Student Blogs/Laura in Germany 

Life in Mannheim

Mannheim is not your typical, cute, little German city. It is on both the Rhine and the Neckar and is one of the biggest industrial, as well as international, cities in Germany. Actually, if you don’t believe me here are some hard facts:

  • It is ranked 11th on Forbes magazine top 15 most inventive cities in the world.
  • The New Economy Magazine elected Mannheim as one of the 20 cities that best represent the world of tomorrow.

It’s very modern and industrial. For that reason, many people don’t like Mannheim, but I find it beautiful! Another great thing about the city is that it is the perfect location for travelling. You can get to Paris in three hours by train! You can also get anywhere in Germany from the main station very inexpensively and always without any connections.

One downfall of living in Mannheim is perhaps your chances to speak German. Since the school is very international, almost everyone speaks English and all the international students speak English amongst each other. You really have to push yourself and other people to speak German with you. But the great thing is that the University has many amazing programs that you can join to speak German and learn more about their culture.

Tips in preparation for your year abroad

No matter what you think, you are never 100% prepared for your year abroad.

Honestly, this is going to sound horrible but no matter how prepared you feel for your year abroad, you are not. I don’t think that is something you should get upset over because the earlier you accept it, the easier it will be when you get here. I really wish someone had told me that. I watched probably hundreds of YouTube videos, read hundreds of blog posts and articles and I felt like I was truly ready for this experience, and boy, was I not!

Take advantage of all the help you can get.

The first week I arrived to Mannheim was the hardest week of my life because of all the paperwork I had to do. I don’t want to go into full detail about it but if you would like me to write a blog about it comment below. Anyways, it is really important to take advantage of all the help that is given to you.

Mannheim has this amazing program called ‘Visum’ where every international student that signs up gets a buddy. My buddy never ended up responding to me, but all my friends had help with everything from getting picked up by their buddy at the airport to going grocery shopping together. I wish I would have reported my issue and got this help because doing everything alone is extremely hard, especially when your language skills are not as strong as native speakers.

Stop stressing about packing!

Like the first tip, no matter how much you pack you will always forget something, but that’s okay! Why? Because you can buy anything and everything that you need here and it’s probably a bit cheaper. Here are the things I strongly recommend to bring that are more expensive here:

  • Coats for all seasons (like an in-between coat and a winter coat)
  • HANGERS! Here they are a pack of 5 for 2-5 euros
  • A power bar
  • An Ethernet cord
  • A wifi modem (most times they will only give you the router and if you have a bunch of modems lying around your house like I did, bring one!)

If you have all of that everything else is just a plus. Well, I guess you might want to bring some clothes too!

Talk to people when you’re homesick or sad.

I’ve learned that everyone here is feeling the same way you are. No matter if they are from Australia, United States, or Norway, everyone is homesick and going through the exact same things you are. That hardest week of my life? My friends and I talked about it a week later and discovered we all went through the same thing! The same goes when you’re homesick. If you bring up how you are feeling, I guarantee you someone else is feeling the same way and it is quite amazing to bond over it.

I hope this blog post has gave you some insight on Mannheim and has helped you in any way for your year abroad! My next post will be on course selections and the courses I am taking now and where I have been traveling and all of that fun stuff! If you have any suggestions on things you want me to blog about or want to know about Germany for your upcoming year abroad, please comment on this post!

Prost!

– Laura

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