All You Need to Know About Studying in Leipzig
A truly unique city with a thriving culture, Leipzig might not be the first city that comes to mind when studying in Germany, but maybe it should be? Find helpful advice and detailed information about which classes to pick and which to avoid, from students who have studied in this trendy, green city.
How did you spend your study placement in Leipzig?
“I really enjoyed studying at the Universität Leipzig. The work environment was really relaxed and the workload was really low. The tutors didn’t set much homework and depending on which classes you take you often don’t have pre-reading or work. You really only have to turn up to lessons and take the exams and therefore I would recommend the Universität Leipzig to anyone who wants a more relaxed, less academic term of studying. I had a lot of free time to explore the city (I only had just over ten hours a week) and to try lots of new things and see new places. There are lots of different modules you can take at the University because they let students take modules from any of the courses as well as other institutes.”
Prepare yourself for the chaotic system…
I would recommend arriving a few weeks early to the semester because the course enrollment and timetabling at the University is quite disorganised and hectic. Turn up with an open mind and be prepared to trawl through countless websites and course catalogues. It is the student’s responsibility to timetable and organise their own studies and make sure they have enough credits and that things don’t clash. To make this worse for students, there is no online platform to sign up for courses on. I had to decide which classes I wanted to take by looking on Alma Web (the university course catalogue) ALSO on institute websites and their individual course catalogues. As an Erasmus student, you just have to turn up to the class or email the lecturer running it.
Often they didn’t reply so I would just turn up anyway and talk to them in person. It will seem very confusing at first but don’t hesitate to contact your contact person at the university since mine was very helpful and explained everything to me numerous times. This being said, it’s not a completely terrible system because you can basically take whatever classes you want and unlike German students, Erasmus students can take one or two classes out of a whole unit which is usually made up of a lecture, seminar and project class.
Any classes you’d recommend?
I would recommend the Erasmus specific classes that we’re given in my institute – Institut für angewandte Linguistik und Translatologie. I took two translation classes for Erasmus students which were really well taught and run. I didn’t personally enjoy the classes I took which were run by Studien Kolleg (which offers german as a foreign language classes for international students). The Konversationskurs I took was not as I thought it would be/was described – it was not a class to practice speaking German or conversation skills, it was more how strategies to cope and understand german in a university environment. The grammar class was better and I did well but wasn’t really that engaging or interesting.
Look out for excursions run by the WILMA group or the Studentenwerk Leipzig. WILMA is the group run by students at the uni for international students and often arrange excursions to cities such as Potsdam and Weimar which are pretty close. I also went with the Studentenwerk (kind of like the SU) to Sächsische Schweiz which I would really recommend! Sächsische Schweiz is a national park in Saxony a couple of hours by train from Leipzig and is really beautiful. I went in September when it was still hot and sunny and it was one of my favourite places I visited.
The best way to find out about these trips is to keep an eye on their facebook pages because this is where they are best advertised. They are also usually cheaper with these groups as they get a discount with a big group and its great to meet other international and german students. I also went canoeing on the river in Leipzig with the Studentenwerk which was also really fun.
Free transport for students!
Make the most of free public transport! It was a massive bonus in a city a lot bigger than Bristol where it was hard to walk everywhere unless you lived right in the centre. You can also use the regional train to some towns outside Leipzig which are nice to visit at the weekend. I went to Erfurht which is a beautiful medieval town and also Halle which has a great art gallery – good opportunities to get out of Leipzig for free and see some other German towns!