A jump into cold water
Starting your studies in another country always is quite challenging. In German, we say it’s like a „Sprung ins kalte Wasser» – like jumping into cold water. Some thoughts on how to make the most of your time in Halle.
Photo: Thomas Hoffmann
»Hallo und herzlich willkommen in Halle!« — You will have encountered these words quite frequently these past few days: At the Ratshof while registering, on many of the information documents, from Halle people you only just met, maybe from your new landlord and of course from our much valued rector, if you attended the immatriculation ceremony.
Last year, the hastuzeit featured an article entitled »Warum Halle richtig war« (»Why Halle was the right choice«) to welcome new students. Back then, we found lots of reasons, some of them serious, some more light-hearted.
Also this year, most of you will certainly wonder whether they have made the right choice by coming to this city. This new academic environment is new to you, the country and the city possibly more or less unknown and also you can’t tell whether you will like your studies here, yet.
Personally, I believe you have made a good choice, my first four years here have passed by very quickly. After my Bachelor’s degree, I didn’t have the impression that I’d already seen all there is to see in Halle. That’s one of the reasons why I’m still here. So you’re still in for lots of great things.
Therefore, already at the beginning of your studies, I’m appealing to you: Don’t hide away behind your books, they will accompany you long enough. Just stay in Halle every other weekend, even if you don’t have any plans really. Get involved with the city as well as its people and give it the chance to surprise you!
Photo: Tobias Hoffmann
Did you know for instance, that it’s legal in Halle to throw free open-air parties in summer? And have you already heard of the stunning Freiraumgalerie, where dozens of arty wall graffiti can be found? You might have been told about Peißnitz island, but do you know about the various other parks that make Halle the greenest city in Germany? Plus, not everyone knows that we even have a proper beach at the river bank of the Saale.
Being student in Halle also means something more. The university is located in the area that used to be the German Democratic Republic. In today’s reunified Germany, it is now a place, where 25 years after the fall of the wall, young people from both former Eastern and Western Germany meet and mix up naturally. A chance their parents didn’t have back then. As an international student in Halle, you contribute even more in making the university a place of intercultural exchange. You will have fellow students and make friends from all over the world as well as Germany, of course. This is a great experience from which everybody can benefit. You will learn the beautiful German language, get to know the German way of life and share your own cultural knowledge.hast
Unfortunately, the city of Halle doesn’t exactly have the best reputation all over Germany, the image is still influenced by grey GDR times. This is of course a little unfair today as much has changed for the better in these past 25 years. As a student in Halle, you can also be an ambassador for the city. If possible, invite friends and family and show them around your new home town.
Finally, a more serious matter you might not know about yet. The university is — just like so many other universities — struggling with some financial problems. It also has to face the need to economise imposed by the federal state government. I therefore ask you to not just care about your studies. Please get informed (the hastuzeit will feature articles in English on that matter on its website) to become actively involved in university life. Maybe it will soon become necessary to remind our mayor as well as our federal state government of Halle’s considerable importance in the university landscape. Maybe some lecture might have to be sacrificed in favour of a demonstration to put across our point of view. I’m deeply convinced that this city is worth staying a vivid and colourful place to study so that upcoming student generations are able to discover its surprising beauty.
Now get out and enjoy your first semester and Erasmus parties, the first exciting weeks in Halle as well as the freedom of student life. After some time you might even fall in love with this city just like I did!
By the way: Our student magazine hastuzeit would be delighted to welcome international students in our editorial team, too. You could learn how the making of our magazine works or write your own articles, both in German or English. We meet up every Wednesday at 7:00 p. m. in the StuRa building at the Universitätsplatz.
translated by: Julia Plagentz
Photo: Tobias Hoffmann