Back from TU Munich
Wang Yuchen shares experiences and advice after spending the fall 2016/17 at the TU Munich.
In the last year of my undergraduate studies, I went to the TUM for a semester exchange with the mood to go out of the country and view the world. The application process is easy. After finalizing the trip, what is left is to to buy tickets and apply for a visa. It is better to buy those tickets that can be changed, because unless you book an especially late return ticket, you will certainly want to change them. This is because the examination time may range from the beginning to the end of March. Also it is recommended that you buy student tickets because you can check in one more piece of baggage. Under no circumstances buy Air China, because the space is too narrow. If you do not mind a transit visa you can try the Middle Eastern airlines Etihad or Emirates. A380 / Boeing 787 are never too cool.
When applying for a visa you need to make sure the material is complete. The foreign student group visa is a little more trouble. The most troublesome thing is the reporting procedures of Jiao Tong University. Deutsche Bank’s margin account is cumbersome. It requires you to get up around six or seven to go to the IFC, and it closes at 11 o’clock. When I got there it was already 9, and I was barely in time for the last call, the security uncle said it was a miracle … I set up the account for one more month, resulting in the last month of the margin too late to take out, and the money is now still in my European card. The support for credit cards in Europe is very limited, not to mention Alipay! Most of the consumption is in cash only. And the European savings card operates in a very strange way. It buckles the money one day after you pay, so it is easy to happen that after one day uncontrolled shopping outrun the money in the card, and you do not even know the situation, and finally receive a pile of late fees bill … do not ask how I know this!
Munich in Germany is one of the most expensive cities. Basically every month living expenses can be more than 1000 Euro not including tourism. The Studentenwerk will give the exchange arranged dormitory, rent is about 300 Euro per month. The location of the dormitory makes it easy to commute, after all, compared to Shanghai, all cities are like small rural towns… German supermarkets only open until 8 pm, and Sunday is a holiday, so be sure to to buy food in advance or you will be hungry on Sunday. In terms of traffic, the U-Bahn in the city center is already very convenient and the density is extraordinarily high. It is commonplace for two stations to be at a distance of a few hundred meters. The student card itself can be used from six in the evening to six o’clock in the morning. For the whole day the Semester Ticket is 189 euros, covering the whole winter semester. Almost every student has one. (I heard that the Semester Ticket in North Rhine can be used for the whole state and you can bring a person on weekends.)
It is best to save more than 1000 Euro in your card for the first month, because there are many unexpected places that will cost you money, such as rent deposit and insurance, which in total will already be more than 700 Euro. Learning how to plan the money each month is one of the best lessons I learned on this journey. When you have just arrived in Munich you can go to the university to report, get a student card and register (Anmelden). After that go to the KVR Office for registration of Residence. This is a bit difficult if you only speak English. You can ask for help from the Chinese people after arriving at the KVR.
With regard to the elective course, TUM has no minimum credit requirement for elective courses, but only requires the credits of the college and must be greater than or equal to the credits of other colleges (but electing the course and passing it are two things, plus the transcripts only shows the courses you passed, you know what I mean). The three courses I chose only have oral exam, luckily, and as the teachers are generally not too harsh, as long as you often go to class and keep up with the progress of the course it is not too hard to pass. It should be noted that in the two weeks before the school there will be some Block Lecture foreign language classes, two weeks to upgrade your German by one or two levels. Students who have enough time can arrive earlier, but pay close attention to the elective system, because these classes are generally more popular.
Munich is no good place for sights, but wins in its convenient transportation. I visited Nuremberg, went to Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Cologne, Düsseldorf, at Christmas time went to Morocco which required no visa for Chinese citizens, came back to Italy later, went to Interlaken, Innsbruck, and then to accompany my family went to the Swan Fort and went to Italy to ski … Students with domestic driver’s license need to do a notary on Ctrip, and then you can rent cars in Europe. European car rental is very cheap, but some cars have age restrictions. Students under 21 years of age basically cannot rent.
If Europe’s ski resorts ever claimed to be second in the world, no one would dare to call itself first, and among those ski resorts, those in Austria are the best. But because of language issues and no guidance from others, I didn’t manage to go there. Therefore, I can only recommend the Italian Merano ski resort Kronplatz, whose the difficulty is suitable for novices. After that you can go to the Garmisch-Garmisch Classic in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 100 kilometers south of Munich. Especially recommended after a big snowfall, it is great fun. People who like skiing can download the bergfex ski app, displaying European snowfield real-time information. It is very easy to use.
In Germany you have to hang out with foreigners. College students life is crazy. Weekends are basically full of night parties. Parties are also a good way to understand the life and culture of westerners. All the people there are very frank and enthusiastic. All kinds of topics can be casually talked about, and maybe you can find true love.
There are two big universities in Munich, TUM and LMU, with LMU excelling in liberal arts and business. In the dormitory you can also encounter a lot of students from the LMU and other schools. The TUM is the premiere engineering school in Germany. With its strong academics, you can learn about cutting-edge science and technology or even stay to get Master degree. But it is an active fight. Good things in Germany need to be earned by yourself. They never come and knock on your door themselves.
Life in Munich added a touch of bright colors to my college years. I strongly recommend this multi-cultural and vibrant program to everyone.