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Start your exam with no stress

The final exams are right around the corner and we know how this period is stressful and hard on many of the students especially being “decisive” for one’s future and career. Because of that, we’ve decided to share some tips that are of extreme benefit and help to maintain a stress-free exam period; but firstly, let’s talk about the causes of the stress in first place: 

The text may not include your case as a student, therefore please understand that this is not exclusively the cases that students may be stressed out because of. One can be stressed out because of a completely different cause and it is extremely personal and specific. Some students get stressed out because of their struggle to understand the curriculum or the academic work, the feeling of under-preparedness for the test. Some students even reported that they were being pressured by their families. Also, the most influencing stress-cause is the fact that the exams sometimes affect the students’ personal lives in different ways; for example, losing touch with friends, over-eating or losing one’s appetite, or even in some cases losing motivation to get out of the bed while still being sleep-deprived. 

The following tips may help reduce these side-effects of examinations or help students differentiate between the healthy and unhealthy stress during this period of time.

All in all, understand that examinations do not define the person you are, these are metrics set by educational institutions to evaluate the academic performance of students. Yes, without a doubt, exams are important and they decide students’ futures and careers, but nothing is worth spending sleepless nights stressing out on, the period of time will pass and another will come. We wish you the best of luck for this semester’s exams and the following ones, too.
Gasser Mohamed • 01.07.2022

Learning & Studying: effective time management and summarizing skills

Studying and learning alone is never easy, and we are still not back to normal university life and are all trying to find a routine between online, presence and hybrid events.

Even with virtual classes and the help from teachers and lecturers, there is a lot of self-management and self-learning to do. From when to study, where, and how to divide our tasks so we can make the most out of them, self-management is an invaluable skill during your studies.

Because of this, we recommend you read StuCoS guide on “online studying during corona crisis”, which we believe you will find extremely useful!

Texts are often the basis for the development of specialised knowledge, questions, etc. It is therefore indispensable to read the text thoroughly. But how do the contents of the text stay in the mind better?
This is where the „PQ4R method“ provides support. It offers strategies for preparing reading, for systematic reading and for following up reading.

If you want to know more about the topic “effective learning”, don´t forget to read our previous articles, such as how to make the most out of your online learning classes, info on how to access scientific sources and how to prepare and write a research paper, or how to understand the APA style norms and format.

Ayelen Toscano Juanes & Claudia Nikitsin • 06.05.2022

On our way to telc

Every international student arriving at ECRI knows there are two very important things to do here: your municipality registration… and learning German.

Learning German (and even better, a bit of Bavarian) is one of the most important aspects towards cultural and social integration in the Rottal-Inn region. Moreover, being able to effectively communicate in German will definitely help you find a good job, advance in your daily life in Germany and meet new and incredible people along the way.

Nevertheless, learning German is not always an easy task. The Languages and Electives Centre and ECRI want to help you with this, and that is the reason why they provide German classes from early to advanced levels.

International students from certain careers also know that learning German is more than just a “great thing to have”, and more of an obligation, as we need to reach the B2 level by the end of our career. Moreover, some bachelor students need to prove this level by presenting an official German certificate that says they have reached this level. If you are not sure if you need to show proof of German language, we recommend you clear this with your study coordinator or course assistant.

For all these students, the word telc is no strange friend. We have talked about it in all our German courses, see how it is structured and even the most advanced German students already look at dates in which they can take the exam.

Here at ECRI NEWS we talked with the German teacher for advanced language levels at the campus, Michaela Stangl, M.Ed., and consulted her about the telc examination.

Ms Stangl was kind enough to lend us her time and expertise on the topic and answer some of our questions.

One of the first things Ms Stangl clears out is that telc has a certain structure, which students should get familiar with through regular practice, if they want to pass the exam effectively.

Contrary to other exams, telc has two parts: a written and an oral one. The written part itself is divided into 3 more sections: reading & grammar, listening and writing.
The reading, which is the first thing students have to face, is divided into two sections: the reading section, with 3 different exercises, and the grammar section. Grammar in telc also has a particular format: it is not about writing sentences, but rather finding or completing with the correct word (that’s the reason why this section is called “Sprachbausteine” in German). Two different exercises are presented here, one with a multiple choice and another one with a “fill the correct word” format.

The next part is listening comprehension, which is divided into three more parts. Ms Stangl tells us that in this section it is extremely important to read what is asked specifically and to concentrate on that. Listening records are presented only one time, and students need to be alerted to the specific details of each particular task.

Sometimes the records are about audio sequences of news, or a radio interview.

Remembering what is asked for and reading the corresponding instruction carefully are key factors in this part.

The last part is the writing exercise. Here students have two possibilities, and they have to choose one of those options: asking for information or writing a letter of complaint.

Ms Stangl explains that this is something that can be practiced during classes at ECRI, and that similar tasks as well occur in written language exams at ECRI, so students do have practice over this kind of writing skills.
Here it is important never to forget to use formal language, write the reference and address part correctly according to the present type of letter you are writing.

Some things can be prepared and practiced, while others such as reading the assignment carefully and not to forget anything that is asked must be considered.

It is important to understand that each part has a specific duration, and after time is over the answer sheet for that part needs to be submitted. telc is not only about German skills, but also time management: students should focus on their time management during practice in order to make sure not to run short of time in the actual exam.

After the writing part, there is a speaking exam, which as Ms Stangl says students should not be afraid of! Normally, students are frightened of the oral exam part, because this is new for them, they don´t have German speaking examination at ECRI.

Frankly speaking students usually don´t fail this one. If they fail something, it is the written part, not the speaking one.

With that thought in mind, it is important to say what the idea behind the speaking exam is: It´s not just about checking how well someone speaks, but also seeing if someone can have a conversation with another person, if someone can arrange for a meeting or a party or discuss a certain topic with enough efficiency regarding the level. That’s why two or three students are examined at the same time.”

For this part, there is a preparation time as well as an examination time.

In the preparation time, which is around 20 minutes, students are given pieces of paper for taking notes, which they can take with them into the examination room.

According to Ms Stangl there is another crucial detail to mention, “it isn´t permitted to take any prepared papers from home. Every student receives several pieces of paper to take notes, which can be used during the exam, but which must be submitted afterwards”.

The speaking part is divided into three parts. The first one, as Ms Stangl tells us, students can prepare it beforehand, which means that students are expected to have researched and created a sort of speech autonomously. It does not mean that they can bring any papers with them to the exam. The speech shouldn´t be learned by heart, but the main aspects should be memorized well, so that it can be presented in an authentic and fluent way.

Students are allowed to choose from several predefined topics, such as the presentation of a book, a movie, a voyage etc.

After the presentation the other participant has to ask some questions about it, which must be answered by the person who held the speech before and vice versa.

Secondly an article must be

This part is about checking if students can have a fluid conversation, get to an agreement with other people, present their ideas, plan an event, discuss a text. So, this part is not a monologue, but a teamwork. The students´ speaking time should be equally distributed between all participants. The planning of the event should be concluded by an agreement of all participants.

When asked about what recommendations she can give students to successfully pass the telc exam, Ms Stangl answers: “The first and very important thing to do is to attend the language courses, to pay attention, to take notes, to be active in class and to do the homework and the exercises provided on iLearn. Nevertheless, a certain preparation beyond the given lessons is necessary to be successful and to pass the telc B2.”

Furthermore, you can improve your language skills by watching movies and TV shows in German with German subtitles, talking as much as possible in German, either with native speakers, who you should ask to correct you, or with friends who have a high German level, listening to German music and podcasts, reading in German, practicing with German books, magazines and so on”.

Important Links
Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 17.12.2021

Erasmus Programme

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 25.02.2022

ECRI study resources – coping with stress during the exam period.

We´ve all been there. Exams are just around the corner, holidays have passed, and now we find ourselves with the pressure of preparing for those five, six, seven or how-many-exams you have.
But here at ECRI NEWS we tell you: don´t despair! Stress and anxiety will only make matters worst, so read our advice about coping with stress, prepare a cup of your favourite beverage, and get ready to deal with them!

1- First things first: organize yourself.

One of the main reasons why students go under stress and anxiety during exam periods is because of ineffective time management and organizational skills. Dividing your tasks, the best you can, setting realistic deadlines for each of them, starting with your studies and preparation times well in advance (and not just 48 hs. before the exam) will help you greatly with not finding yourself in the situation of having three exams, one after the other, and not having anything ready.
You can check our article about learning through corona time: effective time management and summarizing skills, which includes great information and help on how you can plan your tasks ahead of time and avoid last-time rush and stress during the examination period.

2- Eat and drink adequately

The connection between healthy eating and effective studying is undeniable, as we have already mentioned in this past article.
Eating healthy, nutritious, homemade food will increase your concentration, allowing you to study better for longer periods of time. We know, it´s not easy to eat correctly when we don´t have time for this, but here is where the previous point comes in handy: organize cooking and meal prep time in your time management calendar, so you don´t have to end up reheating frozen pizza- again.

Moreover, there are tons of Instagram accounts and internet blogs about quick and healthy recipes. Here we leave you some of our favourites:

3- Practice mindfulness

When everything turns to be too much, breathing can be the best option. Reserving some minutes in your day to practice mindfulness and conscious breathing can help you relax before your study sessions and start your day differently.

Meditation apps and tools students can use:

  • THD students have a one-year free subscription to the 7mind mediation app (check their exam anxiety exercises!) in German language.
  • Balance, meditation and mindfulness app, is currently giving one-year free subscriptions.
  • Online mediation and mindfulness videos, which can be found for free on Youtube
  • Netflix´s Headspace: 20 minutes animated videos which look inside the benefits of mediation, while also offering techniques to start your practice.
4- Study somewhere you like

Studying somewhere you are comfortable and feels like “your space” is an important aspect when trying to avoid exam stress and anxiety.
Being somewhere you feel you fit, that doesn´t make you tired and is comfortable in every sense of the word will help you concentrate better and feel better when studying.

Here it is also important to have everything you need in this space, and (if possible) to not use this space for other things, such as sleeping.

If this space can be free of unnecessary distractions, that would be a plus.

 … but also study on an environment that is the best for you

For some people, total quietness and calmness is the best way they concentrate and study effectively. For others, a bit of ambient music or noise is necessary.
Some people prefer pastel colours and decorated walls, while others go for more sober areas. Giving this space you will be spending a lot of time in your personal touch will make you want to be there, instead of just being done with it as soon as possible.

5- Ask for help.

There is the common pride in wanting to archive everything by ourselves. But in life, we never accomplish anything truly alone: we always need cooperation and help from others.

Organize study groups, ask someone to help you study, attend your professors and lecturers’ consultation hours. If you need help or have a question, do not hesitate in contacting them.

If your anxiety and stress reach high levels and are affecting your life, do not hesitate in going to your GP for help, or consulting and relying on our faculty´s counselling systems, such as StuCoS.

Relax, manage your time, and ask for help. These are the three main aspects that will help you through this time.
Know that you always have options, prioritize what needs to be prioritized, and most importantly: have fun learning new things, take this time not as an obligation, but as a chance to show everything you learned during this semester.


Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 14.01.2022

What do you have in mind when you think of ECRI?

Get to know the projects • In 80 Nations around the World and ECRI Values:

In 80 Nations around the World

The project "In 80 Nations around the World" tries to show the world what makes our European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) so special and to highlight the people of our international campus family.

With this project, we would like to show everyone what it means to be a part of ECRI, how many different cultures come together here and who the people of ECRI are. To do this, the project features one person from each nation that studies or works here at the ECRI. The spokesperson from each nation will be portrayed in a short video clip and a professional picture.

But what are faces without the story that shaped them? Not much.

As the first step, we ask all people interested in participating to fill out a survey. We will then choose a person from each nation to participate in a photo and video shoot to represent their country.

After that, we will publish a short-written profile of each participant together with the video and the picture on our various DIT-channels to show the faces and people of ECRI to the world.

The aim of the project is to highlight that no matter where we are from and what nationality we have, we are all people who have the same basic needs and who are all studying and/or working here at the international ECRI campus because we all believe in the power of education and international understanding.

Are you interested? Do you want to participate? Great!

Then we will ask you to start with the first step, filling out the "In 80 Nations around the World" survey. With your answers, you can help us fill the project´s framework with life, and the survey helps us understand you and your story better.

ECRI Values

At our time at ECRI, we learn many things.

We learn about tourism, engineering, health, or sustainability, depending on which study course we are at. We learn about a new country, a new town and its traditions. We learn to relate with people from different cultural backgrounds to ours, learning how to work together successfully and efficiently.

ECRI (and DIT) prides itself in this and believes it´s all of us, with our personal and cultural backgrounds, that makes ECRI the great faculty that it is: diverse, open, innovative, sustainable. Together, we make our campus a better place.

When we move to a new country, it is very important to remind who we are and where we come from; but it is equally important to learn to live with differences and different contexts. What makes “ECRI” Ecri? What makes “us” us? What values do we share? What ideals do we want to bring back with us when we go home? How has ECRI changed you?

All of this and more is a question that we are asking ourselves, and because we believe your voice matters, your opinion matters, we invite you to share them with us.

You can participate in this incredibly exciting project, the ECRI Values project, which aims at discovering what makes us as an institution, as an organization, different. What distinguishes us from other faculties, from other universities. What values do we share?

Participating is easy: you just need to answer the questions on this survey, which will take you approximately 10 minutes but will help us get started on this path.

Let´s create our journey together.

Participating in both projects is easy, click here for the surveys, one will take about 10 minutes:
In 80 Nations around the World
ECRI Values

Healthy eating, effective learning: the (undeniable) connection between nutrition and learning abilities.

That we are what we eat is no new news. As animals, eating is essential for our bodies, incorporating fuel that will get us through the day. As humans, eating is more than just a mere body function, but also a social activity in which our culture and the way we relate to one another is shown. Eating is also an enjoyable and pleasurable activity, and sometimes one of the most awaited times of the day for some people

If we want to learn correctly, if we want to concentrate, we need to eat well. But what is “eating well”? If eating is related to our culture, then there are as many possibilities as there are different perspectives! So many options!

So, today we want to share with you some tricks, so you try to improve your eating habits and excel at your academic courses while enjoying the most out of your foods!

1. Eat all the three big macro groups

Carbs, proteins, and fats are the three macronutrients. Depending on what you want for your specific daily needs, you might need to eat more of one group or the other but abandoning one group altogether can be very damaging for your body.
Try to find a balance and detect how much your body needs from each macronutrient group.

Of all these three groups, protein is the one that will help you stay full the longest, carbs will give you an immediate boost in your energy levels, and fats will help your body with fatty acids, something the body cannot create itself and helps the body absorb vitamin A, D and E.

2. See how you divide your plate

Incorporating all macro groups in your daily eating habits is just the beginning. If you want to eat healthy, you need to balance your plate and check that you are also eating enough fruits and vegetables for all necessary micronutrients and vitamins. Of your total plate, make ½ of it with a variety of fruits and vegetables, leaving ¼ for whole-grain carbs such as 100% whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, quinoa, among others. The other ¼ of your plate should be a protein-rich food, such as tofu, eggs, beans, lentils, edamame, poultry, fish, cheese, among others. Don´t forget to incorporate healthy fats, such as olive or avocado oil, or plant kinds of butter, such as peanut butter, to give flavour and add the necessary fats to your diet.

Try to eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day, to create a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. It is also important in every diet (but so more in vegan or vegetarian ones) to incorporate nuts and seeds.

3. Lower the amount of processed foods

Let´s be clear here: no food should be prohibited. All foods, especially those you like the most, should be incorporated into your diet in an adequate and controlled amount according to what they provide so that you don´t end up eating all of them together and then regretting it. Food should be enjoyed, not regretted.

So, what do we refer to lowering the number of processed foods? Well, just not eating them every day, all together in one sitting, and lowering them from your diet.

Remember: you can eat any food later that week, or next week. There´s no need for you to finish the plate or the package, you can save the rest for later.

4. Learn to read your body

The amount of food everybody needs is different according to each person. This can vary according to age, gender, activity level, metabolism type, etc. The best way to know how much you should eat is by learning to read your own body and the signs it gives to you, and what is called your “hunger signals”. This is trying to read your body to notice when you are full, so you won´t end up hungry and eat again after one hour; but also, you won´t end up so full you can´t get up from the chair.

Learning to read your body signals will also help you if you just have a one-hour lunch break, so you don´t end up in a state that your body needs to make such big digestion that you are too tired to continue working or studying.

5. Mind what you drink

If eating is one of the most basic and important functions for the human body, so is drinking, which is actually even more important than eating. Humans are made of approximately 70% water, and drinking enough water is essential for everything we do, and we need to be careful with this too.

How much water you need will change according to your needs, physical activity, gender and nationality. Nevertheless, it is said that an adult human needs approximately 8 glasses of water per day. There is water in foods, so you don´t exactly need to drink it all, you can also “eat” your water (and here, water-rich foods such as watermelon, melon, cucumber, etc; can help you greatly if you are that type of person who forgets to drink enough water during the day.

Remember: the key here is that most of your liquids come from water, and not from other liquids such as sugary sodas, bottled juice or alcohol. Alcohol, even worst, retains liquids, so you want to be careful with this. 

Summary: How do I know if I am having a balanced, healthy diet?

Although all these tips might help you, in the end, the only person who knows your body is… well, yourself!

If you feel healthy, if you feel you can concentrate for long terms, you don´t have headaches or stomach aches, and you don´t get excessively tired after simple motions, then it´s fair to say you are probably maintaining a healthy diet for your body and needs.
Nevertheless, if you are not sure you are eating healthy, or if you don´t know how to face this process, then a consult with your GP will never hurt.

Extra sources used for this article:

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 29.10.2021

Awake your inner entrepreneur with the THD Startup Campus

THD encourages everyone to find their passion in life. And for some, that is creating their own companies and being self-employed! The good news is there is an institute inside the university, the THD Startup Campus, that can help you in every step of your way towards creating your company and contributing to our society. From planning stages, where participants define their ideas, do market research, and create their business plan, to finding financing opportunities, and preparing the launch, Startup Campus will be there for you.

We talked to Tanya Marin, entrepreneurship manager, about what Startup Campus is, their role in helping national and international students start their own businesses, regulations, visas, and much more.

So, Tanya, how would you describe Startup Campus? What do you do, what is your role?

Startup Campus is a THD institute that offers students, staff and alumni support in developing their business ideas. We help everyone, from every study programme and faculty – as long as they have ties to the university.

Lots of different people come to Startup Campus and depending on where in the startup process they are and what they need to actually and officially start the business. My team and I help them gain more focus and connect them with the know-how and people they’re going to need. In a nutshell, there are three main routes how people make their way to us: Most often, someone comes to us with an idea from a simple “thought” and we look to help that become a viable business. The second route is when academic or research developments signal a value that could benefit not only scientific advancement but also society and the economy at large, if you will.; The third route is for those who have this “entrepreneurial spirit”, the will to start a business and make it flourish but can’t exactly pinpoint what their business idea should be. We help them find ideas or connect them with another person or team that might already have a fantastic idea but needs help to develop it. A startup needs the right team to make it work and we’re thrilled if we can help people and teams find the right fit! That said, we are still at the early stages of streamlining routes two and three.

You mention that there are people with an incredible entrepreneurial spirit, but with no concrete ideas, how do you help?

There are many new formats which we are developing to help them come with the ideas by themselves. We might show them what new trends are out there, ask them about their skills and interests, among other things. We are constantly improving our resources, so we can help them find their own passions and lead them on the way to their startup. We can always guide and provide resources, but ultimately it has to come from their side. But as I mentioned before, we often have startup teams looking for new teammates!

And in which steps does Startup Campus specifically help?

We accompany students throughout their path to starting their business.  But it is also important to mention that a lot of this is hard work from the participant´s side: we will always guide, recommend, and connect but the ones who have to make the decisions and do the hard work are the entrepreneurs themselves. The business is theirs and this is something they are building for their lives.

What types of financing opportunities does Startup Campus offer, or can help participants acquire?

So, our main two funding opportunities are Kickstart Incubator and EXIST. With Kickstart, we decide which ideas we can help fund – however we are bound by certain rules. EXIST is a federal grant directed at graduates and students at German universities and research institutes. For this path, more rules apply.

If Kickstart or EXIST isn’t an option, then we help in other ways. For example, by helping with infrastructure or using our network in the area, mainly in Lower Bavaria. As the THD is located here one of our goals is also to help develop the region. We have so much knowledge and potential at THD, in all our institutes and faculties, which could be used to help our region grow.

We know that when you are an International Student, there are some conditions to starting your own company. How can Startup Campus help international students?

Yes, exactly. For EU Students, the same rules apply as for German nationals: they can start their own business in Germany, no need to ask for authorization from the foreign authority but they should always consider that startups can be very time-consuming. If they have student health insurance, they are not allowed to work more than 20hrs per week otherwise the AOK or Techniker or what have you, will no longer categorise them as students and they will have to pay much higher monthly rates. There are also some other formalities and things to consider before launching a business, so even if they feel confident that everything is going to go smoothly, it really doesn’t hurt to double check with us – it doesn’t cost a thing and we’re also happy to help connect them with people that might be able to provide a springboard for their business.

When we are talking about international students, so non-EU students, they absolutely must get permission from the foreign authority.  This could be tricky, so we highly recommend that they speak with us to help get prepared. The actual permission is only necessary once they’re ready to officially launch the business (or, for example, if working as a freelancer) , everything that is in the “planning” part, such as market research or writing the business plan, can be done that in their own time, at their pace, and there´s no need to ask for extra permission or authorizations. Normally these steps are done while during their studies, so of course, time management is important, especially when it comes to academic compromises.

When an international student graduates, they have 18 months to find adequate employment. During this time there are generally no restrictions as to what kind of employment they pursue. After the 18 months, they can apply for an extension if they meet certain criteria. A sustainable, growing business can also meet that criteria and be the basis for obtaining an extension of the visa and maybe ultimately permanent residency.

For this, of course, they need to show certain paperwork and go through certain steps, and here is where we can help them. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, as the foreign authority has the last word, but we can help increase the chances of receiving a “yes” for an answer. And even if the answer is “No”, I would always recommend our international entrepreneurs to apply again! Because that No could change to a Yes given other circumstances.

That´s a very good recommendation. And if a master student, for example, wants to get a  business up and running while they are still studying can they create their own companies during this time?

Again, the foreign authority will have the last word here. Theoretically yes, as long as our international entrepreneurs can make clear that their studies will still come first.

Here, as we are talking about very specific aspects, every case must be seen individually. Startup Campus can help prepare them for their meeting with the foreign authority as well.

And of course, the foreign authority has the last word

Yes, absolutely. It always comes down to if they authorize it or not. But as I said before, we can guide participants through all this process, increase their chances. And if the answer is a no, hey… we’ll figure out another strategy and try again!

Is there any last advice or recommendations you have for international students?

Just try. Come, bring your ideas. That´s all you need to start. There is no dream too big or too small. And if you don´t have a “breakthrough idea” but you have the will, come and consult us.

More information, contact details and short introduction videos can be found on the Startup Campus website.

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 30.07.2021

Best literature books to learn german!

Some people prefer to learn German by watching movies or tv shows, but for others, books and reading materials are the best tools.

If you belong to this second group, here we leave you a list of amazing books written originally in German and/or by German-native authors, to practice and better your skills.

Some of them are learning literature books (normal stories adapted by certain publishers so beginner students can understand them easily), but the most advanced ones are simple reading recommendations.

Some of these books have been recommended to us by our German students here on campus, other by international students that read them as part of their learning path; and other just recommendations from various sites (references below!)

We certainly hope you find one that suits you!

For total beginners - Der Grüffelo.

A total child´s classic story, this book is simple to read and understand as it is aimed for small kids. There is a short movie about it, and tons of versions.

If you want to learn some German vocabulary quickly and easily, children´s books are the ones to go for.

This one particularly can be bought at any bookstores for quite a cheap price.

Author´s note: I first came to Germany as an Au Pair (nanny) and my German skills were below 0. Working with small children, I had to quickly learn some important words, and reading fairy tales and children´s books helped me a lot.

For basic beginners – Short Stories for German beginners.

If sitting through textbooks and intensive grammar rules is not your way of learning, maybe trying a different approach would help you.

If that is the best way of learning for you - well, complementing it doesn´t damage anybody!

This book, specially designed for beginner learners, is composed by eight new and unconventional stories, perfect for level A2-B1. Verbs and other important grammar structures are highlighted, and at the end of every chapter (story) you will find a list of all new vocabulary (words and phrases) learned, and even one or two exercises to make sure you understood everything perfectly. Just as a textbook activity, but in a fun and relaxed way.

You can find it in most bookstores or online, for just 10 euros (cheaper if you buy the audiobook or Kindle edition). Amazon buyers have it a punctation of 4.6/5, so why not try it?

For intermediate - Die Verwandlung (the metamorphosis). 

Who hasn´t read this Kafka´s classic in high school?

Re-reading books you already know in a new language can be very beneficial, mostly because you already know the context and what it is about, which will make it easier to understand it; letting you concentrate in all the new vocabulary and grammar.

Kafka’s book is great for this task: a classic book, many of us have already read it. Also, the book is written in short, concise sentences, making it easier for intermediate learners.

You can find it in a paperback version for as cheap as four euros, or hardback for around 14 euros (online prices). Libraries (such as the PAN or DEG library, not ECRI one) will most surely have it and you can borrow it for free, if buying it is not an option.

For more advanced learners -  New German Thriller books.

If you are already a proficiency level German learner, B2/C1 level, then there´s a word of opportunities for you.

Depending on what type of books you prefer (novels, romance, thrillers, etc) some of our German native speakers have recommended us a couple of options.

If you are into thriller, exciting books, you might want to look into the work of German author Sebastian Fitzek.

Some of his books, including Passagier 23 (passenger 23) have been adapted for the big screen. Other best seller´s from this author include Das Joshua Profil and Der Insasse.

Further recommendations on this topic

  • Although books and reading can be an exciting, new way to learn a language, not all of us have time or money for this. If this is your problem, then audiobooks might be your solution. 
    Audio books will help you develop your listening skills instead of reading ones; but you will still learn new vocabulary and grammar in a fun and different way. Moreover, audiobooks tend to be cheaper (or even free!) when compared to normal books. If you have long commutes between work/ uni and your home, this might just be the perfect opportunity.
    Spotify has tons of audiobooks you can listen to for free.

  • Let´s go back to the libraries! Libraries in Germany have amazing book collections, and something it´s possible to ask for borrowing a book from another library (if your local one provides this)
    If you want cheap reading materials, the state library in your town or city is a very reliable source. 
Sources: https://iwillteachyoualanguage.com/learn/german/german-tips/learn-german-by-reading

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 09.07.2021

Scientific sources: where to find them and how to access them

One of the most difficult, frustrating aspects of researching can be trying to access and read scientific sources without spending the whole semester´s budget on them.

Therefore, today we are talking about scientific sources, where to find them, and how to access them.

First, what search engine/databases should I use for scientific sources?

If you are just starting your paper or thesis and you don´t know where to start, Google Scholar and the THD´s OPAC system are always two very good options.

Google scholar is an extension of the same-old google searcher we all know and love. You can just type “google scholar” in your browser and it will direct you to a separate search engine of google, one that only searches for valid, scientific sources (sorry Wikipedia!).

Here you can just type your search (preferably: short, concise, try to go to the point and not write full questions or sentences in the search engine) and Google Scholar will give you a lot of entries on the topic, such as regular Google.

One question remains is: Is google scholar safe?

Well, yes and no. Google scholar will only give you entries which are academically valid, but it is up to you to check those sources and interpretate what type of content that is. It will not give Wikipedia or Newspaper articles as options, such as books and bachelor´s or master´s thesis.

What other types of search engines do we have?

Although it is not a search engine, the OPAC system at the library provides good and reliable material on all subjects related to THD study courses.

If you are using it from home, you will have to connect with your VPN connection; and then you can just search by topic, title, language, and other criteria.

Okay, I´ve already found some journals or sources which interest me, but all the options I find I must pay… how can I solve this?

Copyright and author´s right are a very important thing in the academic world. Nevertheless, there are some authors who willingly publish their work only, free of charge. Research Gate and ScienceDirect are some of the largest scientific source’s databases, and here you can find many papers free of charge, as the authors have published them intentionally. In ResearchGate, you can also send a “request” to the author/authors and ask them to send the material only to you. You can write a short explanation on why the source is important to you and mentioning that you are a student might help.

Personally, I have done this many times and researchers answered in a positive way, sending me the required articles.

Be careful: have in mind that the researchers are sending these articles for you, and only for you. Sharing, printing, or distributing them would be a breach in the copyright law and, therefore, an infraction. Do not share content with anybody or distribute it without the author´s consent.

THD has access to some online databases, such as ScienceDirect or Web of Science; although not to all publications. To check the list of online databases available, visit https://www.th-deg.de/en/students/library#databases

I still haven´t found what I am looking for… what other alternatives are there?

If you still haven´t been able to access the journal or research you are looking for, there might be some other alternatives available.

JSTOR, another online database, lets you read up 100 articles online for free, though you have to pay for downloading them. PubMed allows you to search for papers online and, in some cases, read the abstract (including methodology and results) free of charge.

Google books is another option if you are searching for a book rather than a journal and don´t have access to it/can´t buy it. It will let you read some parts of the book free of charge and remember you still must cite it.

Lastly, you can always consider the Library´s interlibrary loan , in which literature that isn´t available at the library can be borrowed from other libraries.

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 30.06.2021

How to prepare and write a Research Paper

Middle of March / October... classes start, we´re all get back to our academic daily routine, and what´s one of the first things we ask our dear lecturers?... How and when will our examinations be!.

One of the most dreadful and feared questions,especially when the answer is... research paper!

Nevertheless, writting a research paper shouldn´t be something to be afraid of. Writting can enable you to better discover yourself, improve your English skills, and better yourself not only when it comes to academic writting, but also professional and general writting.

You have the chance to pick up a topic which you are interested in, passionate about; and fully inmerse yourself into that topic, discovering new and exciting things.

Most students are afraid of academic writting because, well,.... they have never written before! The only way to improve your writting skills and your research papers is by... writting! Making mistakes and starting over is what will, eventually, help you improve yourself. 

Even so, that doesn´t mean we shouldn´t ask for help, or follow some tips, when it comes to academic writting.

Ms. Elise von Radow wrote in 2017 a "how to plan and write a term paper" guide for the THD, which we would like to share with you today.

This guide has been written considering general academic procedures and standards, and some of the points mentioned here might not apply for your study course or subject; or they might be different from that indicated to you by your professor or lecturer. 

Please, when in doubt, always follow academic regulations, rules and standards given to you by your lecturer, and/or in your requirements and guideliness, both for your especific career and/or class. We cannon stress this enough: please always listen to your lecturers, they have the final word when it comes to requirements and regulations on research papers for class, as they know what is specifically needed for that subject´s learning and evaluation process.

One of the main differences between Ms. von Radow´s guideliness and THD´s guideliness, is that THD lecturers normally use APA Style as citation style. The style mention in this guide is not APA. If you want to know more about APA citation style, you can visit our former post, or APA Style´s official website.

Having all these changes and warnings into consideration, we have added some comments and notes in this article: you will find them as red tags at the sides, some of them adding extra information, and others highlightig aspects which are usually different for ECRI student´s research papers.

As usual, if you have any questions about this topic, please don´t hesitate in contacting us at our email or leaving a comment here in the iLearn page.

ECRI NEWS • 18.06.2021

APA Style norms and format

Ahh APA Style… who hasn´t suffered when it comes to it. And, although we can always use citavi for it, knowing the basic rules of this well known and used citation format can always come in hand. So, here we leave you some of the most important aspects you need to know about APA citation format.

1 - Why using a citation format?
When it comes to scientific writing, clear rules which allow us to follow the text without major distractions is a must. Moreover, crediting authors and researchers accordingly and appropriately is necessary if we want our scientific work to be legitimate, trusted and accepted in the scientific community.

Because of this a citation format, any citation format, in necessary: sometimes, just writing the link is not enough, and we need a context to where we took that information from. This is especially important in long works, in which many authors and researchers are brought inside.

According to the American Psychological Association, “When style works best, ideas flow logically, sources are credited appropriately, and papers are organized predictably and consistently”, and we at ECRI NEWS couldn´t agree more.

In any case, that doesn´t mean that citation formats are always easy to apply and understand, especially when we just started our academic career.

2 - What is considered plagiarism?
In the academic world, plagiarism is more than just writing other people´s ideas and not citing them. Other things which can be considered plagiarism are: Not crediting accordingly; using all quotations, one after the other, without original outputs; not making a correct division between one author and the other, or between your original work and other´s work; or using your own past work and not crediting it.

Nevertheless, there are some exceptions to these rules. For example, unintentionally misspelling an author´s name, or forgetting an element in the reference list, does not count as plagiarism. But they might influence your research paper´s final score, so be careful about those. When in doubt, you can always revise your work and check if you correctly credited every author and revise previous notes to see if you didn´t accidentally use the same words, lowering the chances of plagiarism.

3 - In text citations vs Reference lists
There is a common confusion and misunderstanding between in text citations and reference list.

With the in-text citations you acknowledge, inside the text, all authors and researchers in a simple and easy way. Here the rule here is: Author’s surname plus year. If there are two authors, then both of their names (as the order they established) and year; more than two authors, you should write the first authors name and the denomination “et al.,” (which means “and more” in Latin) followed by the year.

Month, full names, pages, and any other information are not necessary here. In literal quotations, the specific pages can be added, but it is not obligatory. Reference list, on the other hand, are the fuller, complete citations references which can be found at the end of the end of your work.

According to APA, “References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text”.

The fact that all citations must appear in the reference list is a very important aspect of APA Style rules, and one that must be taken into consideration: always double check this.

4 - Parenthetical vs Narrative citation
On Parenthetical citations, you first announce the idea, and at the end you write the author´s name and year of publication between parentheses.
On the contrary, in narrative citations, you mention the author as a part of the text, and then you just include the year in parentheses.
Both systems are completely valid, and you just need to choose the one that adapts the best for what you are trying to communicate.

5 - Undercitation vs Overcitation
These two concepts are very important to avoid involuntarily plagiarism and/or losing points in your final exams.
If when writing a research paper, you don´t cite all sources, and re-cite sources which repeat itself in different parts of the essay / research paper, that can be considered underciting.
On the other hand, there is no need to cite repeatedly the same source in the same part of the text or paragraph if it´s clear that you are referring to the same author. That will not only tired readers, but it can also seem like there has not been a correct research and the source is being overused.
To avoid these two common mistakes, try to use sources concisely and for no more than a couple paragraphs (unless the development of that information is crucial to your ideas), cite authors at the end of your ideas, and be careful to include as much original citations as possible.

6 - Paraphrasing
Paraphrasing is when you say another person´s idea in your own words. It is a great technique to shorten ideas, make them more understandable to your readers, and connect them with other ideas from other authors, always clearly citing them and correctly assigning the credit.
When paraphrasing, be careful not to change the meaning on what the author is saying.

7 - Quotation
Direct or literal quotations is when you write an exact phrase from another person´s work or article, or what they have exactly said. In quotations, you use other people´s words, not you own.

Quotation is good and necessary for key ideas, or concepts which are difficult to re-interpreted in your own words because of the level of clarity they require. Also, certain exact definitions (such as dictionary definitions, etc), need to be quoted rather than paraphrased. Nevertheless, be careful not to write a whole article or research paper on quotations only, as this can be considered “copy & paste” and therefore, plagiarism.

8 - Primary vs Secondary sources citation
Primary sources are those original sources, which have been read and analysed by you. Secondary sources, on the other hand, are ideas and concepts first mentioned in other articles, and which you don´t have access to.

When possible, you should always try to find the original source. If that´s not possible, because the original source is not available, then you can cite secondary sources as “as cited in”. An example can be found at the APA Style webpage.

Use of secondary sources is fine but should be maintained at the lowest amount possible.

9 - Where to find examples on both in text citations and references formation.
If you want to check whether you are citing correctly or not, or how to write your references correctly, you can always check the APA Style webpage, which has every example possible: go here for in-text citations examples, and here for reference list formation examples.

(APA, 2019)

All information has been retrieved from the APA Style webpage.
American Psychological Association. (2019, September). Style and Grammar Guidelines https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 11.06.2021

Video and slide presentation alternatives: What to use when Power Point has become a little bit too common

If there´s one thing we have learned during online studying time, is how important creating good and attractive slide presentations / video presentations is. With most of the exams being on an online based format, presentations have become more and more important tools.
Although THD offers some very interesting seminars on how to do scientific presentations, here we would like to offer you a bit more of help.


Characteristics: One of all time video presentation makers, specially for explanatory videos, which now has more styles and templates than the original ones.

You log in, choose what describes you the best (entrepreneur, student, etc). To download videos, you need to upgrade your subscription, but with the free version you can nonetheless get link and share it during class, presentation, etc. Or download it as JPG images and then combine them together. It´s interface has two options: edit and create. Something to consider: there are no undo option.

Price: Free version, and different paid versions.


video presentation maker

Characteristics: For short, animated videos which don´t require much time, Visme is a great possibility. Here you can create presentations, infographics and even short videos, with an easy-to-understand interface.

Price: Free version, for more templates and better quality, paid packages.


Video Presentation Software

Characteristics: With Animaker you can create from simple gifts to complex videos in an easy way. Choose from their great template variety or just start your own.
Here you can create your slides and then combine them, or just import them if you created somewhere else. Combine all the pieces (“scenes”) and there you have your video!

Price: Free and premium paid versions.


If what you are looking for is more of a video editor than a creator, but you have no knowledge on video editing, then Kizoa is the right one for you. This online video editor is easy enough to use (I have absolutely no knowledge on editing and created a quick ten minute video with templates and other videos 😊).

Price: Free options, and if you want it without a watermark paid version available.


One of the most well-known platforms to create easy presentations and single slides. You can choose from their templates or pre-made slides or create your own from scratch. Add as many slides as you wish, and then just choose how you want to download it: PNG; JPG; PDF or MP4 video presentation!

Price: Free and paid versions.

Google slide

Is there still somebody out there who hasn´t tried Google slides? Then they must get to it! Google slides, the google product counterpart of Microsoft´s power point, is an incredible tool which allows classmates to work on a shared slide project without any inconvenience. Just go to “add”, create a new one, use one of the pre “themes” google offers you, or start your presentation from scratch.

Price: Free.


If what you want is a presentation, but without the “slides” par, then Prezi is for you. It offers an innovative way of presenting your ideas, rather than showing them as one underneath the other, here you can interactively change from one another, not having the lineal format. You can use one of their templates or start one yourself, whatever suits your idea better. Prezi has been out there for some time, so if you haven´t tried it yet… maybe your next classroom presentation can be your chance!

Price: Great free options and extra paid ones (offers extra security when handling your presentations, etc).

Arcgis Storymaps 

Another possibility to non-slide presentations.

With ARCGIS Storymaps you can create interactive presentations that, although the follow a lineal format, exchange information from one part to the other, creating a more visual and interesting presentation. Here you can create presentations with lots of information, using maps and almost any other type of content, in an easy way that will allow your viewers to follow your ideas simply and effectively.

Price: Free for students, paid options available.

Info: example, website

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 04.06.2021

Technical English - Electronics basic course at the VHB 

Do you want to improve your English skills while gaining knowldage about electronic basic vocabulary and related topics?

Then, maybe this course will interest you.

The Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern is offering a free course on basics of electronics for non-native English speakers, with a workload of 25 hs, targeted at undergraduate engineering students (ECRI industrial and sound engineering students, we are looking at you!), that want to improve their English language skills in these areas.

Is held by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eric Koenig and Prof. Dr. Katherine Guertler, and it might prove to be just the extra-curricular course you were looking for expanding your abilities during this semester!

You can find more about it here, including how to enrol.

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • 07.05.2021

Learning Strategies: learning through COVID-19 time

First of all, let us tell you... congratulations!
Whether you are a new freshman student, or a more advanced sophmore, junior or senior student, you made it!: you are here, you are a regular student at the DIT, and you have already made it through a complete year living with COVID-19

If you are an advanced student, maybe you have also gone through part of your studies or even the whole of your studies through online-learning. 

If you are a new student, we hope to meet you in person soon enough, and we wish you the best through your studies. 

Whether your case is, we congratulate you: you have made it this far, and that is an incredible thing. 

From ECRI NEWS, we want to help you suceed during your studies - because of that, we bring to your attention this informative and helpful PDF which was uploaded last year, on learning stategies during SARS-COVID-19, and the importance of plannification for online-learning

We hope it can help our new students, and remind our more advanced students on what resources they have. 

We would also like to remind you that ECRI now has a new counceling services, StuCoS, which you can contact regarding this and many more topics. 

Ayelen Toscano Juanes • Claudia Nikitsin • 03/2021

How to study in Germany • An introduction to german academic life

Moving to another country to study can be exciting and stressful.
How do I find accommodation?
How do I find accommodation?
How do I find my way around a German university campus?
How do I communicate with professors?

All these questions are answered in the open vhb course: „How to Study in Germany. An Introduction to German Academic Life.“ The course is offered by Dr. Thomas Stahl, head of the Center for Language and Communication at the University of Regensburg. The course language is English. Further information can be found in the following link:

The course is compulsory for first-year students. The course is also recommended for higher semesters.

Another benefit of this course:
The certificate issued at the end of the course can be taken into consideration when applying for a scholarship. For further information, please contact Daniela Schwertlinger (International Office): daniela.schwertlinger@th-deg.de