I have been in Tübingen now for three weeks and it has already been an experience and a half to say the least. The journey to Tübingen itself went very well. I flew from London to Stuttgart, and then took a direct bus from the airport to Tübingen which was very handy. Once in Tübingen I made my way by bus to the housing office which is right on the top of a big hill. This is where you sign your housing contract and pay your deposit. As soon as that was done I had to get a bus all the way back down the hill to my halls of residence which are on the outskirts of town to pick up the keys to my room from the housemaster. The halls where I live are very different to halls in Reading. In a way they are more like residential flats, with the building consisting of 3 and 4 bedroom flats (I only have two ‘flatmates’) and even a Kindergarten. They are also much more into recycling here, the flat has four different bins, one each for paper, glass, metal & plastic and then one for food waste and things that aren’t recycled.
My first impressions of Tübingen were very positive, it’s a picturesque town in the German ‘Bundesland’ of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany and it even has its own castle. One third of the people here are students which it makes it a pretty student friendly place with lots of places to have lunch or go for a drink. When you matriculate here you have to do a lot of paperwork which takes you all around the town to do. The University of Tübingen does not really have a campus, hwever there is one road where most of the important university buildings are located which makes finding your way around much easier.
For international and Erasmus students the university hosts a welcome week unfortunately however due to illness I was not able to participate. There is a really great student organisation here called StudIT which organises and offers trips and experiences for international students. Since I have been here I have already participated in two of their activities. The first one was a Swabian dinner, or ‘Schwäbisches Abendessen’ as they would say in German, where they served a local dish called ‘Maultaschen’ with fried onions and potato salad. ‘Maultaschen’ resemble ravioli except that they are a bit bigger and filled with meat. The story behind them is that Cistercian monks weren’t allowed to eat meat during lent and so in order to hide the meat from God they created these ‘Maultaschen’. Then more recently StudIT organised a trip to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is about a two hours drive away from Tübingen and is famous for having the oldest university in Germany, its castle and baroque architecture. We had a tour around the city, had some lunch and then made our way up the castle which is located on a hill, once at the top the views were amazing. I’ve settled well in Germany, I’ve met lots of really nice people and have had many opportunities to practice my German. Lectures are starting this week so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re like. I’ll let you know about them in my next blog post.