Hallo and welcome back to my blog! In this blog post, I want to focus on housing here in Mannheim. The housing here at the University of Mannheim differs from the way housing works in the United States, in a couple of different ways. One of the main differences between Mannheim and Drexel for example, is that the housing through the university is not actually on campus, like in the U.S. At Drexel if you sign up for Drexel Housing, it will be right on the campus, whereas in Mannheim, some of the student dorms are over 3km away from the campus. Another difference between Mannheim and Drexel is that at Drexel (and other American universities) the on-campus housing is run by the housing department of the university itself. In Mannheim, the housing is run by the Studentenwerk Mannheim, which is a separate institution that provides housing, meals, & other services to students in a given city or region, in this case, in Mannheim. Many of the student dorms here are also different, in that they are more apartment-like than what we have in the U.S.
As an exchange student in Mannheim, the housing in the Studentenwerk-run buildings is a bit limited, since the exchange program only lasts for the fall semester, and many of the rooms/apartments are to be booked for the whole school year. Like at Drexel, there is a period in which you can go online and attempt to book your place in one of the Studentenwerk dorms. I logged in right when the housing application opened, but immediately ran into issues with the rooms already being booked. I attempted to book a couple of rooms and once I clicked on the booking button, they would come back saying unavailable. With the limited number of rooms available, most were gone within a minute or so.
After putting myself on the housing wait list, I then looked for other arrangements for housing. It is possible to find a private accommodation in Mannheim by searching online, but sometimes this is not always trustworthy to rent from someone you don’t know. The best solution I found was to search for an apartment through the International Office’s Online Notice Board. On that website, Mannheim students who are going abroad list their apartments that they need to sublet for that period, and you contact them through the website to find out details and hopefully to sublet the room for yourself. There were a decent number of places available, and I was able to see pictures, rent prices, and locations of the apartments as I searched online.
I was very lucky to be able to find a very nice apartment in the Oststadt neighborhood of Mannheim. This is a very nice section of Mannheim, close to the downtown area of the city (quadrate-the quadrants- more on that in a future post), but near some parks/green spaces and with good access to the tram system, buses, and shopping. The student I am subletting the apartment from is currently studying in Edmonton, Canada, and needed someone to take over the lease while she was gone, and I needed a place to stay, so this worked out very well. The apartment is a fairly typical german apartment, with a decent sized kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. While subletting an apartment ended up making my housing costs a bit higher, they are still significantly less than the housing prices in Philadelphia, and I ended up getting a larger apartment in a great area of the city. So some advice for future exchange students in Mannheim, don’t worry if you cannot find a place in the student housing- there are plenty of apartments available to you, and you can find a place to live that is bigger and nicer than the student housing.
Attached, you will see a picture of my apartment here in Mannheim. Auf Wiedersehen!