Hallo everyone, and welcome to my blog about my study abroad experience at the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany! Studying abroad in Germany has been a goal of mine for many years now, so it is very exciting to finally be here having this experience. Apart from this blog being a great way for me to remember and reflect on the experiences I have here, I also hope that along with the blogs from other students who have done this program, it will serve as a guide to future students who are considering studying in Mannheim.
Having said that, I want to focus the topic of this blog post (which will be in two parts) on the arrival and enrollment process here in Germany and at the University, as the process of enrolling at the University was quite complex, and there are many important tasks that you have to take care of after your arrival. Perhaps the easiest part of the arrival process was taking the train from the Frankfurt Airport to Mannheim, which takes just about a half hour thanks to the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) ICE- InterCity Express. Once I had arrived in Mannheim, I was able to find my way to the apartment I am subletting, and got moved in.
Unfortunately, enrollment at the University of Mannheim was not as simple as moving in. The day after I arrived in Mannheim, I went to the university’s “Express Service” where international and exchange students could enroll at the university, and was told that although I have American health insurance that I should go to one of the offices of the German insurance companies to purchase their health insurance. However, in order to purchase German healthcare, you must have a German bank account, therefore I had to go to the Mannheim branch of Deutsche Bank to set up a StudentKonto account (Student checking account). There I met up with some of the other students from Drexel who are also doing the program here in Mannheim. Setting up the bank account was fairly simple, they just needed to see the usual documents, such as passport, address, identification, and fortunately the representative spoke good English.
After setting up the bank account, we headed over to the German health insurance company, who told us we didn’t need to buy their health insurance since the U.S. insurance would suffice for doctors appointments or hospital visits. Apparently the university didn’t know this, but we headed back to the Express Service to finish enrollment having been given a document by the healthcare company saying the American health insurance was sufficient coverage. The university staff was then able to get me enrolled at the university. However, that was not the end of the enrollment process. In the second part of this blog post, I’ll talk about the issues with my student ID card and the government registration office. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of the Barockschloss- the Baroque Palace where many of the classes for the university are held. Auf Wiedersehen!