Germany’s take on Freshers Week is…different. Forget going out every night, trying out all the night clubs, loud pre-drinks in every pantry and girls wearing next-to-no clothes in the unforgivingly cold Scottish winds. I would even go as far as saying that Tübingen doesn’t have a Freshers Week as such. However, this does not mean a Freshers Week in Tübingen is boring. In fact, quite the opposite.
Firstly, I typed ‘Freshers Week Edinburgh’ into Google Images. Below were amongst the first six images.
Next, I typed ‘Freshers Week Tübingen’. Again, below are four of the first six images displayed by Google Images.
Got a rough idea?
Below I will list the biggest differences between Freshers Week in Tübingen and Edinburgh.
***I should point out that I can only comment on the Freshers Week at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen as Medicine student and the University of Edinburgh Freshers Week as an Economics Student.***
- ONLY 3 DAYS?! Freshers Week in Edinburgh lasts one whole week. Surprise, surprise. However, my Freshers Week in Tübingen was a thoroughly planned three days before lectures started.
- MEDICS EVERYWHERE. In Edinburgh I got to know many students from other degrees at pre-drinks and nights out which was wildly interesting. Whereas in Tübingen, the medical department and our mentors organised our activity filled three days with fellow medicine students.
- 8:30AM START…WHAT?! Since our three days were so thoroughly planned it meant that we had 8:30am starts in order to meet our lecturers and have a medic breakfast or even a morning of team bonding through sport. Of course, we also had a night out. I must admit, while it was great to meet everyone while having a plan of what was going on every day, getting up for 8:30am was rather grim.
- NO STRESS. (yet) The medical department, support and mentors sat each and every one of the 160 fresher students down to go through all the administrative tasks that each student still had to complete. This was ideal as it meant there was next-to-no confusion regarding university websites and log-ins which I struggled with as a Fresher in Edinburgh.
- GOODBYE MONEY. In the first week the semester bus ticket (around £80) is purchased so that all students can take the bus, tram and train in Tübingen and the surrounding area for free. Then, as a medic, a lab coat must be purchased (around £25) and books need to be bought (books can cost up to £200 each). As an economics student I definitely didn’t spend anywhere near as much money on books or extras.
- WHATSAPP FRIENDS. The medical department had organised a Facebook page for everyone to join before the semester started. This led to a massive WhatsApp group chat being made where everyone could get to know each other and arrange to meet up before the mini Tübingen Fresher Week came along. In my first year as an economics student there was no Facebook page or WhatsApp group chat (that I’m aware of) that allowed everyone to get to know each other relatively quick and easy.
- MENTOR FAMILY. Each medic student in Tübingen is assigned to a mentor group who show the students around the town and where all the lectures and lab work will take place. This was especially useful as it meant that all students had a better idea of how to get around the town as well as get to grips with where all the lectures and lab work would take place. I remember in Edinburgh I would follow Google Maps on my phone to my supposed lecture hall and somehow still be wrong in a city I barely knew.
- DRINK CULTURE. In Edinburgh, Freshers Week seemed to be more about going out, making friends and getting drunk. Here in Tübingen, it seems to be more about getting to know your peers and fellow students in a friendly and welcoming environment as only one of the events organised involved drink.
- GIRLS & THEIR MAKE-UP. One aspect I definitely noticed almost straight away was that in Germany girls tend to wear a lot less make-up or even none. Don’t get me wrong, I find make-up genuinely really interesting and I will happily admit that I once watched make-up video after make-up video for hours on end. I see it as art. Yet, the amount of make-up the average girl wears on a night out in Scotland is a rare sight here in Germany.
- JIB JAB. I was taken aback when I realised I had to have my blood tested almost straight away as a medical student to be tested for illnesses. Of course, no needles in sight when you start your Economics degree in Edinburgh.
All in all, I genuinely believe that each sort of Freshers Week suits some more than others. Personally, I enjoyed Freshers Week in Tübingen more as we were productive each day and not hungover from going out one night after another. In addition, it was a much more chilled way of getting to know people rather than dolled up at pre-drinks.
P.S. Ever heard of the Goethe Institut? The man himself, Goethe von
Waldenbuch, once lived in Tübingen. The featured image of the window at the top of this blog has a small sign underneath saying ‘Here vomited Goethe’. The window is from the house that Goethe once lived in.
GERMAN WORD OF DAY
– meaning: the friends
– pronounced: ‘dee fr-oi-nd-eh’
MEDICAL FACT OF THE DAY:
DNA was first discovered, in Germany, in the kitchen of Tübingen’s castle by Friedrich Miescher in 1869.