Bachelor of Architectural Design
Bachelor of Architectural Design

My semester in Germany was full of rich experiences and challenges. I had a very memorable time and would definitely do it all over again. I studied at the Technical University of Munich. I am at a bachelors level at UQ but took mostly Masters courses to fulfil the ECTS quota because they are more commonly taught in English. This may sound daunting but I didn't find it any more academically challenging than UQ. However, I would say that there was a greater quantity of work. Whereas in the Architecture program at UQ I appreciate a somewhat streamlined and straightforward assessment load, at TUM you would have more assignments that may not be as academically challenging but still require a lot of time and resources; time management is key! At first the experience of enrolment was chaos for us international students. You enrol in a number of classes and then attend the classes to see if it meets both your requirements i.e. ECTS, content, timetable and if you can get a spot (they will replace you with someone from the wait list if you don't show up). I went to a number of classes and missed out on getting a placement and a lot of the time the course information online is different to what is actually on offer. The plus side of this is there is a breadth of subjects to choose from that are really interesting! The architecture faculty has fantastic resources and I loved that there are 'Chairs' which are headed by a professor with a number of assistants. These 'Chairs' have a specific interest in a field of study for instance my favourite was Lehrstuhl für Entwurfsmethodik und Gebäudelehre (Department of Design Methodology and Building Theory) because they had a real focus on atmosphere and fantastic assignment briefs.

During and prior to my exchange the countries I got to visit were Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany (obviously), Spain, Switzerland, Austria and France. Prior to my exchange I went travelling around Northern Europe. I flew straight to Copenhagen from Brisbane and from there went to Sweden and Norway. It was a really amazing experience and I adored these countries for their culture, architecture and their immersion with the environment. Once in Munich my hunt for accommodation began, this was one of the biggest challenges of the experience. There were points where I thought finding accommodation was not going to happen. I ended taking a risk and booking a student room with a private company online. I had to share the bathroom and kitchenette but it ended up a nice experience and I was walking distance to the university. Once I had booked the room I decided to travel around Austria and Switzerland before I could move in and the semester begun. I decided I would go on a Peter Zumthor pilgrimage and head to the isolated locations that many of his buildings are in. This was an amazing and cathartic experience and, despite its spontaneity, was probably the highlight of my exchange. There are many other international students at TUM and making friends is easy. There are the most amazing and mystical parks in Munich and they present themselves almost as secret gardens. Plus the wine and food is cheap, so you can have some great picnics!
 

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