David - Universität Mannheim

B Science/ B Commerce
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

I studied predominantly finance courses and one accounting course at both bachelor and master level. It was refreshing learning about some similar concepts with a European focus. The academic system in Germany is quite different and you particularly notice the lack of funding for admin help which is totally understandable given no tuition fees there. I didnt experience any issues with the different academic system

Personal Experience

On a personal level, I feel I gained an enormous amount from this exchange. Firstly, my German language skills increased dramatically after living in a German speaking flat share for 6 Months. I made a large group of new friends both in Mannheim and all over the world. Navigating the different systems and procedures of life in Germany, particularly given the occasional language barriers, was at first difficult and frustrating but in the end helped develop problem solving skills. This process also made me gain a massive appreciation for the difficulties faced by all people who seek new lives in foreign countries, sometimes under extremely trying circumstances. I was also able to learn a great deal about the immediate surrounding area and Baden-Wurtttenburg as a whole.

I was able to take many trips to the surrounding areas and enjoyed learning some of the rich history of the area. Lastly, I was also fortunate enough to have time to travel further abroad and see some amazing places in Europe with a visit to Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Accommodation

I lived in a flatshare with 5 other German students. I enjoyed the fact there was no Engish spoken and this really helped my language skills. Living with locals also meant there was always someone to help with any difficulties i.e opening a bank account/ dealing with the local government and negotiations with the landlord.

Budget 

Rent was 400 euros a month inclusive of everything, transport was 160 for the entire semester which allowed travel in Mannheim and to the surrounding towns and food overall is a lot cheaper than in Australia. You can live comfortably for 800 Euros a month particularly since i stayed in quite an expensive area. Travel can be as cheap or expensive as your budget permits however would be on top of the 800.

Professional Development & Employability

Any exposure to new things helps both your personal and professional developlment. Dealing with the new systems and procedures in Mannheim helped my porblem solving skills and helps to build resilience.

Highlights 

One of the highlights of my trip was a trek though the German/Austrian alps where I covered 220km’s sleeping in Alpine huts over 15 days. The scenary was amazing and i thoroughly enjoyed travelling alone, meeting new people and practicing my German along the way.

Top Tips

I enjoyed my exchange immensely and to anyone thinking of whether this might be something on your horizon, I can whole heartedly recommend it and believe there is something to be gained for everyone from every field of study. My only regret was that I was unable to organise an internship whilst undertaking my exchange.