Hannah - Ludwig Maximilian University Munich

B Science
Semester 2, 2019
All the people I met, the places I visited, and the obstacles I overcame made this whole experience really worthwhile!

Academic experience

I completed the second semester of my second year of a Bachelor of Science at the Ludwig Maximilian’s University of Munich (LMU). At LMU, science courses at a Bachelor level are not offered in English so I was allowed to do Masters courses. At first, I was very hesitant about this as I thought I wouldn’t know the assumed knowledge and would feel lost, however, this was not the case. The semester I went in was the first semester of their academic year, meaning I could do the same courses as first semester Master’s students, which were mainly ‘introductory’ courses. These courses were reasonably easy to follow as they assumed some basic background but did not require in depth knowledge, so they were actually similar to second/third year courses at UQ. I did have a look at the subjects offered in the next semester and, for my department at least, there wasn’t as many of these introductory courses available. For me, this was one of the main reasons why I chose this semester, as easier courses means more time for enjoying Germany/Europe.

I found it quite hard to fill the 30 ECTS load as most courses are only 3 or 6 ECTS. One way I filled this was doing a research course (it can count for 9 or 12 ECTS, depending on how many weeks of research you do). However, securing a spot in this course was not easy. Registration is separate to other courses and requires emailing the person responsible and asking to be part of their team. I emailed only shortly before my other course registrations, however, I wish I had done it sooner. There weren’t many places left and I was competing against people more qualified than myself (in that they had already completed their Bachelor’s degree). This was very stressful and I only managed to get a place in the third week of the semester. However, since I only needed to do the course for 8 weeks, this timing ended up being fine. 

My full load ended up being three “Lecture” subjects, one “Lecture and Seminar” subject, one "Practical" subject and the “Research Course” mentioned above. Though doing six subjects may seem like a lot, I found the workload overall much less than UQ. All my “Lecture” courses had only one two hour lecture a week and the "Practical" subject was only three weeks of four full days of classes. I found the assessment at LMU also very different to UQ, with it also contributing to a lower workload, which I personally think enhanced my experience of exchange. All courses I did only had assessment at the end of the semester, meaning the majority of the time, I didn’t have to worry about completing assessment and I had a lot of free-time to travel and have fun!

Personal experience

On exchange, I made so many new friends, many of whom I will keep in touch with in the future. Almost all the friends I had at the end of exchange, I met at the beginning events hosted by the international student union (MESA). MESA put on events several times a week for the first few weeks of the semester that were focussed around meeting new people who were also in the exchange program. If it weren't for these, I don't think I would've met half the people I did. Therefore, I would 100% recommend going to as many of these events as you can since building a network of friends early on can really help with settling in and transitioning into living in a new country. Also, since everyone is away from their families, you all get so close, and by the end, you start to feel like each others family.

Travelling and exploring the places surrounding Munich and in Europe was reasonably easy and inexpensive. If you want to go on a quick trip within the state of Bavaria, you can purchase a day ticket and essentially get on any eligible regional train travelling within the state (just make sure you don't accidentally get on the wrong one - finding your way back to Munich after getting kicked off at a station in the middle of nowhere is not fun!). MESA also hosted many day trips within Bavaria and some weekend trips around Europe - usually, there was at least one trip every weekend. This was great as it was a lot cheaper than if you were to arrange it yourself and it was also easier as everything was organised for you, including travel, accomodation, city tours, and the occasional pub crawl. Overall, the ease and price of travel meant that I found myself going somewhere new every weekend which was really exciting and nice to look forward to during the week.

I got so much more out of my exchange than I was expecting. The new and unique situations that I experienced meant that I was pushed so often out of my comfort zone, forcing me to overcome so many things I didn't know I could. It was such a rewarding experience and I honestly feel I matured in the time I was there.


Living in private residence in Munich is very expensive, but LMU does offer student accommodation at various sites off campus at a much more affordable price. However, the places for this are limited if you miss out, trying to find alternative accommodation can be very hard, time consuming, and expensive. To ensure you get a spot, make sure you send off your expression of interest to LMU as soon as possible. In general though, I think there shouldn’t be too much problem with getting student accommodation as it seems Australians are given preference over Europeans (because we live further away). However, in any case, it’s better to be safe than sorry and send off that request as soon as possible.

I stayed in a student accommodation and ended up paying ~350 Euros a month. I had my own room and bathroom but shared a kitchen and common room with 5 others which I think gave me a good balance between privacy and company. Where I was staying was well located as it was directly across the road from a train station and it only took me 7 minutes to get to my university campus by bus or 20 minutes to walk.


Munich is the most expensive city to live in Germany so when budgeting for exchange, I expected to be spending much more than in Brisbane. However, I found living expenses such as groceries and restaurant prices very comparable and possibly cheaper than Brisbane. I was spending less than 40 euros on groceries each week and an average main meal out was around 10-15 euros. A lot of the costs from exchange came from my rent and health insurance. Having health insurance is a requirement to be enrolled in the university and can cost up to 100 euros per month (mine was around 90). Other compulsory or recommended expenses included the deposit for your room (mine was 100 euros), the semester payment to the student union, and the cost of a semester transport ticket (around 200 euros). However, I think the biggest determiner of your budget depends on how much you want to travel. I ended up spending around AU$14,000 on my whole exchange experience but this included a month of travel before the semester, travel over Christmas, and various weekend trips during the semester. Thinking back on it, I can see times where I probably could have saved more or budgeted better, so I think the same experience is definitely affordable for less.


The most challenging thing about my whole exchange experience related to the registration of courses. An information session on how to enrol was held just before the semester started, and though in general, this session was useful, some important things were not mentioned, making for a very stressful first few weeks of classes. After beginning the semester, I found that courses on my study plan that were approved by LMU, were actually incompatible (due to the timing of courses not mentioned on the website). This resulted in me having to rearrange a lot of my courses during the semester, which was a very difficult and stressful process. Rearranging courses was not as simple as changing an option on a website (like at UQ) and it required me to personally converse with the course coordinators. This proved very difficult as at first I emailed them but since a lot of staff members do not check their emails often, I had to visit them during their office hours (which were sometimes at quite inconvenient times) and each time I spoke to someone, I was told to speak to someone else. This whole process took around two weeks, one of which was basically full-time 'damage control', going from person to person and emailing with both LMU and UQ to look at possible options going forward. I did speak to other students later in the semester about their enrolment and a lot of them had a similar experience to me, so don't think you're alone if you have similar issues. Because of this rearrangement, I had to resubmit my study plan to UQ and it was actually two months after returning from exchange that all my subjects were approved. The stress from rearranging my courses and not knowing whether UQ would even accept them was very draining and was probably the hardest thing I had to deal with on exchange.

Professional Development

While on exchange, I acquired and developed many useful skills that I know I will be able to implement back in my life in Australia. From speaking with and getting to know so many people from all around the world, I developed a better understanding of different cultures and ways of life and also feel that through these interactions, I have come out of my shell and become a more confident person. Being on exchange was the first time I had lived alone and it taught me a lot about living proactively with ensuring I always had enough food and clean clothes for the next day.


There were so many highlights from exchange that it’s impossible to pick one that outshone the others. All the people I met, the places I visited, and the obstacles I overcame made this whole experience really worthwhile, so, I think the highlight for me was in fact the whole experience and the opportunity it provided for travelling and just having fun in general.

Top tips

I would highly recommend doing the German language course that's offered (a bonus is that it can count for 3 ECTS!!) or at least using the Duolingo app to learn basic words to help you get by at the grocery store.

I cannot recommend highly enough going to the early events hosted by MESA. As I mentioned before, I met most of my friends at these and I really think my exchange experience would have been a lot less enjoyable without them.

To keep travelling costs down, I would recommend looking at websites such as FlixBus, Omio, and Sky Scanner. These will give you cheap bus, train, and plane routes all around Europe.

Make sure that soon after you get to Munich, you get cash out. A lot of places don't offer card payment or prefer cash and though it's inconvenient to carry everywhere, it will make your life a lot easier.

Overall, try to make the most of the experience. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that gives you the ability to travel wherever you want, meet new people from all over the world, and most importantly, allows you to live almost care-free and have fun in all the new and exciting places!