Daiana Horbach visited from Bonn: 'It's fun to see how people in other countries study'

Daiana Horbach is 1 of 25 students from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences participating in the exchange program with ATBC. The Ukrainian recently learned all kinds of things during her two days in Nijmegen.

Daiana Horbach studeert in Bonn en is in Nijmegen voor een uitwisseling met ATBC-studenten

Daiana Horbach basically had only 1 request for her exchange partner during the 2-day visit to Nijmegen: can we eat at a traditional Dutch restaurant? 'Because cuisine is the best way to discover the culture of a country,' she says with a smile.

Different angle

Together with 24 fellow students from Bonn, Daiana is participating in the exchange program of HAN ATBC and Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. On 3 and 4 November they were in Nijmegen for 2 days for part 1 of the program. 'I like getting to know people from all over the world,' Daiana says. 'It broadens your view, which may allow you to look at problems from a different angle. And it's interesting to see how people study in different countries.'

The first day in Nijmegen was largely organized by HAN ATBC. 'We saw the campus and did an escaperoom, where we had to solve genetics- and biology-related tasks. Pretty funny and challenging. Furthermore, we talked about our studies, the culture and the differences. For example, the grading system and exams are different. Where we have 1 exam, students here have 4.'


The program for the second day was put together by the Dutch students. The Dutch-German group visited museums, skated at the Triavium and explored the city. 'I wanted to get to know Dutch people, because this is one of my favorite countries. I love nature.'

Nature is also 1 of the reasons why the Ukrainian decided to study Applied Biology. 'My father used to tell me many interesting things about nature. We often took walks in the parks. I became very interested in living things and wanted to know how this life worked. I also enjoyed reading children's books about science and watching movies about biology and chemistry.'

The scientific approach is different in Germany

Ukrain war

A year and a half ago, Daiana fled from Kiev to Germany because of the war. This school year, she was able to study again in Bonn. She chose Applied Biology in Bonn. 'I had already studied biology for two years in Ukraine. I did have to start all over again, but I'm glad about that because now I can study it in English. And of course the scientific approach is different in Germany.'

After her studies, she hopes to work as a geneticist. 'For example, at a pharmaceutical company in a project related to genetic engineering. With this we can repair damaged DNA and thus help people who have a genetic disorder.'

2 days in Bonn

With her fellow students from Bonn, Daiana will welcome HAN ATBC students to Bonn later this school year. 'Then it’s our turn to show them our labs, our student life and to give a tour around the city. Bonn is not very big, but it has nice cafes and a nice center.'

Her conclusion after her visit to the Netherlands? 'Germans and Dutch are pretty much the same. The difference is not as big as with people from Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, for example, the schools are very strict. And everyone expects a lot from you. Here you feel more freedom to decide what you want for yourself. Everyone seems more relaxed. That is nice. I already feel at ease here.'

Photo David van Haren