My name is Tayla and I have just returned home from a semester abroad in Mannheim, Germany. I have had nothing short than the time of my life, and as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Travelling to new countries every weekend, what else could the experience have been, if not perfect? If you’re thinking about studying overseas for an exchange semester, stop thinking about it and do it! Here are just a few highlights of my time:
Mannheim University’s campus is a castle (yes, a real castle) which was insane. I’ve never felt so royal before, let alone when sitting in the classrooms. The business school is triple accredited which was a really cool experience for my education. Top professors and a wide range of classes taught in (very good) English. Oh, and the exams lasted for only 90 minutes and were not even that difficult!
On exchange in Mannheim, there were 750 other exchange students which made the campus super diverse and easy to make friends. I even had the chance to reconnect with students I had met before in other parts of the world and we became even closer friends. Although it’s great to meet local students, there’s a familiar “homey” comfort in being with people who are on the same whirlwind journey as you – and sometimes you just need to find an Aussie to share a vegemite sandwich with! These are the friendships that will actually last a lifetime and open up the world even more for you.
Mannheim university offered language and history/culture courses for all exchange students and I know that this is something that many host schools do. If language is what you’re interested in, then this is an opportunity absolutely worth taking on. The best time to learn a language is when you’re immersed in it every day!
During my exchange, I travelled not only around Germany, but also France, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and even made it up to Sweden and Finland. Busses can be as cheap as a few dollars! I (of course) went to the Oktoberfest and also ticked off the world’s largest wine festival. The Christmas markets in Germany are to die for and the buildings are straight out of a movie. I promise we did a bit of studying too!
This may well be the cheapest way to travel the world, and perhaps one of the last opportunities you have to let your hair down and experience university life at its craziest before you start your adult life. Not only will you make friends and networks for life, but you will see the world, consume way too much amazing, local food, and maybe learn a language to challenge yourself. There’s a chance you’ll come back heavier (and I’m not only talking about your luggage), and sun and salt deprived – but you’ll come back with a ton of memories. A semester abroad is really a life changing experience and I couldn’t recommend it more.