Thriving Abroad: Unforgettable Moments at the ISG Summit ʼ23 with DEGIS

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Last month I had the opportunity to participate in a truly inspiring and uplifting networking event,
specifically designed for international students. The International Students Summit (ISG) was
held in the bustling city of Berlin from the 16th to the 18th of July 2023, where I got to meet
other international students from all over Germany, all of us sharing the same struggles,
regardless of our diverse backgrounds. Throughout the 3 day event, I got to hear personal
accounts from international professionals, was moved by their challenges, and was in awe of
their success. Furthermore, I participated in multiple workshops designed to enhance the lives
of international students in Germany. I personally had not heard of either DEGIS or the ISG
Summit before this event, but spoilers I was pleasantly surprised! In this post, I would like to
share with you a little more detail about what went on at the summit.

Day 1:
The event started at 8.30 AM every day and punctuality was very important, but it was a little
flexible for day one. Even though I study in Magdeburg, arriving early on the first day was a bit
exhausting but I was super excited to see what the German Association for International
Students (DEGIS) had planned for us at the ISG. We were advised to store our bags at the
venue, so we can all leave to our respective hostels at the end of the day, I guess it’s not too
late to mention that accommodation was included for those not living in Berlin. After enjoying a
cup of coffee and getting to know some of the other students, it was time to meet our humble
and unique host of the event, Liam Carpenter (@liamcarps1).

At 14.00 we had our first keynote speaker Mikalai Vincheuski (@mika.leadership.trainer), who
gave us a brief insight into his journey and the forthcoming opportunities for international
students. Afterward, all 100 of us were divided into groups for a workshop about “The
International Student Dream Journey”, where we had to decide what we believe is the optimum
scenario for an international student coming to Germany.

At around 16.30 we had our second guest speaker, entrepreneur Ana Alvarez
(@ana.alvarez.monge), who shared with us personal stories about the challenges she
overcame coming here and gave us some pointers to help us overcome some of our
challenges; the highlight was that I got to know about the community and the various
opportunities offered by migrapreneur.

After an exhausting first day, we got our room keys and started heading to our hostels,
tired but looking forward to the next day.

Day 2:
After Liam introduced the agenda of the day, the team from DEGIS also prepared a small
yet very interesting fair, where representatives from different organizations targeting
internationals were present and ready to educate us about the various opportunities they offer. I
personally wish there had been more companies, but maybe there will be in the coming years
when the summit is even bigger!

After lunch, we enjoyed listening to our guest speaker, Jonathan Becker (@jonnyestameloca),
and at 14.30 we started the next phase of our workshop from day 1. During the workshop, as a
team, we had to come up with a solution to help make the “student dream journey” a reality.
However, the challenge was that after coming up with the solution, we had to find a way to
present it as a team on the 3rd day of the summit, while competing against all other teams. It
was even harder to let go of a heated brainstorming session to join the rest of the delegates for
our last keynote speaker of the day, Ximena Docarmo (@xidocarmo), who spoke about her
journey into politics and how international students interested in politics can follow a similar

At the end of a long day, I couldn’t wait to explore Berlin with whom I can proudly call my new
friends, thanks to the Summit <3.

Day 3:
The atmosphere was a bit tense on the 3rd and last day of the event. Everyone was rushing to
finish their presentations, adding the final touches here and there, and in my case, discovering
that the presentation couldn’t be downloaded a few minutes before the submission deadline.
Fortunately, the DEGIS team was sweet enough to let one of our team members use her personal laptop for the presentation.

Furthermore, we had our last keynote speaker for the
event, Thamires Herzing (@tata_barbbati), a business development and founding member at
Match Talent, who was also one of the judges of the workshop’s final presentation. After lunch,
the winning team was announced, and so concluded the ISG Summit 2023.

The ISG summit was simply incredible. The energy, the people, and Berlin, of course, everything
came together to create this vibrant atmosphere full of love, motivation, and support over a 3 day
weekend that I will always remember fondly. I got to meet people I probably never would have
been so lucky to meet otherwise (in lesser words, Liam), and made new friendships that felt
more like meeting old friends after a long time. In the end, I would like to thank the very
welcoming community of DEGIS and can only say the ISG summit is well worth it for any
an international student who might feel like they don’t belong or is feeling overwhelmed with life in
Germany and in need of a glimmer of hope to keep going.

Sohila Ahmed
M.Sc.International Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship OVGU

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg

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