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Marta's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany

Why did you choose to go to Cologne, Germany?

Because the people on my course who had already been there for their Erasmus had told me very good things about the city.

Marta's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


How long did the scholarship last? How much money did you receive to help you with living costs?

It depends on the agreement that your university has. In my case, it was a scholarship of 10 months and I received about 400 euros per month summing up all the economic aid I received (from the European Commission, University of Valladolid and the Government of Spain).

What is the student lifestyle like in Cologne?

Very good. There are many different courses and you get to know all kinds of people. There are many young people and, in general, they are very open and friendly.

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

I can't give my opinion about the university because I studied at the Fachhochschule. However, I have no complaints about the city, except maybe the weather and the prices of the flats, but you can be lucky and find something affordable if you start looking early.

Marta's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


What is the food like there?

More than food, what is different is the way of eating in terms of the times at which you eat. At midday they do not take too much time to eat due to working hours. They don't take as long a break as in Spain at lunchtime, but instead they eat something quickly and have a bigger dinner. Personally, I missed fish and olive oil (there are some, but if you want a good quality one it is more expensive than in Spain) and cured cheese.

Was it difficult to find your accommodation in Cologne?

It wasn't hard for me to find something because I was very lucky. I got a flat thanks to word of mouth. Other friends did have problems finding a flat or residence. The best thing is to start looking in summer to make sure you can find something.

To find a residence I recommend the Studentenwerk website: http://www.kstw.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=315&Itemid=11&lang=de, and this one to fina a flat: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/

How much does it cost to live in Cologne?

It obviously depends on the kind of life you want to lead. If you want to travel and go out a lot then it will be much more expensive but, at first you should be able to manage with 600 euros per month with everything included (accommodation, food, leisure and transportation).

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

For the first 3 months I didn't completely let go and I didn't understand everything when the conversation got complicated. Then you get used to it and improve even if you don't want to, especially if you try to surround yourself with Germans and, better still, live with them.

At university I did not take any special courses. In the second semester I signed up for the Volkshochschule, which is the Official Language School in Spain. It is the cheapest option and you learn a lot (don't forget that the teacher who teaches you will have a big influence).

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Cologne from your city?

From my city the cheapest option is Madrid - Cologne with the company Germanwings.

Which places would you recommend to party in Cologne?

Papierfabrik, Underground, Tsunamiclub, Subway, Wohnunggemeinschaft, Stadgarten, etc. The flat parties are also usually very good.

Is it good to eat out in Cologne? Can you recommend some good restaurants?

Well, there are many well priced sites in the Züllpicherplatz area because it is the main student area. In the southern part of the city, in the areas of Übierring and Chlodwigplatz there are also many restaurants that are very good (the Fette Küh is one of them, in which they make homemade hamburgers with meat from well-bred animals).

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

All the Flohmärkte throughout the city, which are move around different areas of the city every weekend (including bicycles: http://www.fahrradmarkt-koeln.de/), as it is very typical of German culture. The Gestapo museum is also great and I think everyone living in Cologne should visit it (http://www.museenkoeln.de/ns-dokumentationszentrum/default.aspx?s=368). Depending on what you like, you have a variety of museums to choose from, which you can see on this page: http://www.museenkoeln.de/home/Museen

Marta's Erasmus Experience in Cologne, Germany


Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Cologne in the future?

A bicycle is fundamental, take advantage of Semesterticket to travel to cities like Aachen and Münster, do the guided tour of the city organised by the Fachhochschule at the beginning of each semester because they tell you very interesting things (it's better in the second semester because you will learn more things), take advantage of the wide range of sports courses, don't be embarrassed and try to live in a flat with Germans (English is mostly used in the university residences).

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