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The first ever Michaeli-Gymnasium pupil to get to Cambridge University !

Tayfun Evremser at Cambridge University

Be inspired!

MGM's Alumni Success Story

The first Michaeli-Gymnasium pupil to get to Cambridge University


Name:Tayfun Evremser

Abi: 2013 MGM

Student at: LMU (Medicine)

Tayfun Evremser is a former pupil of MGM who received his Abi in 2013 and has become officially one of MGM's former students. There is nothing unusual about that: there are over one hundred of pupils each year finishing their Abi at Michaeli-Gymnasium. However, what is unusual about Tayfun is the fact that he is the first one in the entire history of Michaeli-Gymnasium who has applied and been accepted to Cambridge University, Corpus Christi College to study Linguistics. In the meanwhile, he has been also studying medicine as a first-year student at LMU.

Below you will find a short interview with Mr. Evremser.

What inspired you to apply to Cambridge University, after all it is not the usual school to go to from Munich?

As one of the top academic and research institutions in the world, Cambridge University is a place where the most "elementary" basic questions are asked, which then in turn leads to various shifts of paradigms(models) in the history of science. They have an excellent program in linguistics, and make significant contributions in a variety of fields as well, so the choice was not difficult, but getting there was another story.

How did the famous *Cambridge Interview go?
(*the Cambridge Interview, like the Oxford Interview, combines subject knowledge, cognitive and creative thinking skills as well as readiness to think quickly and originally)

Well, it was interesting. I met with two lecturers who were friendly and professional. They did ask me questions you can't really prepare for, about phenomena in language use speakers normally take for granted. I felt like I was in a real Socratic dialogue, where the interviewers are like “midwives”: trying to get the best idea out of you. But if you have a thick skin and don't give up but rather try to "push the issue", it can be great fun indeed.

How different is it to study at Cambridge compared to LMU?

Cambridge University follows the trimester system of academic year (so you do basically three semesters in one academic year). Because the lecture period in each trimester lasts only two months, you have a considerable amount of free time, but also work. The main difference is in the individualized care: Thanks to the collegiate system (the university is divided into colleges), there is a program of individual tuition and personal supervision from your professors, which is believed to make the intellectual exchange one-of-a-kind. So it's very individualized and intense. At Cambridge, you study one subject, and do so very rigorously, so you have to be quite sure that your chosen course is the right one. And, of course, universities in the UK are relatively costly when compared to the German ones.

While LMU has far more student enrollment (in numbers) than Cambridge, it is almost for cost-free, and does provide the opportunity to study more than one subject at a time. The latter is especially important to me as I'm drawn to medicine, linguistics and economics.

What surprised you?

What I liked most, is that applicants are measured by their current academic potential only. Cambridge stresses that it's open to applicants from all kinds of backgrounds. I myself went to "Hauptschule" before joining MGM, for instance.
People seem very gentle and kind. And there are a lot of habits which would take time to get used to, for sure: the fact that some students must live within 10 miles radius of the Church ground in order to get a degree, or that gowns are worn in public on special occasions. But on the whole it's really like stepping into one of the Harry Potter books in terms of the atmosphere.

What advice would you give to Michaeli-Gymnasium Abi pupils who are not sure if they could apply to Cambridge?

The candidates are expected to get a score of 1,3 GPA at least (grade point average) in their Abitur examinations. You generally apply in your last year, i.e. before having your actual Abitur diploma in your hands. But apart from that, it really seems much more crucial to be passionate about your chosen course, and to show that you can "think outside the box" by formulating and defending own ideas. While helpful, it seems not necessary for applicants at all to have an in-depth knowledge of their course before attending the interview; a solid understanding of the most basic principles and methods of the subject is much more what they look for.
As for tuition fees and living costs, students can benefit from various grants. And finally, there are loans which students have to repay only after reaching a certain amount of salary after graduation.
Last but not least, you really need an enthusiastic teacher who helps you by writing a letter of recommendation and motivating you!
Just having the experience alone is really worth it since the application process itself broadens your cultural horizons a great deal: Back in Germany, the first thing I did was to go to a British café with my LMU friends to show them how delicious porridge is... ;-)

Tayfun must decide by May 7th whether he will be starting his linguistics degree at Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College next year. Congratulations to him on his success, no matter where he decides to continue with his studies!

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