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„An award for us all at Chemnitz University of Technology“

Kristina Dimitrova, a student from Bulgaria and recipient of this year’s DAAD Award at Chemnitz University of Technology, speaks about the university, the city of Chemnitz and the importance of friendships

Ms. Dimitrova, first of all, congratulations again on receiving the DAAD Award from Chemnitz University of Technology this year! How does it feel to be the holder of this award?

Thank you very much! Winning this award is a great honor for me. The award ceremony was a very nice event.

You come from Bulgaria. What were your reasons to go abroad for your studies and why did you decide to go to Chemnitz?

In Bulgaria, the German higher education system is well-known and highly respected, particularly regarding studies in psychology, an area which I was very interested. I got a lot of support from my family to move forward in my selected subject. The only requirement was that I get a good education and that I gather as much knowledge as possible. The decision to go and study in Germany was definitely a far-reaching decision, which brought also a lot of changes and challenges. I was very lucky to face them successfully and I am very happy to be a master’s student at Chemnitz University of Technology.

Some of the reasons why I have decided to come to Chemnitz: After having acquired my bachelor’s degree at Dresden University of Technology, I became aware of my interest in the behavior of humans in organizations. In this context, the offer of the master’s degree programme “Management and Organization Studies” was attractive to me because it is a unique combination of relevant fields, such as human resources and innovation and network management. In addition, I got to know from other students at Chemnitz University of Technology that the contact, the exchange between lecturers and students, is very close because the degree programmes do not consist of several hundred students – this of course, is very favourable.

What were your first impressions of the city of Chemnitz and the university? How were your first days here? Who or what has particularly supported you in settling down?

I visited Chemnitz for the first time in summer 2018, shortly after I received admission for a spot in the master’s degree programme “Management and Organization Studies”. I wanted to get to know the city and to get a feel for it prior to the decision to accept the offer of admission. I think that it is important to feel the atmosphere of a city before making important decisions of that kind.

Prior to my first visit to Chemnitz, I only knew that the city was formerly known as Karl-Marx-Stadt and that it was also designated the “Saxon Manchester”, and that its number of inhabitants is about 250,000.

I have to admit that some of the locations in the city center reminded me a bit of my beautiful home city of Sofia, so from the beginning I had a familiar feeling. Furthermore, I can relax at the Schlossteich in the summer and I can go for a walk in the city center. In the winter, the number of booths at the Christmas Market around the City Hall of Chemnitz evoke a comfortable feeling during the cold days of December. Additionally, there are a lot of cultural events in which a lot of students participate. In this context, I think about the student culture ticket and would like to thank the Student Council of Chemnitz University of Technology for this extraordinary and attractive opportunity.

During my first days in Chemnitz, I visited the university campus and appreciated that everything is located relatively close to each other. Furthermore, I admired the Weinhold Building a lot: new, state-of-the-art and elegant with its dark-grey color. Subsequently, I went to the city center, as well as where the Main Building of Chemnitz University of Technology is located.

What has helped me a lot in settling down was the orientation phase at Chemnitz University of Technology, which began one day after I had moved. Those four days were very well organized, thanks to the Student Representatives of Economics and Business Administration, and they were filled with exciting and fun games. During the orientation phase, I had also made some first acquaintances that would turn into close friendships later on. For this reason, I recommend to all first-year students that they participate in these kinds of events!

Additionally, I would like to add that my new roommates welcomed me very warmly. The combination of these events has resulted in becoming rapidly familiar with the new city and university, and I felt comfortable during that process.  

What has changed since then? Were there particular events which you remember very precisely in this context?

During the first two semesters some friendships became closer and others weaker, which is quite a normal process. What is particularly striking to me within my degree programme is the very personal and respectful interaction that we have with one another, which of course has a very positive impact on the learning atmosphere. This semester, a lot of my fellow students are taking a stay for studies abroad. This has changed the dynamics within the degree programme a bit, after we had been together in the courses nearly every day during two semesters and met each other in learning groups during the examination phase.

What were your first thoughts when you got to know that you will be conferred with this year’s DAAD Award from Chemnitz University of Technology?

My first thoughts were that I would never have been conferred this award without those excellent and kind-hearted people around me. They are very receptive and open-minded, which has made our contact, and friendships later on, possible. For this reason, this award has a symbolic significance for me as an award for all of us at Chemnitz University of Technology, regardless of socio-cultural background, age, gender etc.

In general, the conferment of the DAAD Award from Chemnitz University of Technology was the result of a wonderful process. During my nomination, I became aware to what extent my small activities in everyday life are appreciated by my surroundings, and that my presence has a positive effect. In short, I think that it is marvelous to receive this acknowledgement, which is personally inspiring and motivating. 

What are your plans for the future? Do you already have an idea for the time after your studies at Chemnitz University of Technology?

Due to the varied and wide-ranging orientation of my degree programme, I have a lot of opportunities for professional activities in the free market as well as in research. I would like to make my first professional experiences in Germany, in order to put what I had learned into practice and enhance my skills. The world of employment is prone to continuous change and the megatrends provide a lot of opportunities for creative activities for graduates in management and organization studies. Anyhow, I am very curious to get to know what will happen for me in the future.

Many thanks for this nice conversation!

(Interview: Dr. Wolfgang Lambrecht / Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Matthias Fejes

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