I went on exchange to Freiburg as a compulsory part of my degree. Why Albert-Ludwigs University you may ask? Well it was highly recommended to me by German students that I had met at UQ . They all attested that Freiburg has the 'best weather in all of Germany!' 

Furthermore I picked Freiburg for a number other reasons. Of course the good weather was one but there are numerous other factors; it is incredibly close to the Black Forest which has a vast array of mountain bike trails, the city itself is effectively a 'student city' hence there is always something happening, it's known as the 'green capital of Germany' meaning it is a place where research in renewable energy and renewable energy projects are prominent and it boasts a culture that is rich with tradition.

The university in Freiburg is more than 500 years old and once had a top position among the German universities. The Sprachhehrinsitut (language faculty) offers a variety of courses that are helpful if you seek to improve your German skills as I did. Just ensure that you enrol early because the positions do fill up quickly. If you were unfortunate enough to miss a spot you can just turn up to the class and talk to your tutor to see if you can join. A few of my colleagues did this and it worked out quiet well for them.

Making friends in Freiburg is incredibly easy. I forged close friendships with the people that I lived with. I shared a WG (communal living) with 7 German students in Stusie which is a student settlement approximately 10 minutes via tram from the university. Most likely the university will settle you there if you decide to go there on exchange.

A lot of students go to Freiburg through the European Union's ERASMUS program. So expect to meet plenty of fun exchange students from other European countries. Australians seemed to be a rarity in Freiburg itself which can be a bonus if you are keen to make some international friends.

Also, geographically Freiburg is ideal if you have travellers feet. You can simply wander over the borders and visit France and Switzerland. France is approximately a 35 minute bike ride away from the University whilst Switzerland is an hour in proximity when you travel with the Regional train.

That leads me to one of my tips. If you are catching the train somewhere in Germany and have time, utilize the Regional Bahn a fair bit cheaper than the intercity trains. If you are organising a ticket over the counter at a German train station make sure that you ask for a cheap travel option otherwise they tend to just give you the most expensive ticket. Also book your trips a month in advance it has a huge impact on the price of the ticket. General rule of thumb in Europe is too book trains and flights in advance!

Freiburg is an amazing place to visit and improve your German. Just ensure that you leave with an open mind and you won't have any problems. The people there are incredibly helpful and quiet understanding so don't be afraid. Freiburg really is fantastic and if you decide that it's the destination for you it will be like a second home, at least that's what it was for me.

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