> How to ... survive your first weeks in Germany
It might be overwhelming to move to a new country. Alone, without family and friends, with a different climate, different culture, different language. For most of you you’re away from home for the first time. Starting studying is a whole new chapter in your life.
So how do you face the unknown? You jump head first into it but come well prepared. There´s no need to panic. It might be hard sometimes, but we´ve come up with some advice to help you make a good start in Germany. Trust in yourself but stick to our advice!
The more German you already have, the easier your arrival in Germany will be. Reaching a basic level of German is necessary before your arrival so that you can meet the high demands of our programme from the very beginning. The Goethe Institute and youtube will be helpful amongst other websites and learning opportunities such as magazines, online exercises, radio stations and television broadcasters. It doesn´t have to be boring!
You can´t survive on only fastfood … so learn some easy recipes from your mother, these will help you feel at home far away from home! And cooking together with your roommates is fun, will help to make friends easily and get to know your new colleagues from all over the world.
September might still be warm in Mannheim, but windy and rainy autumn is around the corner. A hoodie won´t be enough… Come prepared and bring a water-resistant and warm jacket with you.
Preparation is everything Read the guidelines from our international office carefully and come prepared. Set up your local German bank account in advance, then you only have to activate it after enrolment and city registration. The same for your German health insurance, register from your home country, then the whole process will be faster after your arrival.
All our new international students are in the same boat. You all come from different countries, but you all are new to Mannheim. Mix and mingle, don´t stick with only people of your nationality. Explore the city together, get to know your neighbors in your student accommodation and most importantly make friends with older students. They will be very helpful …
After having registered with German bureaucracy, soon letters written in German will flood your letterbox. Don´t panic, don´t ignore them, but show them to a German friend. This will help you immensely in keeping deadlines or entering the right passwords …
Sports, religious, outdoor activities, any other hobbies or interests you have – become a member of a group, learn more about German culture and participate. You will notice that you will pick-up German faster than by studying with only books. Germans don´t bite, they are in fact very warm, welcoming and interested in you. Try them …
The weeks before your arrival we will organize buddies from higher semesters for your help. They are also students from our international programme who´ve been in your shoes before. They will contact you in advance and arrange meeting you upon your arrival in Mannheim. They will take you to your student accommodation, they will organize your room keys, they will take you around the campus, they will accompany you to the registration in the city. Besides we always set up a fb messenger group of all new international students and our buddies. You will be in close contact, everybody is helping each other, you´ll never walk alone… Promise!
Silke Förstermann is your personal contact for the whole process. From your first enquiry, throughout your application process, your admission process, your enrolment and your settling in during our welcome days and cultural programme she will be there for you. She will be in close contact with our international office, language center and buddies. She will be the link between the involved departments and you. Don´t hesitate to ask questions and to ask for help.