Joshua – Technical University of Munich, Germany
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
In the middle of last year, I was fortunate enough to attend the prestigious Technical University of Munich for a summer abroad in the beautiful country of Germany. Through my time abroad I had so many fantastic opportunities to learn, travel, and grow. I got to speak with key minds in the field of transportation and urban-ism, I got to climb the most glorious alps, and experience a truly rich and tremendous culture.
I spent much of my time in my semester staying within Munich, living at the incredible Olympic Village – now international student hub – and experiencing the subtle joys of Bavarian Spring and Sommer. The Olympic Village truly plants a sense of community and home, living among so many like-minded students and being tucked within such a major part of Munich’s history. Just minutes from my door there were local supermarkets and towering feats of engineering; there were beautiful lakes, and sombre histories. I would spend so many days with an insatiable urge to steal away my bike and explore the parks time and time again, or I would be called away from my home by the sounds and sights of cultural festivals or great musical acts at the Olympic Park.
The university itself was very traditional, and a little overwhelming at first, with a remarkable history of Nobel Laureate alumni and an efficient brutalist campus architecture. The campus lies just outside the heart of the city, with myriad transportation options available, and sits as a major hub of academia and industry. Guest lectures of renowned companies such as BMW and Mercedes were active presenters in my Transportation units, and the sense of connection between what was taught and what was emerging from the field was truly incredible. Many classes were much more discussion and exploration focused and allowed for terrific insight and examination by the students and the speakers, particularly with the large degree of unique perspectives that came with most English classes hosting students from across the globe.
While I enjoyed so much of this teaching style, it did prove a big culture-shock against my previous studies at QUT. I unfortunately missed a few weeks of classes due to illness and family matters and catching up was very difficult as none of my classes were recorded and most lecture resources were quite sparse in terms of details since most of this learning takes place within the classroom itself. As such, if you aim to take studies here just be wary and make the absolute most of the truly fantastic classroom time you have and work hard.
City of Munich
Beyond the classroom, the city of Munich was a delight. Cultural festivals and holidays dot the calendar and the natural beauty of the Englisch Gartens and locals lakes shines through during the calm springtime and summer. Munich is also home to such a terrific array of gorgeous architecture and history, particularly around Marienplatz, and you can get truly lost amongst it all with ease. The local food is also fantastic, particularly from smaller restaurants or street vendors. The cost of quality food at supermarkets was also very reasonable and the freshness superb, making stay-at-home cooking also quite appealing for the student on a budget. My only qualm with Munich’s cooking was my inability to find a truly excellent steak w/ chips outside of the Hard Rock Café which was a little pricey. Otherwise the local cafes, stalls, restaurants, and bierhalls will have you full in no time with fantastic foods and brilliant beverages. Schweinshaxe and Apfelstrudel were my favourites.
Travelling through Europe
One of the greatest benefits of studying in Europe, and particularly Germany, is the ease of travel to so many other fantastic locations during your time off. After semester I grabbed an Inter-Rail ticket (Very highly recommend!!) and make my way all the way around and within Germany. From Austria, to Poland, to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and more; the flexibility and availability of quality rail infrastructure across the continent was an absolute blast. Another terrific way to travel is via FlixBus which worked wonders in connecting the few areas I couldn’t due to my pass’s limitations. My only suggestion is to not get a bus overnight, your back will thank you for it later.
Overall, I had a truly incredible time on my exchange. I met so many terrific people, learned so much, and got to experience so many beautiful areas of the world. I cannot recommend this experience enough!