Harry - University of Tübingen

B Business Management and Commerce
Semester 2, 2019
Going on an exchange in Tubingen allowed me to do more than just travel such as make friends and experience different cultures.

Academic experience

To complete a “fulltime” semester, I was required to do 30 ECTS. The breakdown of most bachelor subjects was 6 ECTS per subject so therefore I chose to do six related subjects. Before you begin the semester, you will be given a list of subjects offered in English which you can select from, although your acceptance into each subject comes a lot further down the track (sometimes 1 week into the semester, do not stress – just communicate!) Many subjects actually had a majority of Germans in it, which allowed me to make many German friends despite arriving in Europe without knowing a word of German. 

A subtle difference in subject offering at Tubingen was the opportunity to do ‘intensive’ subjects where you did not have weekly classes. For example, subjects would offer a 3-day course over the semester where you would turn up for the day from 9am till 2/3/4/5pm. These subjects were easy to excel in if you participated. These specific classes were highly engaging, group driven and intellectually sound. I couldn’t recommend enough trying to sign up to these classes if you are given the opportunity. 

I am quoting a prior testimonial here, but things have not changed one bit: “one of the challenges in attending the university was the enrolment process after arriving. There are a lot of bureaucratic steps to take, and while the International Office here is very helpful, a lot of these steps involve offices that are only open for limited hours on certain days. I would definitely suggest arriving in Tubingen at least a week prior to Orientation week so that you can have everything done in time. For me, I did not receive my login details till two weeks into classes beginning, meaning I had to email all course coordinators to let them know I was interested in participating in their class. Most coordinators are familiar with these issues, however I suggest emailing all of them and attending the first lecture/seminar to secure your position, as often the classes will already be full.”

Overall, I would say you could compare the difficulty of a 3rd year subject to a 1st or 2nd year subject at UQ however, given you are completing 5, time management is important if you are completing weekly classes. If you study commerce/economics/business at UQ, target those intensive courses and your semester will be a breeze!

Personal experience

One of the most valuable experiences of your exchange will be meeting and living with Germans and people from all over the world. You will have the opportunity to meet a multitude of people from different cultures and it is such an exciting experience. I would often find myself being served Italian, Spanish, French, German, Greek and Hungarian food such was our friendship group. The people you cook with will most definitely be your best friends. Differences in culture was also an interesting source of conversation, especially drinking games and dinner time.

Tubingen’s location is ideal for travel all across Europe. A five euro and one-hour bus allows you to get to Stuttgart airport which has low cost carries flying all across Europe for ridiculously cheap prices. For closer travel, Flixbus will take you pretty much anywhere for under 15 euros. While the whole of Europe is at your fingertips for weekend and extended trips, be sure to check out closer local towns – especially the Christmas markets.


I lived in “WHO” which was situated in the north of the city. There were 20 larger student-only buildings, one cheap and popular bar, two supermarkets along with other smaller shops all within walking distance. Most exchange students in the city live here along with Germans – probably 50:50 as a ratio. If you are considering living here, feel free to contact me for more details about each building – some of the descriptions given are confusing. Whilst you live ‘out’ of the city from 8am – 10pm there is a bus every 5 minutes into town and it takes an average of 10-15 minutes to get it. All university buildings are within a 10-15 minute bus ride. You will be able to purchase a semester ticket which gives you free public transport for 100 Euros.

I would advise living here, or in the old town if you are willing to spend more and know some people.


Living in Tubingen as part of your exchange is comparatively cheap to Australia – even Brisbane. I paid 250 euros a month for my room which was my only fixed expense. Groceries are certainly cheaper than Australia, although you may find the fresh food and meat sections about the same price, with lesser quality. When it comes to eating and drinking out, it is so much cheaper than Australia. Eating out at a takeaway for lunch (Asian, salads, kebabs ect ect) would cost no more than 5 euros. When going to the bar, drinking would be no more than 3-5 euros (beer) at the most expensive places. In WHO where everyone lives the prices of the alcohol is as follows: Beer 2, Shots 1.5, Cocktails 3-5. Alcohol in the supermarket is even cheaper. Travel is also very cheap as a result of Ryanair fights out of Stuttgart with return fares varying in price. If you booked early ie 1-2 months ahead, you could find return flights for 15-30 euros. Flixbus and group train tickets could get you anywhere within say 200-300km for 10 euros max. 

To give overall perspective, if you budgeted for the cost of living in Brisbane you would have more than enough to travel and live.


The biggest challenge presented was easily the enrolment process – nothing is online. There are many bureaucratic steps that honestly felt like obstacles and a hindrance early in the semester. There were 6 or 7 steps at different buildings around town, which doesn’t sound difficult – but each office was only open for certain hours each week. Once you are done however, everything is easy going in terms of admin.

Professional Development

Before exchange, I had never lived somewhere where peoples’ native language wasn’t English. This was initially a challenge during enrolment but in time, you’ll make German friends and they will happily translate everything for you. By living in a completely different culture, you will be forced to be far more independent and aware of your actions. Your eyes will be open as to how lucky we are in Australia.


Undeniably, going to Europe for an exchange abroad unlocks so many travel opportunities that simply don’t exist back here. For me, travelling with my flatmates and friends was a highlight. The cost to travel (once in Europe and especially in winter) made it so accessible to all. Make sure you make the most of the events that occur during your time of year. For example, Octoberfest, Christmas Markets, Karneval ect ect. You simply can’t experience this elsewhere. 

Whilst travelling was great, the true highlight of my experience was living in a completely different country with completely different people from completely difference cultures. This mix made it once of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Top tips

1.    Apply for the Baden-Wurttemberg scholarship. Investigate the benefits online – they are vast. 

2.    Attend the orientation week and put yourself out there. Ensure you arrive one week before O-Week so you can complete all the admin so you actually enjoy the activities offered. 

3.    Try learning some German before you come, it was my biggest regret. Once you come here, if you don’t know any everyone will instantly revert speaking English to you as 90% of students are pretty much fluent. However, if you aren’t super interested in learning German, you will be fine for this reason.

4.    Travel as much as you can. You will never have the opportunity again to travel with friends and flatmates all over Europe for such an affordable price. 

5.    Taste the local Swabian food, you’ll be genuinely surprised. 

6.    Pick Tubingen! The place is honestly the most perfect spot for exchange given the location and size of the city (100,000). It is a cheap and affordable student city that allows you to have so many more experiences as a result of everything being cheaper.

7.    Visas are easy, just make sure you have a plan in mind. 

8.    Find me on Facebook if you have any further questions or queries!