Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I bring?
You are having to pack for a year-long trip. Munich has a climate similar to that of Portland (mild and rainy), but it can be very cold in winter. There are enough places to buy clothes and many of our students find winter clothes at good prices. One dressy outfit for operas, etc is recommended. A travel backpack is a good idea to bring for weekend trips and travel during the breaks. There are always radios, etc. to buy here (either from previous students or from a flea market). Some students bring their sports bikes for a small extra fee with most airlines. Medication is free, so you don’t need to bring a year’s supply unless you feel more comfortable that way. Bring your Germany dictionary.
2. Will I have enough money?
Your room and your health insurance are paid for. Depending on your lifestyle, you should calculate between €250 and €500 per month. €250 is the minimum you will need; this does not include: theater tickets, overseas phone calls, etc. Also consider budgeting for weekend trips or travels during the breaks. About one-third of the students have a job (cleaning, babysitting, tutoring etc). This can supplement your allowance.
3. Will I get credit at my home institution?
It is important to contact your advisor prior to your departure. L&C classes are outlined in this handbook. The University of Munich publishes current course offerings and course descriptions in the Vorlesungsverzeichnis. There are standard courses (i.e. Organic Chemistry or Microeconomics), but about half of the courses change from semester to semester (i.e.The Automobile in the American Society).
4. Is my German good enough?
Two years of college German are usually sufficient. Speaking only German once you are here and participating actively in our German courses will ensure maximum progress. You also have the option of taking a two-month preparatory language course at the University of Munich (July /August).
5. Do I have time for activities?
We encourage our students to participate in the rich cultural life that Munich has to offer, both inside and outside academics, such as University choir, Hochschulsport, concerts, plays or just meeting German people. The academic workload is designed to allow you sufficient free time to take part in these activities.
6. How hard is it to meet German people?
Sometimes Germans seem to be more reserved than Americans. The Studentenstadt is an optimal place for meeting Germans. There are several places to do this within and around the Studentenstadt such as: Cafes, Discos, Turnhalle, etc. Joining a sports club, going to festivals and participating in community activities are great ways to meet Germans outside of the Studentenstadt.
7. Can I find a job?
any of our students work throughout the year. Jobs range from working in a bagel shop to translating papers for companies or even tutoring English. Some students prefer to have more flexibility and do odd jobs such as babysitting, cleaning, or doing one day jobs through the Arbeitsamt (moving, painting etc.). Working, however, takes time away from your studies and your extracurricular activities, which are both very important in order to be successful here and to get the most out of your stay.
8. Are university courses a lot different?
There are 60,000 students at the University of Munich and class sizes are therefore usually large. Students can take “Seminare,” for which they are expected to give a presentation, write a paper and/or take an exam. At the end of the Seminar, you will receive a certificate stating that you have completed the requirements for the course, along with a grade. You may take courses your first semester at the university, and are expected to do so the second semester.
9. How do I get around in Munich?
The public transportation system here is not only extensive (Bus, Tram, U & S-Bahn), but easy to use. Munich is also a flat city, which makes it ideal for bike riding. There are more bike paths in Munich than in any other city in the world. Many of our students choose to ride their bikes in and around town. It is a 15 minute bike ride to the University from the Studentenstadt.
10. Should I bring my laptop?
There are computers available at the University of Munich, however not as many as you are used to. Often students have to wait to use a computer. We also have a computer in our classroom that may be used all the time. There is nothing wrong with bringing your own laptop, and if you chose to do so, just remember to bring an adaptor, since Germany has a different power system.