This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 12th May 2010 and has been read 23263 times.
1. University courses
Look at the Vorlesungsverzeichnis. This is a list of every course at the university for the semester. It describes each course and tells you when and where lectures/seminars take place. As far as Heidelberg University is concerned, and this is true of most German universities, you can study anything you like, so find a few courses that sound interesting and simply turn up on the first day. Out of politeness you could also email the unit tutor to check if this is Ok, but in general this will be. Don’t just go to courses in the Deutsch als Fremdsprache department as you won’t get the genuine experience of studying in Germany. You’ll also only meet Erasmus students, which isn’t ideal for learning German.
2. Student Life
Make the most of the free sport classes. These take place in the evening at the sports centre in Neuenheimer Feld. There’s a whole range of classes from Latin dance to circuit training.
Setting up a student bank account is easy so go to any of the main banks in town e.g. Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Postbank. N.B. you can only get free cash withdrawals using your bank’s ATMs! However, Postbank, Dresdner Bank and Deutsche Bank allow you to use each other’s ATMs for free, provided you are a customer at one of them.
5. TransportA second-hand bike is essential. Everyone has one and there are no hills so it’s perfect for cycling. There are lots of second-hand bike shops e.g. near the student canteen in Marstallstrasse. An average price is around €80, but it’s worth the investment – and you can sell it again at the end of the year. Don’t worry about a Semesterticket for public transport unless you live a long way from the centre of town. In any case, students can use public transport for free after 7.00pm.
Make use of the various student canteens, especially the Marstall Mensa, which serves a buffet throughout the day. The canteens in Heidelberg are good-value and better quality than in the UK.
It’s not essential to live in the Altstadt, although it’s convenient if you can find somewhere. The suburbs in the north are nice e.g. Handschuhsheim, and there are good tram links. As Heidelberg is small you’ll never be that far away from the centre so don’t worry if you don’t get a place in one of the crowded student halls. You could also try a Verbindung.
Make the most of the lovely countryside around Heidelberg by taking a walk to the top of Heiligenberg or Königsstuhl. There are great views of the surrounding area from the top. Heidelberg is also on the edge of a National Park so there’s lots to discover.