Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering

I set out from Brisbane airport in August 2013, ready to face many challenges, experience new things and have the adventure of a lifetime.  After two months of touring around central Europe, meeting amazing people and viewing beautiful sites I finally made it to my exchange destination Munich, Germany - the land of pretzels, beer and lederhosen.  I quickly noticed there were countless differences between the student life I knew back in Brisbane and the student life I was now getting to know, in my new home.

Munich is an incredible city.  It is the capitol city of Germany’s most prosperous state, Bavaria, a place where the people see themselves as Bavarians first and Germans second.  The main square, Marienplatz, is surrounded by shops, café’s, restaurants and markets.  It is also the location of the New Town Hall, and of course the famous Glockenspiel.  Munich is the home of Europe’s biggest city gardens, The English Gardens, a beautiful place any time of the year.  Getting around Munich is really easy, with the underground train system, buses or trams.  It is also a very bike friendly city, with bike paths on all of the main roads.

I undertook my exchange in the 6th semester of a bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Civil and Geotechnical Engineering.  At The Technische Universität München (TUM) most of the undergraduate engineering courses are in German so I took masters courses while I was on exchange.  It was a big shock going from classes of up to 200 or 300 students, at UQ, to classes with only 30 people in them.  The smaller class sizes were a welcome change, they meant the lectures were more interactive and that it was really quick and easy to get to know everyone and make friends.  The main campus of the university, where I studied, is close to the centre of the city and is easily accessible by bus, train or bike.

Accommodation in Munich is incredibly hard to come by, luckily for most UQ students accommodation is given for us at one of the student dormitories scattered throughout the city.  I lived at the student dormitory on Biedersteiner Strasse, located only 3km and 6km north of TUM and Marienplatz, respectively.  The dormitory consists of 4 buildings housing approximately 150 students.  I had my own bedroom but shared a kitchen and bathroom with 5 other students.  Living where I did was great!  Biedersteiner is a very social dormitory where there is always someone to talk to or to play foosball with in the common room and parties were constantly being thrown in the basement, so I didn’t even have to walk outside to get to them.  This accommodation is especially famous for it’s Halloween parties and a party thrown in early March for Fasching, the German version of Brazil’s Carnival. 

Although Munich is one of Germany’s most expensive cities, the cost of living is still much cheaper than the cost of living in Australia.  Rent at the student dormitories ranges between about 250 and 350 euro a month and groceries for one person for a week shouldn’t cost more than about 30 euro.  I would definitely recommend eating out at a German restaurant, where a meal and beer will cost you less than 15 euro.  I would also highly recommend ‘Döner’.  It is a German take on the traditional Turkish Kebab and will fill you up for only 3 euro.

Top 5 tips!
•    Even if it will not count towards your degree, take a German course while on exchange.  The language courses, at the university, are free, fun and a great way to meet friends from all over the world.
•    Never arrive at a party before 11pm, even if it is meant to start at 8pm, you will be the only one there.
•    Try and go to a football game at Allianz Arena, if you can, the atmosphere is incredible.
•    Events organized by TUM Exchange and Servicepaket Tutors are usually pretty good value and lots of fun.  They are also a great way to meet other exchange students.
•    Try and explore as much of Bavaria as you can, the whole state is beautiful.

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