Good afternoon, world!

This is what we can proudly and legitimately say every day of our master studies. Because studying at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy means that you are automatically participating in something very similar to a board game where the only rule is that the whole world is playing. There are academic rules of course, but “simulation of the world” is the only basic rule that lingers throughout our everyday life. This simulation has been taking place since 2002 when the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy (then the Erfurt School of Public Policy) first opened its doors… taking place every moment of every day in the city of Erfurt. And yes, the size and geographical position of the city do matter. If the same group of people were to be in Berlin or any other bigger city, we would definitely not share and learn and spend as much time together as we do in Erfurt. The simulation would simply be less intense. But the intensity does make this experience special. It makes you know things you would never expect to know, it makes you understand emotions you would never see or think about before and it enriches your time here.

This happens every time you go to the library and you meet people from different parts of the world, struggling with exactly the same problem you have, only the solutions might differ; or when you have lunch in the university mensa, and you are constantly surprised by the combinations of food you are supposed to eat, but still happy to simply socialize and share your shock with people that expected something even more different; or when you sit in the library, buried by articles, books and papers, and you run off to the Hilgenfeld café for a coffee break to take your mind off them. It happens even when you have snow fights with people who are seeing snow for the first time in their lives, and it happens when you lay barefoot in grass in summer…when you plan each birthday surprise like a school project, when you try food with the most different tastes and when you celebrate weddings, internships, finished exams and new jobs.

Many more academic, semi-academic and purely social activities are the reason for opening up this little simulation game to the rest of you via this blog. We want to let you have a sneak peek into our everyday lives. The master program at the Willy Brandt School is not only about academic development. It is also about personal development – understanding and learning about the world. Moreover it is about making friends (read: family) who, after these two years in Erfurt, will diffuse to the outermost places on Earth. But hey, at least then we all have “family members” in many countries on each continent to visit, or work with. This is exactly what I meant when I mentioned the enrichment earlier.

So yes, outside of academia, Willy Brandt School students have a vibrant and diverse social life. We do engage in many activities and projects here in Germany and around the world. All of this is an integral part of this board game. These are the activities that will create a closer and more realistic picture of what it means to be a Brandt School student. So enjoy the ride, and we hope we will be amusing enough to inspire others to join the ride as well!

by: Maja Stojanovska (Macedonia), Student Blog Contributor