I am a 3rd year Bachelor of International Studies student majoring in German and International Relations. While on exchange in Munich at the Ludwigs-Maximilans-University (LMU) I studied International Relations, German and American Studies. I spent seven months in Munich.
From an International Relations perspective, LMU had some amazing and interesting courses to offer. The most interesting course I had was ‘advanced IR Theory’, where I studied IR Theories which are ‘not-mainstream.’ It was quite interesting, because this was more about European political thought and less of the more dominant America / Anglo-Saxon thought. This of course was all in German, which made it a challenge. However, there are English courses offered, but they are all first or second year courses. So if you want study advanced courses, your German should be pretty advanced.
Another thing about the LMU, it is not a campus compared to UQ. The different faculties and libraries are spread all over the city, but most of them are close to each other or near the main building of the university; if you study medicine, well good luck you have to travel to the outskirts of Munich ;). If you study courses in different faculties be prepared to jump on public transport to get to your classes. I for example had to travel between the ‘School of Political Science’ and the ‘Department of American Studies’ twice on a single day. Do not worry, public transport is super-efficient in Munich and 100 times better than in Brisbane. However, the best option (during spring and summer) is a bike. Munich is very bike friendly city.
Exchange students wise I was quite surprised that there were so many Australians coming to Munich, though I was the only one from UQ there were about 30 from UNSW. Nevertheless, I made friends with mostly European and American Students. Besides embracing German culture I also got to know bits and pieces of Russian, Greek, Spanish and Israeli culture through the other exchange students.
If you will try and get accommodation with help of the LMU they will probably get you a (very) small apartment in the Olympic village, which is about 20 minutes away from the university. The village is pretty cool, because it is a ‘student village’ and most of the exchange and international students live there. There are several student accommodations spread around the city, but this is one of largest ones.
I lived in a shared apartment in the east of Munich, which in general is cheaper than the village, and you live with someone else, who most of the time are Germans/locals. This in my opinion is better, because they know their way around and can help you better with all the bureaucratic stuff that you have to deal with while in Germany.

5 TOP TIPS

  • Travel! Traveling from Munich can be cheap, especially when you get deals with bus companies. I travelled from Munich to all sorts of places (USA, Egypt, Netherlands, etc.) and it was not too expensive. So if you have a bit of cash on the side, DO IT. If you don’t want to travel to another country there are heaps of nice places to travel to around Munich, e.g. ‘Schloss Neuschwanstein’ a.k.a. the Disney Castle.
  • Don’t go to the ‘Hofbrau Haus’ even though it is world famous, there is a better place around the corner (and not too expensive as well). Take a picture of the ‘Hofbrau Haus’ and then head over to the ‘Schneider Weisse’. The food and beer is better, and it is not full of tourists. Go in before 11am and get the Weissbier and Weisswurst breakfast. You will love it.
  • Definitely get a bike / bicycle. Munich is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world and there are bike paths everywhere around town. This saves you money and you don’t have to rely on public transport.
  • Go check out the Tollwood festival. It is multicultural festival with heaps of stalls, shows and different kind of food. AND IT IS FREE. They have two version: the Winter Tollwood and the Summer Tollwood. So no mather what time of the year you will doing your exchange, it is around.
  • Well the most obvious, because this is Munich, would be to visit the Oktoberfest. However, you would only have the chance to visit the Oktoberfest during your second semester, but don’t worry there is a mini version during spring (first semester) called the ‘Fruhlingsfest’. It is not as big as the Oktoberfest but it will do. So get your set of traditional Bavarian clothes - the Lederhosen (for boys) or the Dirndl (for girls), which you can get for 200 EUROS – and enjoy a Stein of good Bavarian beer and dancing on the tables in the beer tents.
  • BONUS TIP: If you are a surfer and don’t want to miss out on surfing during your exchange, Munich is the “surfing capital” of Germany. At the Eisbach (German for Ice brook), a small man-made river in Munich, you can surf. The river forms a standing wave about one metre high, which is the popular surfing spot in town (during summer and winter).

Image 1: Me standing in front of the Bavarian-Statue; It is a female personification of the Bavarian homeland, and by extension its strength and glory.
Image 2: Me having a nice cold Bavarian Beer.
Image 3: A bunch of other exchange students and me having a typical Bavarian breakfast (Weissbeer and Weisswurste).
 

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