Nicholas - Technical University of Munich

B Engineering
Semester 2, 2018
Germany - especially Munich - is one of the best places to study if you want to be in a city that doesn't feel like a city.

Academic experience

Renewable energy has funding in Europe that Australia can only dream of, so studying in Germany was an amazing opportunity to learn more about this area, I took a course on Hydro Power and two on wind power as well as one covering geothermal power and power storage. The most difficult aspect of the German system is that all courses have a 100% final, so without assignments during the semester, it was hard to stay focused.

Personal experience

I enjoyed the chance to use my German language skills although, for the most part, English is what everyone will speak to you. Germany was also incredibly central to so many places, I was able to explore 13 countries in the short time I was there, including over a month backpacking before the semester started! Munich itself is absolutely beautiful, especially if you're an outdoorsy-type. Id recommend running from the accommodation up to Fröttmaninger Berg for an incredible sunset.

Accommodation

Living arrangements are amazing for undergrad exchange, if you follow the process you're guaranteed a spot in one of the on campus student accommodations. You'll meet heaps of people there, and make a lot of friends at all the parties they have. (beer is also v cheap)
Location wise, I was in between uni and the city, which was very convenient but student accommodation locations vary, none are a long way from the city. MY number one tip is check your spam folder, and double check your email address doesn't a have a second spam folder, because chances are, TUM's email will be caught by a spam filter.

Costs

Rent was VERY reasonable at around 450 AUD a month for the little student apartments, but make sure you don't miss out on one because rent in a share house in the city is exorbitant.

Challenge

The biggest challenge was the unexpected costs. I had issues with my bank back home while I was away and I couldn't call them to sort it out. Mobile plans are also very cheap in most European countries but not in Germany and every student has to get health insurance, even if you're insured by a travel policy (meaning at some stages of the trip I was covered by 3 policies simultaneously). Managing these costs was hard and sadly I had to say no to some great opportunities to travel towards the end of my time. I'd recommend budgeting an extra $1000 on top of whatever you estimate for your trip; unexpected stuff happens and you need to be prepared.

Professional Development

The biggest challenge was the unexpected costs. I had issues with my bank back home while I was away and I couldn't call them to sort it out. Mobile plans are also very cheap in most European countries but not in Germany and every student has to get health insurance, even if you're insured by a travel policy (meaning at some stages of the trip I was covered by 3 policies simultaneously). Managing these costs was hard and sadly I had to say no to some great opportunities to travel towards the end of my time. I'd recommend budgeting an extra $1000 on top of whatever you estimate for your trip; unexpected stuff happens and you need to be prepared.

Highlight

Definitely my time in Slovenia, it's such a beautiful country as is Germany in the winter. I especially loved Englischer Garten for all its gorgeous running trails and snow covered fields.

Top tips

Don't be afraid to ask questions during your application process, it can be tricky and choosing subjects is a maze, just take your time and look through them all to find the ones best suited to you; TUM has a HUGE selection of subjects and a lot of them are in English.
Have a snowball fight. Have a sunset picnic at Fröttmaninger Berg. Go swimming in Englischer Garten. 
Literally embrace every opportunity you get while abroad, it only happens once.