Living and studying in Germany
BBC Make me a German
This 2013 BBC documentary provides a highly accurate view of „average” German daily life. It shows a high level of empathy for what drives Germany as a country and for „average” Germans. It is of particular interest to prospective students of FAU as it is set in Nuremberg (Erlangen’s main square can be seen at 0:09 of the video).
A documentary like this will of course include some clichés and will simplify things. Nonetheless, many of the observations are very much on point and get to the heart of German culture and life.
Student should keep in mind, that the „average” German here is around 40 years old so not a student. This means that the documentary does not necessarily show the life of German university students but their family background and what international students might experience with „average” Germans when they come to study here.
DW Meet the Germans
„Deutsche Welle“ or DW is Germany’s public international broadcaster. Although it is funded by the German government, the work of DW is completely independent of government influence. They provide a fantastic series of broadcast describing characteristics of the German people and society in a very entertaining way. Watching these is an excellent way for students to prepare for live in Germany. The series is called „Meet the Germans„. We would not agree with all of it and there are some clichés and stereotypes, but all told it is a very accurate insight into the German soul and way of life. Watch and enjoy.
A Matter of Perspective
The „Studentenwerk” is a state-run non-profit organization for student affairs in Germany. They offer numerous services for international students. Based on this experience they developed a brochure „A Matter of Perspective“ describing a collection of typical difficulties that international students can encounter while getting to grips with the German educational system. The nice thing about these case studies is that instead of offering an „ideal” solution, they simply describe a case and then different people with different background describe their perspective: German university staff members, Germans who lived abroad, people from the home country of the international students involved in the case studies. This supports the understanding of all parties involved in the process, thereby building a basis for fixing the problems that arise. It is a lot of reading but definitely worth it.
Studying in Germany
- The most important website: A huge collection of helpful information by the German Academic Exchange Service.
- Another very comprehensive website „Studying in Germany“ in several language (German, English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian, Tagalog, Portuguese, Polish, Albanian)
- More specific (as Erlangen is located in Bavaria): Study in Bavaria, a website run by the Bavarian Government
- Information for international students by the „Deutsches Studentenwerk“
- „Meet the Germans“ by the Goethe-Institute
- A website giving advice in what and where to study, powered by some governmental and public institutions (in German): Path to study
- A website specialising on the issue of Health Insurance
- Another website about intern abroad
- A broader perspective: website about studying in Europe.
- Long list of links that are relevant to female students in particular (most in German)
- The website of the private company Erudera which provides information about educational systems
There are some brilliant accounts of international people living in Germany and describing their experience with the country and people. We particularly recommend to watch several: if more than describes a similar experience it is more likely to be genuine and not just a personal perspective (such as the „Green man” at traffic lights or the speed of cashiers in supermarkets):
- Uyen Ninh is a Vietnamese student living in Germany with her German boyfriend: her observations are fantastically accurate and very much to the point –
- Genesia from Indonesia reports on her experience with Germany and other countries
- Nandani is a lady from India living in Germany
- Rachel and Brittany from the USA have both have German partners and post about her life.
Country and People
- Homepage of the Federal Foreign Office
- Another website run by the German Government: a portal to Germany which contains a vast amount of facts and information.
- Yet another government-run website: find facts about Germany – available in about dozen different languages.
- Information by the team of Just Landed – an initiative which provides information on countries all over the world.
- Fancy going skiing in the Alps?
- …or traveling to another nice location in „wunderbar Germany„?
- A nice lake district near Erlangen (in German).
- For those who don’t like water: the wonderful „Franconian Switzerland“ (in German)
Germans and fun
Some people say, that Germans and fun are incompatible. In fact, Germans can have a lot of fun and can be quite funny. Find out more here:
- Some background information about German jokes on the ‚Deutsche Welle website‚
- Some sketches by probably the greatest German comedian ever: Loriot on youtube (in German with English subtitles)
- A more contemporary German comedian Michael Mittermeier (in English)
- The German comedian and physicist (!) Vince Ebert talks about science
- Henning Wehn at YouTube – a German comedian regularly performing in the UK
- A German ritual (many Germans watch it each New Years Eve): Dinner for one – a phenomenon explained by the „Deutsche Welle“
Chinese version of the homepage of the Confucius Institute – which is located about 200 m from the MAOT office.
Living in Erlangen
Pictures and videos
- A nice video by an Indian student about the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.
- A collection of pictures by a private photographer.
- A virtual tour through Erlangen (in German)
- MAOT is located on a small campus whose buildings are former army barracks: this film on You Toube shows the area (0:51 – 1:10 shows our building)
Local culture centres
- E-Werk: in Erlangen: disco, cinema, music, cultural events, bicycle garage
- Luise in Nuremberg.
- K4 in Nuremberg
- Current events in Erlangen
Cinemas with movies in foreign languages (mostly English):
- Probably unique in the world: Erlangen has five seasons. The fifth season is between the first and second part of spring. It lasts ten days starting on the Thursday prior to Whitsun. This fifth season is none other than the marvellous and unique Bergkirchweih – (pershpas) the most beautiful beer festival in the world. It even has an article on Wikipedia.
- In the „Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften“ (Long Night of Sciences) the FAU and other research institutions present their scientific research to the public.
- The „Blaue Nacht“ (Blue Night). Each year in May the city of Nuremberg is bathed in blue light and all the museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions put on special events.
- The anual „Arena Festival“ in Erlangen sees young artists and performers their unique ideas.
- In June Nuremberg rocks with more than 50,000 fans rock and heavy metal fans at „Rock im Park„
- The leading international fair „Comic salon“ brings together fansof comics and graphic illustration in Erlangen every second year.
- At the“Bardentreffen“ (website in German) in July minstrels, folk singer and rock bands from all over the world come together in Nuremberg, and fill the whole city with music and free events and locations across the city.
- Ten of thousands of people gather to enjoy the beautiful mix of a relaxing picnic and a classical music concert at „Klassik im Park“ (website in German).
- In September Nuremberg celebrates its medieval heritage. At the „Burggrabenfest“ (website in German) you can experience life inthe Medieval Germany, from knights fight to amazing jugglers and beautiful maids.
- Those who prefer quieter events, poetry lovers in particular, will enjoy the „Poetenfest“ (website in German) in Erlangen, where German and international poets and writers present their work.
- Finally, every December the world famous „Christkindlsmarkt“ lights up the city of Nuremberg and attracts more than 2 millions visitors.
Shops are open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. at the latest, but closed on Sundays and public holidays (shops at railway stations and gas stations have longer opening hours). Public holidays: 01.01, 06.01, Good Friday and Easter Monday, 01.05 (May Day), the Monday after Whitsun, „Fronleichnam“ (2nd Thursday after Whitsun), 3.10, 1.11, 24-26.12, 31.12.
Nürnberg hosts a very nice zoo.
Two German second division („2. Bundesliga”) football clubs are located nearby:
- Learn more about our famous gingerbread
- A small local company including Erlangen’s famous ‚feathered friends‘