Humans of Jacobs: Michelle Solomonov

Humans of Jacobs: Michelle Solomonov

Michelle Solomonv Azem is a second-year Global Economics and Management major. In this month’s edition, Michelle talks about her life before and after she came to Jacobs University.

How was your childhood?

Summarizing my childhood in one paragraph sounds impossible, but I’ll try anyway. I was raised in a vibrant, unordinary, and loving home. My home and background reflect to a large extent who I am today and my attitude to others. Diversity is the keyword when talking about my family, my biological father is Christian from Azerbaijan and my mother is Jewish from Russian. The father I gained from my mom’s second marriage is an incredible man who raised me, loves me deeply, and pushes me to be my very best. He also brings another spice into the mix, being a Palestinian Muslim from Tayibe, Israel. Having a Muslim-Jewish family is exceptionally unique and taught me values of respect, confidence, tolerance, and kindness in whatever path I take in life.

The two most formative years of my childhood are the last two years in High-School. In the 11th grade, I moved to the Eastern Mediterranean International School – an international boarding school teaching the IB. EMIS is centered around diversity (a repeating theme in my life) where 20% of students are Palestinians, 20% are Israelis, and 60% are from all over the world. This was the first time I was exposed to a truly international community, with all its wonders. We studied together, went on trips, organized events, volunteered, laughed, and visited each other’s countries. If you ask anyone who studied in my year, they would refer to the other ones like family, as we became one. In this community, we were the first to establish social committees, clubs, create volunteering curricula, service programs, and most importantly, make all the possible mistakes along the way and learn from them.

Where do you live and how is it different from Bremen?

I lived most of my life in Haifa, Israel. This is my very favorite city; it encompasses a lot of what I live by – diversity, respect, and co-existence. Haifa is also a coastal city – so whenever I visit, the beach is my favorite place to be at. Before joining Jacobs, I lived a year in Vienna, Austria, where I enjoyed the beautiful architecture and great Schnitzels.

Tell us about the people in your hometown and how are they different from the people here in Bremen..

I have been living in Bremen for only a year and a half, so I believe I have a lot more to explore, but in the meantime, I have met fascinating individuals here in Bremen. I believe a notable difference is the level of openness –in my hometown, people are extremely easy to approach and I consider them to be extremely warm even without knowing each other. In Bremen, most people are shyer and take a little longer to get to know.

Why did you come to Jacobs and do you think you made the right decision? If you had a chance to change coming to Jacobs, would you do otherwise?

I have started my university studies at Lauder Business School in Vienna, Austria, but after a year, I transferred to Jacobs. I have done so as I believe Jacobs, a small university of only 1,600 students, has more to offer on a personal level. Jacobs allows students to participate in all clubs, workshops, and extra curriculum programs. I am currently a Peer Counselor, the Major Representative for Global Economics & Management bachelor, I work as a Student Assistant in the admission office, I am a member of new student-run investment fund the North Vision Capital club, and I am a member of the Investment Banking Capital & Market Society (IBCM). I believe that this stage of life is the entrance to adulthood. As an international student, I still receive guidance, directions, and feedback before reaching complete independent life somewhere in the world. I believe no other academic institution could have given me more tools and skills for this exciting transition.

What are your future plans? Do you plan on staying in Germany after you graduate? If yes, would you ever go back to your home country one day?

I aspire to work in London for a few years after graduating, focusing on the investment sector and the real estate market. Later on, my dream is to establish my own business. I might come back to live in my home country; however, I believe there is a whole world out there to be explored and I wouldn’t want to settle down in one place quite yet.

What are the hurdles that you had to face moving to Germany?

Transitioning away from my daily habits, family, and the closest friends circle was the hardest part. Perhaps also not speaking the local language (German) plays a role.

Do you plan on investing in your home country - if yes, how do you plan doing that?

I believe my home country is very strong in certain aspects but very weak in others. There is a lot to be changed. So, yes, I do plan to invest in my home country as I believe the reality can be different, whether the topic surrounds environmental changes, economics, or political disputes. I still have a lot to learn, but I am certain I will find a way in the future.

Do you have any regrets in life - if yes, what would you have differently?

Not at all, as my father always says, we are the masters of our minds and we create our opportunities (it also helps if you’re lucky) – and I am extremely happy with each one of my decisions and relationships I made up to now and cannot wait for what awaits in the future.

Do you think it’s worth staying away from your family, your friends, and your people to study in a foreign country?

Each individual is different, and this might bring about different implications, however, in my opinion, taking 3-4 years to discover yourself, to gain confidence, acquire certain tools one couldn’t have acquired next to close ones, learn what you like, and get passionate about certain directions you find - is the most crucial stage. I know for myself and my journey, it’s definitely worth it.

What suggestions would you give - if any - to your juniors at Jacobs?

I would suggest they broaden their horizons and open up to very diverse activities, cultures, and habits. Enter different lectures, join a variety of clubs, volunteer, and make sure you are doing each thing with a lot of passion and happiness. I would suggest to everyone to also travel around Bremen and Germany generally. Lastly, I would passionately suggest getting out of your comfort zones, as there are so many opportunities around here that just require some courage. Be passionate!



Humans of Jacobs: Michelle Solomonov