Germany, Reutlingen – Hania Trollope – 2008-2009

Travel

The cheapest way to fly is from London Stanstead to Stuttgart airport with Germanwings, but with luggage flying with British Airways from Heathrow works out cheaper. Luckily Stuttgart airport is located to the south of the city centre in Echterdingen near to Reutlingen so a direct bus link the X5 runs direct and takes around 30 minutes. If out of normal hours then taking the S-bahn to Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof then the train is still reasonable.

Accommodation

The halls of residence on campus are all extremely reasonably priced and very sociable; I shared a flat with 14 people and a massive balcony. Studentwerk Reutlingen offers three very halls: Theodor Litthaus has a beach themed bar in the basement and has been recently refurbished, the Wurmhaus next door is smaller and the Adolfreichwein is slightly older. Slightly more expensive, but more stylish is the hall of residence on campus run by Studentwerk Tuebingen, known as the Aquarium due to its circular glass appearance. A very cheap supermarket, Penny Markt, is handily right next to the halls on campus and down the road is a Getraenkemarkt with amazing drinks, but be aware of the Pfand system in Germany, whereby you pay a deposit for every bottle you buy, but get it refunded when you return the bottle for recycling to the shop, so don’t through any bottles away!!

The University

FH Reutlingen’s campus is much smaller than Exeter but there is everything you need. The Mensa is amazing, with delicious cheap food at lunch, although I never worked out what some of the dishes were… Zweiterfruehstuck is definitely recommended as there were some amazing pastries and coffees! Lectures are offered in German and English, but I found the classes taught in both languages are useful to learn to switch between them easily. Lectures do start very early at 7.30 and last an hour and half, so double lectures can seek long, but the lecturer often takes a Rauchenpause. If you have ever learnt any other languages then it is very interesting to take up first year business languages such as French, but it is a bit of a challenge!

The Town

Reutlingen is a very picturesque market town with amazing cafes, bars and nightclubs with electro nights. You can buy a semester student travel card for around €50 which covers use of all buses and trains in the Nectar region, including the X5 bus to and from the airport so it is worth buying this straight away when you arrive as bus fares can add up. Taking the bus to the town centre takes around 5 to 10 minutes, and travelling by train to Tuebingen, the famous university city on the Nectar river, is definitely worth it, around 15 minutes away, with more nightlife as well. Stuttgart’s bars, clubs and shopping centres are a 30 minutes train journey away, and there are lots of beer festivals held here throughout the year, where the university hires a large tent for the students of the university!

Other things…

The Pre-semester semester German course is definitely worth the money and it’s an easy 7.5 ECTS which you will appreciate later. It lasts three weeks with around 5 hours a day of lessons as well a great social program such as trips to the lakes in the Blackforest. Anmeldung and Abmeldiung are boring but important so remember to look at the check list the university gives you when you arrive. Overall my year abroad was definitely the best year of my life, and it was such a great opportunity to improve my German, to make international friends and go travelling. I definitely miss it being back in the UK and hope to go back and live in Germany when I graduate!! One piece of advice I should give, although it sounds obvious, is to make sure you speak as much German as possible, as it is easy to slip into a pattern of speaking English with the international students, so get involved with events held by the student societies and persevere!

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