The World on a Campus

The World on a Campus

One of the greatest advantages of studying at Constructor is the multicultural environment with 1,800 students from 110 countries. Diversity is so integral to studies and life at Constructor; for example, your randomly assigned roommate in your first year will always come from a different country than you. Within my classes, I was often (but not always) the only person from my countries. Especially for an International Relations, Politics, and History major like me, you will be awestruck hearing the introductions to your classes as it feels as if you have the United Nations in a room, ready for discussion. As I reflect on my studies before I graduate, I think the biggest takeaway for me was living surrounded by diversity. In this article, I will explain what it is like living in this multicultural environment and the many ways this has since impacted my perspective on myself and the world.

Diversity in the Classroom 

A lot of what I have learned at Constructor has not come from just the class content itself, but the experience of navigating and debating the content with peers who come from completely different backgrounds than myself. There are things that books cannot teach you, especially when you consider the limited and homogenous group of people who have historically been allowed to even write and publish books. These important lessons and perspectives come from talking and listening to people whose realities have historically been between the lines of books in an environment like Constructor, where the classroom gives everyone an opportunity to speak up and create important work in their field. I am from England and the United States - two countries that have had immense international impacts. I came to Constructor with a narrative about my own countries and I will leave with a completely different one, now influenced by students who came from countries that were impacted by my own. 

It is very eye-opening to see how your nationality is understood and perceived in the greater ecosystem of the world, as well as how your nationality carries with it historical responsibilities. There are countless things that I disagree with that my countries have done and yet I still bear the weight of these actions and the responsibility to make things better. On the other hand, I can also be proud of my countries and feel that my countries are sometimes misunderstood by other people. I feel lucky that I have the chance to address these complex narratives at least in a small group, as these discussions have a ripple effect. If a few people learn something new about a country or their own, it is likely they will tell others like friends or family and slowly our understanding expands. In my study program, we also debate international issues in real-time. When the United States left Afghanistan in 2021, I was assigned to be one of about eight students debating the issue in front of my whole class. Though these on-the-spot situations can be a bit nerve-wracking - what if you say something accidentally insensitive or factually wrong? what if you have an opinion that is widely disagreed with? or no opinion at all yet? - they are also what teach you quickly how to hold controversial yet balanced discussions. Being a bit confused or embarrassed at times can be a great experience if you walk away with new ideas. In these cases, I learned to listen first before speaking but not shy away from my own opinion. I have been pleased to show my classmates another way of thinking about things and I welcome and often adopt their way of thinking too. 

A New Societal Awareness through Life on Campus

This environment at Constructor has also offered me a new societal awareness. Regardless of your study program, when a big international event happens, the campus is hit the hardest as we all know and are friends with people from these countries. The news is no longer some abstract thing that you turn on and off at will - it is fully integrated into your life. During my three years at Constructor, I have dealt with an internationally unequally treated pandemic, a few wars abroad, one war on the European continent and the subsequent refugee crisis, natural disasters, elections here in Germany and abroad, and many other events. I have discussed, grieved, donated, debated, volunteered, started and worked on student projects, supported friends and accepted their support, and felt overwhelmed and relieved that I could act and knew that these actions would help in alternating turns. I have seen this as a blessing that I could not bury my head in the sand and erroneously think that issues don’t really affect me or that there was nothing I could do in the face of societal changes or tragedies. Regardless of whether or not you feel an event’s immediate impact or not, we are all affected by world issues and there is always something we can do even if it is small. Constructor students have even contributed to aiding in world issues in larger ways like building a refugee support network in the wake of the war in Ukraine, translating and reporting local COVID-19 news in the most spoken languages in Bremen for a community impact project, and collecting donations for the recent earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Feeling the impacts of these events so acutely on campus has made me more connected and empathetic to these topics even if I do not have a direct personal connection to the event. 

Friendships and Campus Life

Of course, not all of the great experiences I have had due to the diversity on campus have been quite so serious or thought-provoking. A lot of the magic is in the ordinary moments in friendships. Nationalities often fade away as you feel so close to people that have completely different backgrounds than you. As most people at Constructor are migrants, you are also bonded over the experience of being new to Germany and exploring German culture. You introduce each other to your respective cultures through food, music, movies, and stories. For example, I never would have tried some Palestinian sweets if my best friend had not shown them to me and they are my absolute favourite now. It is always so fun when people come back from winter and summer break, sharing pictures, snacks, and souvenirs from their trips home. The events at Constructor are always colourful and special with people from similar countries or cultures teaming up to share their songs, artwork, dances, and food. Since living at Constructor, I now believe that I can find a way to connect with absolutely anyone from any country as long as we both have curious, open minds and mutual respect for our differences. Luckily, anyone who goes to Constructor is sure to have these qualities so you are sure to make many friends!

The diversity here at Constructor is unlike any environment I have ever been in and it will change your life. You will learn so much academically from your peers, as well as personally about your perspective on your own country and the world in general. Socially, it is a place where everyone is welcome and our cultural differences are appreciated. I hope you enjoy this unique way of education and life as much as I did!


The World on a Campus