Bachelor of Science, 3rd year
Bachelor of Science, 3rd year

Academic experiences

During my time at Leuphana in Lüneburg, I really enjoyed participating in a variety of not only interesting but also very different courses.
As a science student at UQ, I was fortunate enough to have many electives and was hence able to take courses that appealed to me from a range of non-science related fields; psychology, digital media, sustainability, logistics and languages.
Unlike my approximately 300 person lectures at UQ, the courses I took part in at Leuphana were more tutorial-styled with around 20-30 people in each class.
Small class sizes meant that sessions felt more like interesting discussions than a real class and allowed the development of relationships between professors and fellow students.
Before the official semester commenced, I took part in a 3 week intensive German course.
While this course was, as the name suggests, intense, it was a great refresher for my German and the perfect opportunity to meet and become friendly with other exchange students before the uni was in full swing with all the Germans.
One of the courses I took was 'Tandem' - I highly recommend this to anyone making an exchange semester in a foreign language speaking country if it is offered.
Through tandem, I improved my conversational German immensely, made a wonderful friendship, learnt so much about the German culture and had the most fun that I believe one can have in a university subject - I also received an A+ with minimal stress - as I said, I strongly recommend!

Lüneburg's Main Street ft. Warm Pretzel

Personal experiences

What I got out of the exchange in Lüneburg is more than I could have ever imagined!
The initial shock and anxiety associated with living away from home in a non-English speaking country was quickly forgotten as I began to make some of the best friends from all corners of the globe and immerse myself in amazing German cultures; speaking the language, eating the food and of course, drinking the beer!
In my time in Germany I learnt so much more than just university related educations; the challenges and fulfilling feelings of independence, more German than I learnt in five years of secondary school classes, how to be friends with students from anywhere in the world, how to travel on a budget without sacrificing comfort or missing opportunities and the ability to say 'cheers' in over 20 languages - just to name a few!
As clichéd as it sounds, I really feel that I have grown from my time abroad and now know myself a whole lot better.
I feel I will take more opportunities and have a greater appreciation for the smallest things in life (like free public bathrooms and walking outside in less than four layers).
Lüneburg is a beautiful town with a population of primarily university students.
It was affected minimally during the World Wars and hence has retained its historic beauty and has an incredible vibe.
If however, you're feeling the small town too much and want something a little bigger, one of Germany's biggest cities, Hamburg, is just a 30 minute train ride away (also free for students!).

University Organised Trip to Berlin - Brandenburg Tor, Berlin

Accommodation

Accommodation-wise, I got to experience the best of two worlds.
I elected for accommodation organised by the university's 'housing office' and expected a dorm-styled, shared student situation.
To my initial disappointment, for my first four months I was living with a host family sharing a flat like area with two other foreign girls.
Eventually this situation grew on me as I became close with the girls and was able to experience life in a 'German household'.
In my last two months in Lüneburg, a dorm-like apartment building became available and I relocated.
Living with only students meant freedom, fun, friendships and the occasional frustration with unhygienic student behaviour.
In terms of which option I would recommend from my two very different experiences, I would say, depends on the individual.
If you would like to be a real German local, go with the host family, however if you're more about the freedom to come and go as you please, have people at your place and not feel too held down by noise or curfew restrictions, definitely opt for the dorm.
Mine was called campus 4 and was actually an abandoned orphanage - living history right there!
Location wise, one can live on campus, close to campus or in the city centre.
Regardless, these locations can be travelled to and between by a free (for students) 5-10 minute regular bus or 10-15 minute bike ride.

Oktoberfest Hannover ft. Florida Girl

Budget

In terms of budgeting, I was pleasantly surprised with how little I was spending compared to what I had anticipated.
In general, groceries and clothing are cheaper than Australia and unlike UQ, prices of food on campus is actually affordable!
As I realised I was spending less than imagined, I began to take advantage of 'spare' cash for travel and other indulgences (such as paying 50 euro cents to use a bathroom rather than waiting until getting home).
Depending on how much travel and shopping you can forego, you can really do living really cheaply! Those forgone expenses however, can be minimised with the right research - overnight buses for travel, were not only my favourite cheap travel option, but also meant one less night of accommodation costs.

Academic development and employability

I believe that my participation in exchange has enhanced my academic development and employability greatly!
With a whole new skill set ranging from independence, self-organisation to street smartness and communication through language barriers, I can now bring many qualities that I previously did not have, to a work place or educational institution.

Hofbrau Beer in Munich ft. Australian Boy from high school studying in Munich

Highlight

There were just too many highlights of my experience to pick out a single one as number one, for this reason I will list a few captions of some of my Instagram posts while I was abroad (#UQabroad #aussieabroad #yeahgood)
- Departure, Topdeck Tours, New Friends, Oktoberfest, German Medi-Evil Festival, Weekly Wednesday Karaoke, Berlin (university organised trip), Outdoor Ice Skating, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Couch Surfing, Concerts, International Dinner, Aussie Reunions, Salzburg, Munich, Party in University Corridor, Currywurst, Christmas Markets, 14km Run through a German Forest, German Christmas, Family Reunion, Prague, New Years in Prague, Vienna, Skiing in Austria, Snowboarding in Austria, Copenhagen, Australia Day, Stockholm, End of Exams, Paris, Belgium, Carnival in Cologne, Poland + Hungary (visiting homes of new friends), Barcelona and Home!

White Christmas - Snow in Frankfurt ft. Visiting Sisters

Top tips

Everyone will tell you about how amazing it will be - no matter what, it's going to be even better!
DO IT!
 

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