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Esther's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany

Why did you choose to go to Cologne, Germany?

I chose Cologne because one of my teachers had also been there on Erasmus and as I didn't know which city to choose, I started researching Cologne and I loved it. So I decided to go there.

Esther's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


How much was your grant? How much money did you receive to help you?

I was only there for the second semester, from February to the end of July. The amount of money you get will depend on the amount of time you spend on Erasmus.

You don't get much money and it's even worse now with the current economic climate. I got less than €2, 000 for a semester.

What's student life like in Cologne?

The student atmosphere is great. There are lots of students of all nationalities in Cologne. It isn't difficult to meet people on the same course as you as well as on other courses, and you'll meet a good group of friends to spend your days with and do things together.

Would you recommend the city and the University of Cologne to other students?

I recommend it 100%, both the city and the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences), which is where I studied. The city is beautiful, there are always a thousand things to do and see and you will always discover new things. The faculty is also very good, it has a cafeteria with a variety of really good, cheap food.

What is German food like?

Personally, I don't really like typical German food. As I don't eat meat, it's a bit more difficult as German sausages are very common. But for example, I loved the Kartoffelsalat and although they sell it in Spain... it's nowhere near as good. But you can usually find all kinds of food, not just German.

Esther's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


Was it difficult to find accommodation in Cologne?

I was very lucky with accommodation. As soon as I found out that I would receive a grant, almost a year before my Erasmus started, I started to look for student accommodation online, as I was afraid that the money would not cover it. However, I looked for the cheapest options and I was lucky and found one that was 10 minutes away from my faculty. But many of my classmates had a lot of problems finding a flat. In general, it can be quite difficult to find a flat in Germany.

How much does it cost to live in Cologne?

Germany is usually more expensive than Spain, it's quite expensive to live there. But even so, Cologne isn't one of the most expensive cities. There are lots of factors that influence the price of living there, such as the rental cost, whether you have a student card for transportation (because that's expensive), the amount and type of food you consume per month, the trips you go on, the parties you go to, etc.

How's the language? Did you go on a course at the University?

The language is difficult (it's German), it's not easy at all! From my experience, it's a language that you can't stop practising, or you lose it a lot. I had been studying German for several years, and even then it was difficult to adapt to making a living in that language. But the people in Cologne are very friendly and are very used to foreigners.

I did go to a German course before I started university, it was basic level, but I used it to earn credits and go over the basics.

What is the cheapest way to get to Cologne from your city?

I am from a town north of Alicante, south of Valencia. I had two options, flying from Alicante or from Valencia. The cheapest was from Valencia. There were no direct flights and I had to change in Mallorca, but it was still the cheapest option.

Which places do you recommend for nightlife in Cologne?

There are lots of different-style pubs in Cologne. The main party area is Zülpicher Strasse and Luxemburger Strasse and also by Chlodwigplatz.

Some examples are: Das Ding, Luxor, Underground, La Croque, Rumbe, Flamingo, Live Music Hall, Crystal,... and there is a pub especially for students where you have to show your student card to enter. I think the name was Flanagans.

What about eating out in Cologne? What are your favourite places?

There are lots of different types of bars and restaurants. I discovered Vapiano during my time there, the best Italian restaurant I have ever been to. There is a chain Chinese restaurant in the train station and other parts of the city which is very good. For those who like German food, there are lots of food stalls and bars throughout the city.

What about cultural sightseeing?

The cathedral is a must see. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen in my life. The Rheinpark is also really pretty. There is also a zoo, various museums, lots of architecture to appreciate throughout the city, and the list goes on. You can also visit the surrounding villages, such as Bonn, Brühl, Aachen etc.

Esther's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


Esther's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


Do you have any advice for future students in Cologne?

Make the most of the city and enjoy everything it brings you (which is a lot! ) Take advantage of the Semesterticket that gives you entry to pretty much everywhere and also lets you travel throughout the region. It's a really beautiful area and is definitely worth visiting in depth.

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