We made it to Ulm and things are off to a good start! We finally made it! My entire study abroad program has been about this moment: studying engineering at a German university, and learning from some of the best in industry. I am so thrilled that everything worked out well and I’m here now. There was so much planning, but everything went as planned. That in-and-of itself was an accomplishment, now it’s time to work hard!
It’s been a few weeks since my last post, so let’s get caught up! I’ve been busy, busy, busy but I’m enjoying myself in this new environment!
I’m now in my second week at Technische Hochschule Ulm (Ulm University of Applied Sciences). The first semester was reserved for orientation and moving in. We were able to get our new apartment in order. We live off campus because there is no student-family housing available. Fortunately, we were able to find an affordable apartment. With my semester ticket, I am able to use all local buses, trams, and trains within the DING transportation district. My wife has a similar pass, but only within the city limits of Ulm/Neu-Ulm. Neu-Ulm is the Bavarian part of Ulm. We live in the Baden-Württemberg part of Ulm, and now you know!
This semester I’m taking Dynamics and Strength of Materials. Both courses are taken by majors in the Mechatronic, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering majors at my home university, Chico State. The courses are some of the most difficult undergraduate courses, from what I hear, and I’m ready to tackle them! The good thing is that I’m currently not working, which gives me an extra 30-35 hours per week to study, and of course spend time with my family. I’m also not taking as many units here at THU, which enables me to really focus on mastering the material. In Germany, you normally take a final exam, or Klausur, only, as opposed to many exams, a midterm, and a final. So, you only get 1-2 tries to get a good score. If your first attempt doesn’t go as well, you can apply for a second try, about a month later. This is definitely one of several perks of the German university system.
We also recently registered with the city of Ulm, something that is required by law. We brought our Mietvertrag, (rental contract) Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung, (roughly translated, “landlord certificate”) and our family documents with us. Everything went smoothly and now we are official residents of Ulm! The city is in some parts beautiful, some parts under construction. Either way, we are enjoying the new landscape, stores, schools, and adventures.
The above photos are from the laboratories and campus at Technische Hochschule Ulm. The atmosphere is much different than Universität Tübingen. I definitely feel like a German engineering student here. The campus’ major offerings are tight and limited, almost everybody walking around is either an engineer, computer scientist, or business major. It’s a neat little campus and I’m proud to be a student here.