May, 2010

Getting settled in Germany

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
University of Mannheim

University of Mannheim

My name is Tanor Johnson, and I am a Junior with a finance concentration in the Foster School. I am currently spending spring semester at the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany. Mannheim is a great city with plenty to do. It is fairly large with the University and the train station being the two main areas of the city. So far my time here in Germany has been a blast. Classes are much different than at UW and many of them only meet once a week. Because my schedule allows me to have Thursdays and Fridays off, I have been able to take weekend trips to many places.

I am living in a student dorm “Am Steingarten” which is about a 10 minute bus ride from campus. There is a good mix of German, Polish, American, Turkish, and other students living in my dorm. It was tough at first to get around the city and ask for directions, but after a short period of time you get the hang of where things are and how to ask the basics in German. The school has a student organization called VISUM that plans parties, dinners, day trips, pub crawls, and weekend activities all throughout the semester. You receive an entire semester schedule of these events and it makes meeting international students extremely easy and fun. Many of the parties are held in the University, which is a big baroque palace.

Recommendations to future UM exchange students

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Some of the recommendations that I would make to future University of Mannheim students is the following:

  • Take advantage of Germany’s small size and travel with a Bahn Discount Card (purchase at any Deutsche Bahn central train station)
  • Take part in unique national celebrations (i.e. Karneval, Oktoberfest, etc.)
  • Take part in unique local celebrations (i.e. Maimarkt (early May), Dance into May (May 1st), Karneval festivities)
  • Participate in all of the VISUM activities and trips (coordinated by the school organization)
  • Utilize VISUM’s website for ideas for activities and the “good deals” around town they suggest
  • Attend the faculty parties (i.e. in the Katacombs and the Schnekenhof)
  • Seek out local food and drink (i.e. regional Flammkuchen, Currywurst mit Pommes, and wide  array of German beers and wines!)

While this list is clearly not inclusive of all that a Uni of Mannheim exchange student should take part in, it is a start to getting really submerged into the culture of the Uni of Mannheim and Germany as a whole!