Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Psychology
Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Psychology

As cliché as it sounds, I literally had the best time of my student life at the Bucerius Law School (die Hochschule fur Rechtswissenschaft – literally, the High School for Law Studies) in Hamburg. 

Natalia Hamburg

If you are reading this, you might be in the position I was just one year ago: absolutely unsure as to where to go on exchange! In the hope of making your choice easier I have prepared my testimonial as a series of questions. If you answer yes to all the questions, you have just made your choice!
Q1. Do you want to study in an internationally renowned legal institution? Bucerius is in one of the most renowned legal education institutions in Germany.  This was something I only learnt when I got to Hamburg and everyone was super impressed about Bucerius ‘Ah Bucerius Law School, das ist eine top schule’ they would say.  It is super difficult for Germans to attend Bucerius, so you will be studying with some of the top German legal brains. The international program is separate to the German Bachelor program, but of no less quality.  The courses are practical, especially if you are interested in Mediation, Arbitration and International Business Law, and the professors who deliver the courses also focus on practical teaching and class involvement.
Q2. Do you want live in a city known as ‘die schones stadt die welt’ (the most beautiful city in the world)?  Generally Germans are biased towards loving the city they were born in, but I totally agree with the Hamburgers (yes that is what I called them collectively) - Hamburg is indeed one of the prettiest cities I have visited/ lived in (and I have been to London, Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, and many other pretty cities).  Additionally, the Alster lake in the city centre, the gigantic Harbour and the small beaches, gave me a sense of home-away-from-home.  Each part of Hamburg is like its own small city, and whatever your taste you can find a niche –St Pauli: for the radical politicals and crazy football fans; Sternschanze or Rotterbaum: for students; Altona and Ottensen: for the artists and vegans; and Winterhude and Eimsbuttle: for those with a little more class and cash.  During the day you will generally be studying at Bucerius, but by night and on the weekends there is always something going on.  Be sure to ask the awesome International Team for information on upcoming activities and events.

Natalia Bucerius
Q3. Do you want to delve into traditional German culture?  While Hamburg is your regular modern city, it has definitely not lost its German roots.  First of all, there is a Backeri and a Getranke Kiosk (like a 7/11, but selling alcohol) on almost every corner – in recognition of two of the most important things for Germans: Brut und Bier.  When one is in Hamburg one MUST try the Francebruchen (cinnamon roll) and the Alsterwasser (literally Alster water – but it is actually a beer and sprite mix).  On top of that there are some strictly Hamburg traditions: the battle between the St Pauli and Hamburg (HFF) football (soccer) fans; the Sunday morning Fischmarkt (Fish and farmer’s market); the famous Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s bar and nightclub scene, come Red Light District); the Schanze Flomarkt (Flea market); and the tradition of pretty much all shops being closed on Sunday.  If this is not enough German culture for you, you will definitely have a chance to travel around Germany.  I recommend visiting Lubeck (for Martizpan lovers); Cologne (for Karneval lovers) and Munich (for lovers of beer and Bavarians).
Q4. Are you interested in comparing international legal institutions?  One of the many excellent surprises I experienced on my exchange was finding out in orientation week that I would be studying with students from all over the world.  Our cohort included: Turks, Africans, Israelis, Indians, Americans, Canadians, South-Americans, Spaniards, Englishmen (and women), Poles, Czechs, Frenchmen (and women) and of course, Australians.  Even though we were 130 people, we all became quite good friends AND frequently enjoyed comparing our cultures, both legal and living.  Each week we also enjoyed a self-organised ‘cuisine from a different country night’ at the Gustav-Radbrach dormitory bar (yes this dormitory has a rentable bar).

Natalia Luneburg
Q5. Do you want the organisation of your exchange to be handed to you on a plate? Here I do not need to say more than: Ask the International Office Team!  Sabrina, Annalena and Balin did everything for us, from organising our visas, to assisting with accommodation, course choice selection and organising fun activities.  They are always available to email or for question-answering in person around the campus.  They are a credit to the University and I could not have had such a smooth exchange without them!
Q6. Will you have time to apply for housing (as there are limited dorm spaces)?
Possibly the one downside of this whole exchange was the struggle to find housing. In the end I found an awesome place in the north of Hamburg, right next to the beautiful Stadt (State) park. However, be prepared to start searching hard and early. Your options are: limited dorm spaces (which are fun but small); sub-letting from a German student who is on exchange; or checking out the broader apartment market (I would not recommend this). The best resources are the Bucerius Intranet Room Swap (see Handbook for information) and the BLS Marktplaz Facebook Group. I would highly recommend coming about 2 weeks earlier to be in Hamburg to actually view the apartments. I could not find anything searching for 3 months in Australia, but I found something after one week of being in Hamburg.
So as I said, if you answered yes to all these questions, you should choose Bucerius!
Ich Wunsche euch ein schones zeit!
X Natalia (Sept – Dec 2014)

Natalia Berlin

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