Let’s introduce our University of Augsburg

Foto: University of Ausburg International Office

Ever heard of Augsburg before? In case you haven’t, you should definitely read this article.The University of Karlstad has an Erasmus collaboration with the University of Augsburg, so this town in Southern Germany is one of the possible places you can choose if you want to do a semester abroad. We want to introduce the university to you, show you how studying there is like and whether there are any differences to the University in Karlstad.

History Founded in 1970, the University of Augsburg is one of the young reform universities in Bavaria. We have around 20,000 students. Eight faculties currently offer a broad range of almost 90 Bachelor’s, Master’s and State Examination study programmes in the fields of humanities and social sciences, law and economics, natural sciences and technological and computer sciences, and since October 2019, also medicine.

Anniversary Last year our university celebrated its 50th anniversary. Because of Corona we postponed the festivities to the summer semester 2021. However, the official ceremony will still take place digitally in May. In June, the university will hopefully be able to open its doors to everyone who wants to learn more about the institution. There will be special kinds of lectures and discussions about the tasks, problems and opportunities of the German university in the 21th century. The library exhibits images of the university in its halls. Of course, a scientific commemorative publication and various competitions are not to be missed. 

Internationality The German Research Foundation is currently funding around 120 and the EU around 18 projects on which scientists and scholars from the University of Augsburg are working. Through cooperation agreements with more than 290 universities and research institutions in over 58 countries, the University of Augsburg is well-connected worldwide. For students, the University offers programmes such as Erasmus, Worldwide and supports as a Free Mover. Of course, we also look forward to welcoming fellow international students to our campus.

Everyday Student Life In case you are considering doing a semester abroad at the university of Augsburg, you might also want to know what it is like to study here on a daily basis. Like for most students around the globe, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we study in Augsburg drastically as well. Right now (February 2021), almost all classes are held online and life on campus came to a halt. The university can’t offer in-person sports courses anymore and the cafeterias are closed as well. But since we are hoping that the university might be able to reopen during the course of the year, we nevertheless want to show you what student life is like during “normal” times in Augsburg.

First and foremost: the food. We have one big, fairly new cafeteria on campus. It offers a whole variety of food (Italian, Asian, Bavarian, a salad bar – just to name a few). Meals are pretty affordable (between 2,50 and 5 €), perfect for poor students. There are also several smaller places all over the campus where you can get sandwiches, snacks, cakes, beverages, pasta and so on. If you fancy something else there is also a supermarket and a turkish diner (for Döner) close by. 

Especially in summer there are some nice places around campus where you can hang out and enjoy the sun – Augsburg might not be in Italy but we’ve still got approximately 240 hours of sun during each sommer month. We have a little lake on campus with trees and benches where you can relax in between lectures and process what you learned – or how many beers you drank yesterday.

Photo: University of Ausburg International Office

One important advantage of our university is its proximity to the city centre. It only takes around 10 minutes by tram to reach the centre and the tourist attractions which are situated there. For example you can visit the famous Fuggerei (oldest project for council flats worldwide), the town hall or take a stroll through Augsburg’s little streets with their unique canal-system – which is officially part of the UNESCO world heritage since 2019. Not only Augsburg but also the surrounding areas offer quite a lot of tourist attractions and activities. It only takes you half an hour to get to Munich by train and the city of Ulm is also close by. If you want to go hiking or skiing in the winter, the Allgäu (alpine region) isn’t too far away either.
In order to make you feel like a real student from Augsburg and give you some inside information we also picked our favourite fun fact about the university: The most famous “student” in Augsburg actually is a cat. It is called Campus Cat and already has been living on campus for several years now. The cat even has an Instagram account which is followed by more than 14,000 people – in comparison, the mayor of Augsburg (Eva Weber) has about 7,000 followers. Campus Cat is very cuddly and likes to spend time in the library being petted by students – which by the way is the perfect stress release during exam seasons.

University Associations The university offers several associations in which both students from Augsburg and exchange students can participate. We have a student newspaper called Presstige, a radio channel (Kanal C) and a student TV-channel called Kult. They produce articles, radio broadcasts and TV-shows covering the student life in Augsburg.
For those of you who don’t plan on becoming the next world-famous investigative reporter but would rather choose a career in sports, the university also offers a great deal of sports courses. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, most of them had to be cancelled for now – but we hope that in the following semester they might be able to reopen. During “normal” semesters the university offered most of the basic sports like soccer, tennis or volleyball but also some extraordinary courses like Quidditch (yes, the one from Harry Potter). If you need any further information you can find it here: Hochschulsport Augsburg.
Augsburg does not only offer sports and media associations but there are also a great deal of student associations which focus on matters of politics and society. 

Personal Statements: Are you asking yourself whether you should come and visit the university of Augsburg or spend a semester as an exchange student here? We have collected our personal pros and cons of studying in Augsburg to help you with your decision.

Comparison to Karlstad: You might be wondering what the differences between studying in Karlstad and in Augsburg are. We tried to compare both universities and cities to give you an overview. Our impressions about Karlstad university are probably not as exhaustive as yours since we’ve only been here for a month but we focused on the most striking differences which occured to us so far.

University history: As mentioned the University Augsburg is 50 years old, while the University Karlstad is 22 years old.

Faculties: In Augsburg there are eight faculties with different departments, while the Karlstad University has got only three faculties (Arts and Social Sciences, Health, Science and Technology, Teacher Education).

Forms of teaching: In the University Karlstad the students and the teacher meet each other as equals. Oftentimes, there are open discussions about issues. In Augsburg the frontal teaching predominates and there isn’t that much space for discussions in most seminars. In addition, in Karlstad group work seems to be very important, while in Augsburg most students prefer to work on their own on graded assignments.

Semester: The academic year in Karlstad is very different to the one in Augsburg. In Augsburg the autumn semester starts in October and ends in March, the spring semester starts in April and ends in September. In between we each have a two month long break where there are no lectures. During this time you take your exams and write essays which you have to hand in for certain courses. In Karlstad there is no free time between autumn and spring semester but instead a longer break during summer time.

Recycling: As in all Swedish areas, sustainability is a big issue in the university. The focus is on recycling. Of course, we also recycle in Augsburg, but not on this scale. 

Accommodation: In Karlstad there is one major accomodation company which provides student apartments (KBAB) – in Augsburg we have different institutions and companies offering different kinds of student accomodation which highly vary in price and quality.

Campus: In Karlstad you have your own huge campus area remote from the city centre next to a beautiful nature with lakes. In Augsburg we are better connected to the city centre. There are some parks as well, but also the industrial area isn’t too far away either.

Photo: University of Ausburg International Office

Student life: It’s hard to compare the student lifestyle since we only got to know Karlstad during the coronavirus pandemic so far. As a result we can’t really tell how going out and partying is different in both cities. Yet, one major difference we noticed already is the housing situation and its impact on student life. Due to the fact that many of the students are living close to each other in the student accommodations provided by KBAB you still have the feeling that there is some student life going on even though university is closed. It is still fairly easy to meet other students and get together for free time activities (in small groups of course) since your friends just live across the street from you. In Augsburg in comparison there are less common activities in shared student accomodations right now and for the students living scattered across the city in “normal” apartments, the notion of a “student life” vanished completely since university closed.

This is a news article. Read more about the journalistic work in Karlstads studenttidning here.