Hey fellow Sprotties!

My name is Laura Walker and I am currently studying at the Universität Mannheim for my year abroad! If you don’t know me or want to get to know more about me you can check out my bio.

It has already been two months since I have arrived in Mannheim and officially a month and a half since I have been taking courses at the school. I have no idea how the time has already gone by this fast, but I have been enjoying myself every minute that I have been here.

Choosing Mannheim

Choosing your university and where to go is a lot of pressure, even more so than choosing where you wanted to go to University after high school (I found). I kept changing my mind constantly from Berlin to Leipzig back to Berlin and so on and so forth. I actually did not know about Mannheim Universität or all of the other options I had to go with until my academic advisor, introduced me to the OBW program. If you don’t know anything about the OBW program and are interested in doing a year abroad in Germany, you need to go check out the OBW website.

OBW also known as the Ontario Baden-Württemberg program is an amazing partnership program with nine different universities in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. So, not only do you have the option to go to all the schools in partnership with Carleton but you now have these ADDITIONAL nine schools that you can go to! Needless to say I got pretty overwhelmed when I found this out.

So why OBW? Well, it’s an amazing program that gives you a $2500 grant if you study for a year at one of those select universities and $1600 if you only study for one semester. The only “catch” is that you have to buy German health insurance (around 80 euros) in order to get the grant. BUT no matter what school in Germany you will go to it is mandatory for you to have a German health insurance to enroll as a student. So if I have to get the health insurance anyways, I might as well get a grant for doing it, right? Also OBW is a program led by incredible individuals who are there for you – just a phone call or email away.

So why Mannheim? One question I got quite often was that I was choosing a “worse school” in comparison to Berlin, which wasn’t the case at all! I didn’t even know Mannheim existed and spoiler alert; they are one of the top business schools in Germany surpassing the Berlin School of Economics!

manheim university

The school is a CASTLE!

So that is why I decided to go to Mannheim.

Sommer Akademie

Another great thing that OBW does for the students that go abroad through their program is offer them the Sommer Akademie program for FREE. Sommer Akademie is offered by every school in Germany to international students that is a month long and happens the month before school starts. In Mannheim, this was during the month of August and it was the most amazing month ever.

You start the day with language courses in the morning on Mondays to Fridays and then in the afternoon and evening the school plans excursions that you can participate in. I got to go on trips, hikes, learn about German breweries and wineries and much, much more! But the best part of the Sommer Akademie is that you get to spend a month in Germany where you can adapt yourself to the culture, make friends, and let yourself calm down before school starts.

I honestly was so unsure about whether or not to attend this program and when I found out it was given to us for free, I knew I had to go. Even though it cut your summer at home a month short it is SO worth it. I can’t even imagine just jumping into the culture and language while dealing with all the paper work and registration AND jumping into school all at the same time without that buffer month. I am SO grateful that I did it and I encourage you to do it too, even if you have to pay for it!

I hope you all have enjoyed my very first blog post and will read my next ones to come!

Prost! – Laura

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