My search started on the Mannheim University website. The international office of the university has a website with helpful information about finding a place to live. They also have a Zimmerservice. This is a website where Mannheim students list their apartments for sublet to other students. Most of these students are going abroad to study and list their apartment up for rent. I found my apartment through this website, although there are many other websites where you can find apartments in Mannheim like wg-gesucht. The Zimmerservice in my opinion though is the best tool to find a place because you are dealing with people from the university. This means that they understand your situation and that also they speak English which might be necessary when going over the contract.
After looking through this website I contacted several listings and after a week I had two or three apartments I was interested in. I was fortunate enough to be already abroad at the time and I visited these apartments before making up my mind. I understand that most people cannot see the places beforehand but make sure to ask for pictures of the apartments when contacting the owners. Also make sure to ask a lot of questions about the apartment. I ended up renting an apartment in the center of the city. It’s a 10 minute walk from the university and a 5 minute walk to the train station. I share the apartment with a German student that goes to Mannheim University. I couldn’t be happier with my decision and living with a native is a huge positive. I can practice my language skills anytime I want and also finding out about German culture is a lot of easier. As you can see my room is not that big but big enough for everything to fit. In addition the apartment has good sized kitchen with enough space to cook anything comfortably. Luckily I have a washing machine in the apartment, something that isn’t guaranteed while looking for an accommodation. In fact after living in the dorms for a year I find that sometimes I don’t use all the space I have.
Overall, finding a place to live is important because it sets the tone of the study abroad experience. Start early and know what you want. Also ask a lot questions so you can avoid any surprises when you arrive at your accommodation