Life beyond the classroom is a bit different in Germany than in the US. A lot of activities and daily routines take place in the city and at home rather than on campus. This requires students to be more socially self-reliant and independent, at the same time as it is a great chance to use the German language and to gain a deeper insight into German society. Students find this to be a refreshing time for new adventures and challenges.
For housing in Bremen, there are two options:
Dickinson-in-Bremen provides housing for the students. This means living in a single one-room student apartment which is about 19m²/204ft² and has a separate, small bathroom as well as a kitchenette (two hotplates, microwave or oven, fridge, sink). The apartments are fully furnished (a bed, nightstand, desk, closet, table, cupboards, chairs). There are four different places where these apartments might be located, most within walking distance from campus:
The second option is living in a shared student flat, a so-called “WG”:
It has, in the past, been extremely beneficial for our students if they lived in “Wohngemeinschaften” – also called WGs – which are apartments that several students rent together and which is very common in Germany. In a WG, each tenant will have their own bedroom, but kitchen and bathrooms (and other common rooms) are shared. There may be 2, 3 or even up to 6 people living together. We highly encourage the decision to live in a WG as living with local students will greatly enrich any student’s experience of the German language and culture.
Moving into a WG always requires a kind of “screening process” by the tenants already living in the apartment (and sometimes also by the landlords/landladies), however. Thus, students would have to organize this housing option by themselves. But the benefits from living in a WG will definitely make this effort more than worth it and students will be supported by the Program Coordinator.
All Dickinson-in-Bremen students are enrolled in the German public health care system and all of the monthly fees are covered by the Dickinson-in-Bremen Program. Once enrolled, students can seek medical advice and receive necessary medical treatment without additional charge. This applies to everything — from getting a prescription for a minor cold at the local physician’s office to medical treatments in hospitals and emergency response treatment. Dickinson-in-Bremen has a list of recommended physicians and will assist in getting an appointment if requested. Coverage starts on October 1 for full-year students and on April 1 for spring semester students.
SOCIAL and CULTURAL LIFE
One of the benefits of a mutual exchange program is that upon arrival, Dickinson students already know the Germans who were recently in Carlisle. Dickinson-in-Bremen tries to include those Germans in as many program-related activities as possible. Other social contacts evolve through attending classes or becoming involved in a sports course or club.
Another great way to interact with German students is through the Study Buddy and Tandem Program offered by the University of Bremen. Interested Dickinson students are paired with German students who are interested in exchanging ideas about their fields of study (Study Buddy) or would like to focus on mutual language practice (Tandem – German/English). The students can also easily meet other international students by attending ERASMUS meet ups and events, which are organized by German students who are interested in meeting international students.
Group excursions are one way students explore the rich cultural landscape of Bremen and other German-speaking cities. Because each student has unique interests, Dickinson-in-Bremen also offers reimbursement for a limited number of cultural activities like visits to exhibitions, museums, concerts, cultural events, and the like. This encourages students to independently pursue their personal interests, to explore the city, and to deepen their cultural knowledge.
The University of Bremen offers a variety of different sports classes that usually take place in the evening hours. A fitness center is located inside the sports tower and the swimming pool and other sport venues are located around it. Dickinson-in-Bremen reimburses students for up to 50 € worth of phys ed classes a semester. This usually covers up to three normal classes. However, the money can also be used to cover (part of) the costs of joining one of many local sports clubs or fitness centers. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved in social life outside of the university and to get to know Germans of all ages and backgrounds.
TRANSPORTATION and TRAVEL
Included in the semester fees is a public transportation pass called “Semesterticket.” This ticket allows students to use busses and trams within the city limits of Bremen as much and as often as they want. In addition, it is also valid for regional trains to Hamburg, Hannover, and other Northern German cities and towns within the state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen).
For longer trips or distances within Germany, Deutsche Bahn often has special offers for travelers booking in advance. The Bahn-Card is an additional option to lower the costs of train tickets. In addition, the Bremen Airport serves most European destinations and is a major hub for the low-cost carrier Ryanair and is conveniently located on the same tram line as the university.