My name is Dan Wyatt and I am a fifth year Bachelor of Laws student. Now, what is there to say about exchange that has not been written in 1000 testimonials before mine? Honestly not too much however I will certainly try.

The first thing I need to say to get it out of the way is this: do it. Do not even think about it, just do it. There is really no excuse to not go on exchange. It is perhaps the only six months (or year or more) of your life where you can be almost completely obligation free and living in a foreign country. A period of your life where one weekend you can choose to drive to Amsterdam and the next fly to Oslo. A time where you are placed into the company of many different people from many different countries. It is impossible to impress upon anybody with words just how amazing these things are.

In terms of language I would recommend learning at least a basic level of German before going over or agreeing to take the German courses offered at whichever university you go to. Although most people there can speak English (even if they tell you they cannot) it always helps to be able to say basic things. People tend to be just that little bit kinder and willing to help if you just attempt to speak their language.

I personally studied at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany for about four months. Bucerius Law School itself was fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough. It is a very small (albeit incredibly wealthy) establishment situated right next to the amazing Planten un Blomen (the botanic gardens in Hamburg), a stone’s throw away from the infamous Reeperbahn and a short walk to the wonderful centre of Hamburg which is surrounded by the tremendous Alster lake.

The subjects available to study at Bucerius are varied, interesting and invariably taught by well-known lecturers or practitioners of law from around the world. I greatly recommend the subject corporate governance which was perhaps the most interesting subject I will ever participate in during my university career.

In terms of accommodation I chose to sublet a room from a Bucerius student who was going on exchange elsewhere. This is all arranged through the Bucerius students themselves. You are provided a list of Bucerius students subletting their rooms and you are required to email these students yourself. It really is merely a luck of the draw and whether that Bucerius student is willing to let you lease their room. Alternatively other students choose to stay in residential dormitories which seemed perfectly adequate in quality.

The Bucerius international office staff are perhaps the most useful and efficient people you will ever meet in your life. They sort out everything you need to do in regards to residency permits and general administrative arrangements as well as always being there to help (as for example when my bank account was closed down and I needed to use their phone to call back to Australia to see why I could not access any of my money). Do not be afraid to just go into the international office and have a chat.

Hamburg is also the perfect destination from which to explore the rest of Europe. I personally explored Germany extensively as well as the surrounding continental countries. However it is also incredibly close to Scandinavia (my personal favourite bloc of countries), being a short drive or train trip from Copenhagen or a two-hour flight to Helsinki.

If you are debating whether or not to go on exchange give up the debate. Apply, get accepted, book your flights and just go. You will not regret your decision. You may regret not being able to stay for a year (as was my case) however you will not regret your time spent. You will regret it in the future if, for some insane reason, you decide not to go. Europe is amazing but even more amazing spent on university exchange.
 

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