Student Reports: Freiburg

Things to take note of: Sarah Linder

Freiburg is a really great city, where there is almost always something to do, whether you like going to 50 cent Shot Night at the StuSieBar, or going hiking or skiing just outside the city. Of course, it's also very nice to be so close to France or Switerland. Being that Freiburg is on the Mannheim-Basel train route, it's very easy to get just about anywhere. A trip to Basel, Switzerland only takes about 45 minutes, and costs about 4 Euro! Basically, Freiburg is a really cool place to be.

However, although Freiburg is such a cool place to be, I think that you need have some goals in mind before you come here. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of stupid, but it's true. The fact is, there are a lot of American students here, and if you're not careful, you'll end up hanging out with them all the time, which can put a serious dent in how quickly you learn the language. Lots of people hang out primarily with Americans, and their German skills just don't improve that fast. Just know that if you want to come to school here AND become really good at German, you'll have to try really, really hard to meet (and befriend) Germans outside of your floormates. Yes, sadly, Germans can be difficult to befriend, but that's just a cultural difference you have to get used to. Don't get discouraged!

Some things to consider: If you have a laptop, bring it! It's very possible to get internet in your room here, and the computer labs are usually very busy. I'd say a good 70% of "personal care" items are available here, so don't worry too much about stocking up on them...of course, unless you need perscriptions. I do recommend bringing some sort of Ibuprofen here for those nice hangovers, though. It can get kind of expensive at the Apothekes. All in all though, try to downsize what you bring, because you can get quite a bit of it here, and you'll undoubtedly have more to bring home than you came with. Bags can get heavy! They get even heavier if you're like me, and your bag breaks in the Frankfurt airport.

The only other piece of advice I can give is to keep in contact with people from home so you don't feel so homesick/confused/lonely/stupid with the language sometimes. It's always nice to hear something from home. And don't worry if some of the Germans you meet aren't so friendly...it's just a different culture here, and eventually, they'll turn around if you're consistent and keep trying to be friendly. Remember, you can't wait for them to talk to you first, because the Germans are thinking the same thing. Don't wait for people to be your friend, be more proactive about it than you would be at home. It really pays off in the end, and speaking German easily will come before you know it!