday: Central Banking: 08:30 10:00 4. Contents Deutsch Intensiv fur Austauschstudierende (DIA) German language course to practice with grammar, reading, listening, and speaking. Akademi B German language course on the B2-level. Practicing with grammar, reading, listening, and speaking.

5 Mergers and Acquisitions The process of mergers and acquisitions of companies and all relevant finance activities within this process. The course is structured in four parts: first, structure and governance of the public corporation; second, practical training in various valuation techniques used to evaluate restructuring transactions; third, business process of M&A and its various steps; fourth, specific contract details and special restructuring transactions. Given by two professors that worked as consultants in mergers and acquisitions. Labor Economics The economics of the employee-employer relationship, with a global view, because it considered different countries and cultures. All kinds of aspects such as migration, retirement, minimum wage, discrimination, unions, education, and unemployment benefits. Literature: The economics of imperfect labor markets, second edition, Boeri & Van Ours. Central Banking This course mainly gave answer to the question: Why do central banks exist and what do they actually do? Given by a manager from the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Competition Economics The rules of competition and antitrust policy. Subjects such as assessment of market power, definition of relevant market, market behavior in monopolies and oligopolies, collusion, horizontal and vertical agreements, and horizontal mergers. 5. Lecture-related activities For Akademi B, a written paper and a presentation where compulsory to receive a grade. Mergers and acquisitions didn t had a final exam, but six group cases which had to be prepared and were graded. Mergers and acquisitions was the most intensive course with cases that were really difficult and challenging, but, therefore, interesting. 6. Relevance to Groningen study program It was interesting most of the courses I took had a very international approach to the contents. As an international business student this was a nice surprise. Furthermore, the courses where a bit broader than in Groningen, specifically the subjects I took would not be able to follow in Groningen. The courses where more practical, with a lot of cases. In Groningen, most of the courses are more theoretical. I liked the practical approach in Frankfurt. 7. Study load The course which took most of my time was Mergers and Acquisitions. The compulsory reading was a lot every week, it took a whole day to read it. The other courses were less demanding, two-three hours a week of reading and exercises were sufficient, depending on how difficult the subject of that week was.

6 8. Assessment in Groningen Akademi B 9 ECTS* Mr. Dahmer Deutsch Intensiv für Austauschstudierende 3 ECTS* Ms. Gräff Mergers and Acquisitions 6 ECTS Mr. Wahrenburg & Mr. Weidner Labor Economics 5 ECTS Mr. Vellekoop Competition Economics 6 ECTS Ms. Zulehner Central Banking 3 ECTS Mr. Stracca *Together restricted maximum of 10 ECTS.

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