Ashleigh - Eberhard Karls University Tübingen

B International Studies
Semester 1, 2019
I cannot recommend exchange enough - the travel, the people you meet and the cultural experiences make it a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Academic experience

I studied a mixture of German as a foreign language classes and political science classes while on exchange. The language classes were highly beneficial and worthwhile - not only to learn the language, but to better understand the culture and to assimilate into the German lifestyle. 
Thankfully the politics department at Tübingen offers multiple classes in English so I had plenty of choice.

Personal experience

The advantages of exchange are innumerable. I fortunately made amazing friends from all across the globe, with whom I intend to stay in contact. 
Tübingen is well-connected to travel to cities via bus and train across Europe. Further, budget airlines operate from the nearest airport for a sneaky weekend trip further afield. 
My confidence, resilience and sense of adventure all grew during my exchange.

Accommodation

I was fortunate to live in a historical building in the Tübingen old-town (Altstadt). This was extremely convenient as campuses, amenities, bars and the river were all within walking distance. 
I lived in a dormitory hall with my own bedroom, but a shared kitchen, laundry and multiple bathrooms. This seemed to be common in Tübingen, however I have heard of solo apartments and WG style arrangements too. 
My advice would be to introduce yourself to your flatmates early, as a friendship with them can really define your exchange. 
Further, I would advise to place your housing application with the university in ASAP. It become extremely difficult to find accomodation once the official allocation is exhausted.

Costs

Tübingen is a university town, as such the prices reflect the student population. It is possible to have a döner and drink for 5 Euros, or eat a full meal in the Mensa (a type of cafeteria) for between 2-5 Euros. 
Public transport is convient in Tübingen and relatively cheap with the discounted student semester transport card. However, as the buses are free on Saturdays and after 7pm, and the city is highly walkable, many students forgo the ticket. 
My biggest expense was my own personal travel. Thankfully cities such as Strasbourg, Munich and Zurich can all be reached by Flixbus. Cities such as Lake Constance can also be visited for free if you have the student transport card. The nearest airport, Stuttgart, is also serviced by Ryanair and Laudamotion flights - including their super cheap 10 Euro flights to Bologna, Italy.

Challenge

The largest challenge I faced on exchange was balancing study with my travels and experiencing Tübingen. However, with organisation and prioritising it was more than manageable.

Professional Development

I gained multiple skills whist on exchange that will benefit my future employment. My communication skills and intercultural competency are such examples. My ability for time-management, adaptability and resilience were also improved.

Highlight

The highlights of my exchange include:
- Visiting both the Munich and Stuttgart Frühlingsfest (similar to Oktoberfest but in Spring).
- The Stocherkahnrennen race in Tübingen (a huge boat race in the middle of town, with lots of festivities).
- Hiking the various castles and ruins around the area.
- Going to live-gigs in Berlin.
- Sailing in Croatia during my mid-semester break.
- Baking traditional Brezels in a local bakery.
Among other activities with my new-found friends and adventures abroad.

Top tips

I strongly advise anyone considering going to Tübingen to apply for the Baden-Württemberg scholarship. Aside from financial aid, they assist with housing, visas, bureaucracy, etc. Further, they organise free group excursions and cultural exchanges and experiences! 
I would also suggest participating in a pre-semester language course. During this time I met the majority of my friends and felt settled in Germany prior to the rush of the semester. 
Finally, enjoy your time and say yes to everything! It goes so quickly!