Culture, Traditions and History in Tübingen

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1 Culture, Traditions and History in Tübingen by Katherine Pattersson In April last year I started my one year exchange in a south German city called Tübingen. The town itself has a population on approx. 80,000 people, a quarter of which are students. Having such a high student population it is quite well known as a student town Universitätsstadt. The Me town itself is very historic and beautiful. Famous Germans such as Goethe and in Tübingen Hölderlin have lived in Tübingen. The houses in the old part of town are Fachwerkhäuser that were built many centuries ago. The town also has the Neckar river floating through it, where canoeing on Stocherkähne is popular. Student life was full of international students. Before university, I took part in Startkurs, in which many exchange students have the chance to meet, learn more about the culture and history and also improve German language skills. Many parties and excursions were organized not only through the Startkurs, but also through Studit, which is an organization set up to help exchange students meet and integrate into the student community. Through the many opportunities to go on organized excursions or simply with friends, we saw much of the area. Tübingen is in the Bundesland called BadenWürttemberg. Cities of interest not too far that we visited were Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Konstanz, Freiburg, Ulm and Munich isn t too far (2-3 hours away).

2 I enrolled myself in university papers that would be credited for my BA majors. This meant attending lectures with German students in the fields of political science and some other areas of study that were of interest to me. Even though it may be a bit difficult at first to be thrown into Marketplace lectures that are taught 100% in German (with often quite specific and unfamiliar vocabulary), it doesn t take a long time at all to adjust. One big difference though, is that in German universities there is less guidance and more independence. Each course has usually only 2 hours of classes a week but you are expected to do a lot of independent study. This can also be confusing at first, but the lecturers are usually quite willing to help. Sometimes its possible to do an oral exam instead of a written one if you don t feel confident enough to write an exam in German. It never felt like I was alone because I knew many other exchange students who shared the same opinions and queries. In the student hostel where I lived there were people from all around the world speaking all sorts of languages. In the summer semester there were no other Kiwis! If you are interested in going to Tübingen, you should enquire about the Baden-Württemberg Stipendium (scholarship)! I really recommend going on an exchange and especially to Germany, as there is so much history and old traditions. You don t just learn about the German culture, but also about many other cultures and countries through the many people you will come across!

3 Life as a Kiwi Student in Germany by Anna Dekker As I embarked on my semester exchange to Germany in April, I was both excited and anxious about the opportunity that lay before me. My expectations were particularly high after hearing so many positive accounts from former exchange students, however, I could never have anticipated how far this experience would exceed my own expectations. My motivation for taking part in the four-month exchange was to experience life in a new culture and improve my language skills. This type of immersion, as I m sure other exchange students will testify, is the only real way to learn a foreign language. The exchange programme was unique as it enabled me to remain enrolled at Canterbury University and continue to gain credits towards my degree. After a relatively stress-free settling in period, some differences between the two countries quickly became apparent, such as the highly organised and punctual transportation system, open speed limits on the autobahn, aspects of the German University system, the bureaucracy, delicious German food and of course, the language. Germany is one of Europe s most wealthy and technologically advanced countries. Everywhere you go evidence of the country s rich culture and history can be seen juxtaposed against today s fast paced, modern society. This provides the unique fusion between new and old typical of many European countries. Since the 1960 s Germany has become home to a diverse range of cultures and ethnic groups which add

4 to the dynamism of German society. There are many traditional festivals and carnivals that are celebrated in typical German style and play an important part in the society. Studying in the heart of Europe gives you the opportunity not only to experience the culture of your host country, but also to travel to many other neighbouring countries effortlessly and conveniently. For students there are many cheap options to travel by train, bus or plane to the various towns and cities nearby. Participating in a university exchange allows you to meet many people from diverse cultural backgrounds and develop new perspectives, greater tolerance and increased openness to different ideas. There are many opportunities to establish lifelong friendships with fellow flatmates and students and meet new people through a variety of clubs and student support initiatives available on campus. As a New Zealander in Germany, you are welcomed with open arms and many people will be delighted to practise their English with you! Germans are generally very appreciative of any attempt to speak German with them, no matter how good or bad your command of the language. An experience such as this is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and a life changing experience that will leave you with no regrets and many amazing memories.

5 Studying at Bucerius Law School and Enjoying Hamburg by Nicole Cherry In September each year about 80 law students from all over the world descend on Bucerius to participate in their International & Comparative Business Law program. It is honestly the best time you will ever have at university. You are supported by the international team at Bucerius from the start. They organise everything from Visas, Bank Accounts, and Housing Insurance through to Me and my friends on top of the Bundestag (German Parliament) day trips including a 5 day trip to Berlin. You will be really looked after at Bucerius! They offer a wide range of courses, from EU law to Intellectual Property and Environmental law. The lecturers are all on exchange we had a number from the US, the Netherlands and England for example. Unlike on other exchanges your classes are usually exclusively for International Students, only a few had German students in them as well. All your classes are in English, but if your German is good enough you can opt to take everyday Bucerius classes taught in German. Bucerius also runs optional German language courses for those of us whose German isn t up to scratch. The majority of people on exchange had little or no prior knowledge of German and at least picked up the basics before we returned home. In terms of living in Hamburg, the city is Reeperbahn

6 awesome. You will spend a lot of time on the Reeperbahn and on Grosse Freiheit the two main clubbing/pubbing streets in Hamburg. The 50c shot bar is also a firm favourite! Remember Thursday night is student night! The city itself is centred on two lakes, with the river Elbe to the south the hub of the port. If you can handle it you can try and stay out all night on a Saturday night to catch the fischmarket on the bank of the Elbe which The Alster looking towards uni opens at 5.30am. While I was in Hamburg I did a lot of travelling. It is a good home base for travelling. A group of us went to Stockholm for a long weekend. I also went to Spain for 5 days with a friend I was in classes with. I made it to Oktoberfest and we did day trips to Bremen (famous for the 3 musicians) and Lubeck (famous for marzipan). I also managed to get to Twickenham and to Paris for two All Blacks Tests! I met a heap of people from all over the world who I am now really good friends with. Some Oktoberfest in Munich of us already have plans to meet up again at Easter or later in the year. You meet so many people and make close friends in such a short space of time. I couldn t recommend it more! All Blacks Game in Paris

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