Bachelor of Architectural Design
Bachelor of Architectural Design

Guten tag, Ich heiße Karl. That about sums up my German speaking ability before heading on exchange to the Technische Universität München (TUM) where I am completing the fourth semester of my architecture degree. There have been moments where I haven’t really known what I was doing or really knowing what the courses that I had signed up to would entail. But it has all come out fine, everyone here has been brilliant with helping me with my exchange and my German, the faculty, my fellow students and random people that I have met on the street, at bars, backpackers and on trains have all been super kind and supportive.

Student at ice skating rink

Studies at TUM and I believe most German universities are rather self directed, with very few tutorials, although the lectures are more than happy to help you, you have to seek them out, and not the reverse. I enjoyed all my courses, but particularly ones that involve small classes or group work were I got to meet and talk with a huge variety of people. I also really liked my courses that were dissimilar to the courses that I have undertaken at UQ, like architectural acoustics and experimental design, which was a very creative class, constantly discussing each others projects and how they could be improved.

One of my first problems was accommodation. If you are going to Munich look for accommodation early, it is a very tight market. As I was travelling around Europe for 6 weeks before starting my semester I thought that I would just start looking when I was in europe as looking 6 weeks before I would moved in just seemed like too long. However once I got to Europe I was having too much fun and I kept not really doing the whole accommodation search thing, until just before I arrived in Munich. I was lucky, I stayed in backpackers for about two weeks before I found a place, it seems to take most people much longer then that. I ended up staying on my own flat off campus, although I would have prefered a big share house or student housing it was still fine, it just meant that spur of the moment outings were harder as I didn’t have any roommates to go with.

Student next to bear sculpture

Financially speaking Munich is not a cheap city, my rent was 360 euros/month, including all utilities, which was very cheap for Munich outside of student housing, I got lucky with a place where for some reason the landlords were not charging that much, most people I know living outside of student residences are paying 550 euros or more per month. I payed for my exchange and travel through saving from my casual job, combined with a small scholarship from UQ Abroad, and Centrelink payments as I am independent. Don’t worry too much about not having enough money to go out and party every night, most other students and particularly exchange students don’t have that much money either and are keen for fun cheap activities, and local ones are good at hunting these down.

My “top tip” is to just try and have fun and meet as many people as possible, particularly locals, but also other exchange students from all over the world. Also you might like to try and be a bit more organised than me, although everything was fine, if I hadn’t have been able to find accommodation so quickly I imagine that I would have gotten a little stressed.

My advice for people thinking about going on exchange is simply to go and don't worry to much everything will be fine, probably.

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