Student Life: German Academic Exchange

Every year, the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst/German Academic Exchange Service) offers scholarships for summer courses at universities in Germany (Hochschulsommerkurse). The courses focus on topics in German language and literature as well as various other subject areas.

Chris Flach, Second year student, Law with Legal Studies in Europe (LLB) and German, was awarded one of the scholarships and was invited to study in Passau in July 2015. We asked him to tell us about his time in Germany and about what he would tell others wishing to apply for the DAAD Scholarship. Here’s what he has to say:

Passau, Germany

Passau, Germany

This August I was granted the opportunity to study German for Lawyers for a month in the University of Passau through the DAAD scholarship scheme. I have to be honest, before going I was a little terrified. The thought of studying in a foreign country and having to adapt to a new environment very quickly was particularly daunting.

The trip was not without its hitches, with one of my trains getting cancelled and being rerouted through another city. But that’s another story. Once I arrived in Passau I was greeted by a friendly student who helped me to register and find my accommodation. Once settled in I had an extra day to try and get my bearings and to have a look around the new town I found myself in. It must be said that I had been very lucky with landing a course in Passau.

For those who don’t know, Passau is a town in the south east corner or Germany right on the border with Austria and is well known for being the Three River Town. It is an incredibly beautiful town and has much to offer visitors like myself. But I digress.

Deutsch f++r JuristenMy course was made up of around 18 students but there were other courses running alongside which focused more on language proficiency. Altogether there were around 120 students representing 33 different nations and their only common language was German. This was an incredible way of meeting and making friends with people from different cultures and only being able to communicate using our mutual love for German.

Throughout my course I was constantly challenged to improve my language by a mixture of presentations and other classwork which focused on aspects of the German legal system as well as grammar and vocabulary. However, it wasn’t all work and no play. As part of the course we had several trips organised as well as a few other extracurricular trips. These included visiting the BMW factory in Dingolfing, Pub Crawls, Visits to Salzburg and Munich and lots more.

I can say with certainty now that although I was initially nervous about studying abroad, the whole course was set up with plenty of support should I ever have needed it. I would definitely recommend anyone studying German to apply for a DAAD scholarship this year as it has certainly helped me to gain confidence in my German as well as allowing me to meet some fantastic people from across the globe.


If you are interested in applying for a summer course scholarship, please contact DAAD Lektorin Sandra Beer

ReadingIf you’d like to learn more about German Studies at Reading, or about all the other languages we offer in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Twitter feed.

If you would like to receive regular updates from our blog, with the latest news about languages at Reading, please enter your email address below: