Brunette curly haired girl standing at the center of the photo. you can see the top half of her body. She is wearing a white tank top, a bron cross body purse and jeans. She is on a bridge and behind her a hill with a castle, spme houses and a road can be seen.

Going on exchange to Heidelberg?

Are you considering signing up for exchange in Heidelberg? Have you already secured a spot and are wondering what to expect? This blog is all about my personal experience to help you get a better picture of the city.

1. The city

Heidelberg is mainly known for its amazing castle and the university. The feel of the city can very much be captured by these two landmarks. The city is filled with students studying any subject matter at any level so you can definitely make friends outside of your subject area. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to make friends who study languages, education, physics, history and many others! This also means that the cafes, bars, restaurants and green areas along the river are mostly populated by young adults hanging out so the city feels quite lively. The old town is gorgeous and full of personality but always filled with tourists. The architecture, the river and the green hills on either side of the city are what I believe define Heidelberg. If you are looking for a breath of air away from a big city, Heidelberg is definitely the perfect exchange destination. It offers a walkable, cozy and scenic experience with plenty of easily accessible nature.

2. Student perks

When it comes to student perks, Heidelberg does pose certain advantages. Firstly, the city offers bikes to rent for anyone but the students have the advantage of not having to pay for the first 30 minutes of any ride. This means I have been getting around the city for free because the small size of the city makes it possible to never have a bike ride over 30 minutes long. Second, if you do decide that public transport is a better fit for you, there are local desks where you can get information about what bus pass suits your needs best. And no matter what you choose I am pretty sure it will be cheaper than your average month in Stockholm. Third, Heidelberg University offers a student canteen. There are two in the city, one being in the old town and open all day and even on Saturday. All you need is to be enrolled in the university and you can take advantage of the cheap fresh made meals as well as cafes and dessert.

3. Housing

I was lucky enough to receive housing in campus with the help of the Erasmus department of Heidelberg. The campus housing has many advantages, from distance to the university to the perk of having student flat mates. However, my contract extends way past my desired move out date and I am currently waiting for a confirmation that I can end the contract earlier. I highly encourage anyone who is on an exchange agreement to try to find housing with the help of the Erasmus department. But be weary of the implications of the contract, don’t be scared to ask questions and keep in mind there are many other housing options in the city.

4. The weather

Despite having seen a majority of cloudy days while here, I must admit that the weather in Heidelberg is significantly better than the climate Stockholm offers. Winter was gentle and not very cold, spring arrived right as March started and it just keeps on getting better. The spring semester does seem to be the best time to be here as you get to experience many many many flowers, trees blooming and the gorgeous green areas of the city and the (Swedish) spring semester ends right before the city gets ”too hot” as many locals described the summer here.

5. Erasmus Student Network

I have had a very positive experience with the Erasmus Student Network in Heidelberg. The coordinators are great people who seem to truly care about the social integration of exchange students and are very open to going out with the newcomers even outside of the set activities. The events are usually quite big, with even 50 people showing up. Many events are open events meaning that anyone can join. This is how I met many locals, full time international students and, of course, other exchange students! Don’t be scared to show up on your own as it only takes a ”Hello, my name is…” and you will already find some nice company. However, take into consideration the awkward timing of the Swedish semester dates and the German semester dates! If you arrive in January, you might have to wait until mid March before the ESN events kick off.

6. Night life

Despite being a student city, Heidelberg does have some shortcomings when it comes to nightlife. There are always bars open but if you are more of a club type of person, Heidelberg cannot compare to Stockholm. However, many party-loving people often travel to Mannheim, a very near by city that offers a more diverse club and bar scene.

In conclusion, the exchange experience in Heidelberg is definitely worth trying out as you get to live in a city that is quite different from Stockholm! You will get to experience German culture as well as enjoy the relaxed and cozy atmosphere of the city. If you want to get an even better idea of what my exchange experience was like make sure to read my other blogs as well as reach out with any questions, no matter how specific.

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