Matthew - Technical University of Munich

B Engineering (Honours)
Semester 2, 2022
The academics were all involved in cutting-edge research, such as nuclear fusion reactors, and many of these research fields are unique to Europe.


Throughout my life I have been motivated to travel and study overseas. Growing up in multiple countries has shown me the importance of cultural understanding and how much you can learn from immersive cultural experiences abroad. My background as a classical musician led to an early fascination with European art culture and the desire to live and study near some of the greatest orchestras and opera companies in the world. Furthermore, the variety of subjects available at TUM were another motivation.

Personal Development

This experience provided many opportunities to develop personally. As soon as I arrived in Munich I was lucky enough to join several musical ensembles, including an orchestra and a Bavarian brass band, and aside from other students these were my two main avenues for meeting people. Through these groups I was able to make many close friends It is great to now have so many connections overseas. Furthermore, a large proportion of people I met in Munich were engineers, and this network will prove invaluable in the future. I was able to experience many different countries and cultures, which is easy with Germany's proximity to the rest of Europe. This allowed for insights into how to interact with contrasting people and navigating the challenges of communication within a variety of different cultural and language areas.  Living and studying in Germany was a perfect opportunity to develop my German language skills, something I had not had the chance to do since taking a beginner class in 2016. Through socializing with German speakers and attending events in German, as well as the TUM language classes, I was able to learn much more about the language. This came in handy several times in more rural locations, where I was able to have basic conversations with non-English speakers. As a result of this experience I feel far more equipped to travel, live and work overseas, and with a much greater appreciation for Germany in particular and a desire to live and work there in the future.

Academic Development

Academically, my studies in TUM provided a challenging and unique insight into the European tertiary education system, and have inspired me to investigate potential post-graduate study or employment overseas. I enjoyed the broad range of subjects on offer, and the flexibility with subject selection there. The academics were all involved in cutting-edge research, such as nuclear fusion reactors, and many of these research fields are unique to Europe. The content was challenging, and a major challenge was the single-mode delivery of the courses. The subjects for which I was approved were completely theoretical with a single lecture and one tutorial class. Compared to the lectures, pracs and tutorials I am used to at UQ, it was a challenge to absorb information in this way. Furthermore, the subjects had no assignments and were instead assessed with a 100% exam at the end of semester this made the learning process more challenging, as it was easy to wait until the end of semester to start learning the content rather than learning as you go with assignment and prac submissions. This also puts more pressure on exam performance. Another challenge was coordinating subject selections with exam times. Since the semester overlaps with UQ semesters, it was important to select subjects with early exams, and this resulted in several changes that I would rather not have made. If I could do it again, I would complete the full semester at TUM and start back at UQ the following semester.

Professional Development

I believe this experience has contributed to the development of several skills and attributes that will benefit my professional life. The courses undertaken at TUM were challenging and contrasting academic environment exposed me to content that I would not otherwise had the opportunity to study in Australia, furthering my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, working with people from all over the world has improved my collaboration and cultural awareness. This has also expanded my international networking opportunities - for example, a close friend in Munich works at Airbus. Living independently in a foreign country has improved my resilience, independence and adaptability, while my improved language skills are beneficial to my future employability. Challenges included understanding across the language barrier, becoming accustomed to different academic and qualifications processes, and finding a balance between travel and professional development.


My experience was more expensive than it could have been, due to my different accommodation requirements. Note that this breakdown is for two people. Overall, I spent approximately $30k between two people overseas and this includes: $6000 for 2x return flights $10000 accommodation $600 transport (in Munich) the remainder was for living expenses, travel, concert tickets etc. Aside from accommodation in Munich, living expenses in Germany were not too bad. For flights, I would recommend Qatar Airways as they give a decent discount for students (10%+) and also extra luggage. Deutsche Bahn has great combination tickets so you can travel to ski fields etc. with an inclusive train ticket/ski pass. Shopping at Aldi is A LOT cheaper than shopping anywhere else and my groceries were cheaper in Germany than they are in Brisbane.


Funding was extremely helpful for this experience, especially considering the inflated costs of travel post-COVID. I am grateful for the $2000 I received from UQ and put it towards flights.


As my partner was coming with, I was unable to utilize the TUM-provided housing. However, we were able to secure accommodation privately through personal connections in Munich. Although it was a lot more expensive than the uni accommodation, it was a lot more spacious and suited our needs with one bedroom, one bathroom, living room and lovely kitchen. Pros of the accommodation were its size and price (compared to similar apartments), cons were its distance from the city centre. Future students studying in Munich should know that although they say that your accommodation is not confirmed and could be anywhere, it will almost always be at the Olympic Village and this can help with planning.


Performing with a Bavarian band in Hofbräuhaus, Spending Christmas skiing in the Austrian Alps, in my mother's hometown, Pasta-making class in Verona Meeting Sir Ian McKellen after a show in London.

Advice/Top Tips

Immerse yourself in the culture and the people - it is easy to just interact with the Australian students you go on exchange with, but some of the most rewarding experiences from my exchange were with the locals I spent time with. Book flights as early as possible.