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The following information will give you a head start as a new student at the University of Freiburg

Freiburg, Oct 19, 2020

It is always difficult to start something new. New students usually need some extra help and support from fellow students and academic advisors to find their way around the University of Freiburg in the first few weeks. Many student councils (Fachschaften) offer survival guides for getting started in your field of study. New students can also find helpful links on the University of Freiburg’s websites for different courses of study, departments, and other institutions. Whether you want to get to know new people, be politically active, learn about the local dialect Bobble-Badisch, keep your plants alive in your shared apartment, or indulge in outdoor sports or local cuisine; in the following, seven members of the University of Freiburg community offer some helpful tips that will make your student life easier.

Photo: Sandra Meyndt

Get involved in policy-making
“Even if you’re just starting your studies, you can still get involved in the student government, because you are also affected by higher education policies. We offer you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at the University of Freiburg and the chance to get to know new people. You can either ask the student council in your department for more information, or you can find out more about what we do on our website. If you are interested in protecting the environment, fighting for LGBT* rights, or fighting against racism and anti-Semitism, these different groups in the Student Union (AStA) are looking forward to working with you.”

Lou Mollat, Head of Student Government
Photo: Max Orlich


Staying fit outdoors
“Sports and athletics keep us mentally fit, and they are lots of fun. For the winter semester, I recommend our outdoor sports program of activities, like hiking and cross country skiing, which you can continue to do after the course. It’s a great way to get to know people and become familiar with all the recreation opportunities in Freiburg and its surroundings. It goes without saying that all of our courses follow Covid-19 hygiene guidelines. You can sign up for our athletics programs on our website beginning October 28, 2020.”

Daniela Heuberger, University of Freiburg Athletics
Photo: Jürgen Gocke


When things are not going so well
Nightline is an anonymous and confidential hotline for students. You can talk to us about anything. We do not criticize you or just hand out advice; we want to help you find your own solutions. Our team of volunteers includes students from a variety of academic fields. During the semester, you can reach us every evening between 8 p.m. and 12 midnight by calling the number 0761/203-9375. You can also contact us through our website (in German).”

The counselors at nightline are anonymous for confidentiality reasons.
Photo: Klaus Polkowski


Tastes just like home, maybe even better
“Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or if you have religious dietary restrictions or food intolerances, the University of Freiburg cafeterias (Mensen) have something for everyone’s taste. Our teams prepare everything themselves and do not use any artificial flavor enhancer or preservatives. For those of you who like to cook at home in your shared apartment, I suggest fall vegetables right now, like pumpkin, celery roots, or parsnips, from your neighborhood grocer who sells local produce. You can download a calendar showing when fruits and vegetables are in season on the website of the Federal Center for Nutrition (in German).”

Christian Brogle, Head of University of Freiburg Dining Services
Photo: Student Services (Studierendenwerk) Freiburg-Schwarzwald


Questions, answers, and an app
“If you have any questions about your academic career, or if you are having difficulties with your studies, our team at the Advising Office can help you. We offer both individual counseling and workshops that help you to be better organized, improve your learning skills, deal with stress, and make decisions regarding your studies. We have many programs and events for first semester students in the fall of 2020, like online workshops and academic advising per video. I also want to mention our app Studienstart Uni Freiburg (New Students at the University of Freiburg). This app puts important information, events, and pointers for starting your studies at your fingertips.”

Anna Mielich, Central Academic Advising Office at the Student Service Center (Zentrale Studienberatung im Service Center Studium)
Photo: University of Freiburg


Indestructible plants for shared apartments
“When buying plants for your shared apartment, I suggest you get succulents, like cacti and aloe vera, which store water. Depending on where you put them, they will need water only once or twice a week. They can also tolerate longer dry spells. In any case, you should not water these plants too often or leave water in the pot saucer. If you have any questions or problems taking care of your green roommates, we are happy to give you advice at our plant consultation service every Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. You can also buy succulents and other plants at the Botanical Garden at the price of a small donation.”

Felix Schwarz, plant consultant at the Botanical Garden
Photo: Jürgen Gocke


A dictionary to make sense of the local dialect
“If you are an international student planning a picnic in the Freiburg area, you should be aware that your German dictionary may say that you can lay your Decke (blanket) on the Wiese (grass or meadow), but locals will tell you to lay your Teppich (also means carpet) on the Matte (also means mat). And if that’s not confusing enough, a local may hand you something and tell you to “heb mol!” but they don’t want you to lift it up, they want you to hold it. While in High German, heben means “to lift something up,” in the local dialect, you say lufpe. Because you’re a student at the University of Freiburg, someday you might join the ranks of the Käpsili (“smart people” or “experts”). But first, you have to be schaffig (industrious), gell (right)?”

Dr. Tobias Streck, Baden Dictionary Work Group at the German Department
Photo: Patrick Seeger


Information for new students

The Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein will welcome all new students in an online ceremony on October 23, 2020. For more important information about getting started, check out the platform Studienstart Uni Freiburg 2020 and take a virtual tour of the University of Freiburg Campus.