Jonas Rimbach thinks outside the box and likes to change his perspective. “During my dual studies, I constantly change my perspective: university – training company. Theory – practice. I can apply the knowledge I gained during my studies directly in my company. Practical insights from my work, in turn, help me to get a better understanding of the theory.” This has helped the student on various occasions so far – in his job, for example, when he had to design a changing device for the VACUPRESS, as well as in his private life.

The 21-year-old believes it is essential to frequently change his perspective, as the field of work and the course of study in mechanical engineering are becoming increasingly international and complex. In addition to technical expertise, linguistic and intercultural competence is becoming more and more important. “The Grenzebach Group is globally active. That's why I will also be in charge of plants and customers abroad in the future." A job that Jonas is already looking forward to.

And if not now, then when? The 21-year-old was given the opportunity to spend a semester abroad during his fifth semester of dual studies at the Technical University of Applied Sciences of Central Hesse (Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, THM) in Bad Hersfeld. The ideal opportunity to improve his English skills as well as to get to know the field of mechanical engineering through the eyes of another country.

With the support of Grenzebach Bad Hersfeld, the “Ireland is calling” project was getting started! Join our colleague on his five-month adventure on the Emerald Isle. Jonas will bring you along on his journey – first-hand, open, honest.

Flight to Dublin

University, flat, documents … did I forget something?

Preparations

From an early age, Jonas was fascinated by Ireland's unique nature, mild climate and spectacular scenery. It came as little surprise that the choice of country for the semester abroad fell on the Emerald Isle. Luckily, THM has a partnership with the Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in Dundalk, about 85 kilometers north of Dublin and 80 kilometers southwest of Belfast, right by the Irish Sea.

“Proper preparation and cooperation with the universities as well as the partner company are the essentials of any semester abroad. Without my checklist – indispensable during the entire preparation period – I would certainly have forgotten one thing or the other!" The entire preparation, from the organization of accommodation to the admission and entry formalities, went smoothly with the support of the German and Irish universities and Grenzebach Bad Hersfeld.

Things are starting to get real

Departure

“I could not sleep at all the night before my departure. I was super nervous. The thrill of anticipation was incredible”, the student says. A last hug from family and friends, a last wave at the airport in Frankfurt before he boarded the plane. Two suitcases – filled to the brim with clothes, books, and other things for the next five months – were his only companions on the one-and-a-half-hour flight to Dublin. The next stage, the journey to the university's campus dormitory in Dundalk, was perfectly organized: From Dublin Airport, a shuttle service provided by DkIT took the 21-year-old straight to his new home.

Arrival in Dublin
Dublin
Blackrocks
Belfast
Belfast

The adventure begins

Arrival

Right. Left. Right. This was one of the first lessons Jonas had to learn as a pedestrian in Ireland: to mind the left-hand traffic. “The first few days, in particular, I had to keep reminding myself to look to the right first and not to the left as I'm used to when crossing the street”, Jonas remembers.

In Bad Hersfeld, he had mostly taken the car. In Ireland, Jonas switched to bicycles and public transport. "On my very first day, I bought a bike from a nearby store – the ultimate means of transportation for Erasmus students in Ireland!"

Time goes by differently here

Dundalk, Belfast, Dublin

In the literal sense of the word. Once he arrived in Ireland, Jonas set his watch back an hour. However, life in Ireland is also a bit more leisurely in general. In the larger cities, there is nevertheless plenty to do at any time of the day or night. Dundalk, with a population of around 40,000, also has the typical Irish mix of serenity and tradition, open-mindedness and friendliness.

Life at the university follows its own pace as well: the "academic quarter" (Latin: c.t., cum tempore) is an intrinsic part of university life – ten to fifteen minutes late is considered to be good manners.

Castle Roche
Castle Roche
Cooley Mountains
Cooley Mountains

Castle Roche

Dundalk

You cannot visit Dundalk without also visiting the 13th-century Castle Roche. The Norman castle was built on a high cliff and provides a great view of the surrounding countryside. Needless to say that Jonas also visited this sight during his first days. The evening sun warms his face, his eyes sparkle and the student laughs: "It feels so good to be here. I made the right decision!"

“The Irish are very welcoming, open and helpful. For example, in the very first week, I had a flat tire. A local Irishman was driving past me at that moment. He simply stopped and asked if he could help me. I was amazed. We immediately started talking and changed my bicycle tire together. I was immensely grateful to the stranger. Typical Irish!”

 

Quote from Jonas Rimbach
Jonas Rimbach Student mechanical engineering
Dundalk Institute of Technology

Hello, Hallo, Olá, Bonjour …

Diversity

About 600 international students started their semester at the Dundalk Institute of Technology together with Jonas. “I am living in a shared flat on campus with three other Germans and a Vietnamese student. Many other Erasmus students live in the dormitory, for example from Africa, Spain, France and several other countries. From every room I hear a different language.” The student was delighted to see when the first running groups started forming, "Sport is part of my daily routine. It is even more fun when you're doing it in a group!”

Jonas’ first lectures will start soon. Only a few of the other international students have also chosen his field of study: Mechanical & Electrical Engineering. When asked if he is nervous, the 21-year-old laughs: “I am looking forward to the new experiences. I am sure that I will learn a lot during this time, both professionally and personally!”