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Studying at the Schloss (Palace)

I have been in Mannheim for about a month now and let me tell you this, German people are really really friendly and helpful. Even if I were to ask someone who doesn’t speak English, they generally try their best to reply back and help you out. They are extremely polite and I’m just loving their accent! Mannheim is a small city with a grid like pattern, this is extremely helpful for someone like me who gets lost in a daily basis! Typical on-the-go German breakfast is a pretzel (Brezel in German) and coffee. I have gotten into the habit of getting my morning brezel for like 80 cents and coffee for like 2 euros. Did I mention that everything is really cheap here?

Germany is very environmental conscious. We have this machine thingo in a lot of supermarkets, this machine will pay you around 25 cents (per bottle) for returning all the plastic bottles. With the result, the whole city is fairly clean and everyone recycles everything here. I generally collect all the water, coke bottles, beer bottles etc. and go to the supermarket once a week to recycle and make some money haha! Did I mention that we can buy good German beers for 2-3 euros? It’s crazy cheap here!

As an exchange student, I have been travelling a lot. Just in this month, I have been to Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Paris and Munich for the Oktoberfest. It is so convenient to travel to other European countries.

I opted to live in student housing about 20mins by bus from the main University. I had heard some horror stories about this housing but I only have had good experiences here. The housing helped me meet a lot of exchange students and make friends. I know some students who opted to live close to the University campus. It’s definitely more convenient to live in the quadrant but if want to make international friends then I would recommend student housing instead!

Let’s move on to the main topic – Mannheim University. The main campus is called ‘Schloss’, meaning Palace. And boy does it look like a Palace!! It’s a magnificent campus with weekly parties inside the Schloss. When can you ever say that you partied in a palace?

Also, the first week is pretty daunting with loads of paperwork and documentation, but they are kind and helpful staff who will take you through everything step by step. VISUM is a student organisation that helps you by finding you a German buddy. My buddy was particularly helpful, she even came to pick me up from the train station!! She was with me when I was running around getting my documents fixed, she was with me when I bought my German SIM card, she was with me when I opened a new bank account, she was with me in ALDI and IKEA stressing out about blinds….she was with me through everything. Words cannot express how thankful I am to her!!

So classes have started and the lecturers are oh-so punctual! I had issues with clashing subjects but I have worked through them now…I must say that the lecture contents seem harder as compared to back home and some of the courses only have one exam worth 100%. Well, I guess you shouldn’t expect any less because Mannheim is known for being one of the top Universities in Germany! I also got the chance to represent UTS at the Global Exchange Fair in Mannheim, I met a lot of locals who are keen on going to Australia and experience our culture.

I definitely recommend going on exchange! If you are hesitating….stop worrying and do it now!

Nitya Kannan (10480895)

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