University was different right from the start in Germany. The first thing I encountered was the differences in registration for classes. At Drexel one registers for classes several months in advance before the next quarter. In Mannheim, registration only opens a couple of weeks before the term starts. At first I didn’t realize this and I was stressed out because I couldn’t access the portal thru which you register for classes. It wasn’t until I arrived in Mannheim that I was told that registration happens right before classes start.
After hearing this news I was relieved, but the stress of registration was still far from over. Once I logged into the portal I began to have questions. First of all let me say that the new portal that the university implemented is rather terrible. Apparently the university didn’t have enough time to test it and therefore it didn’t work properly. For example half the text was written in German while the other half was in English. Links to other pages took several minutes to load and sometimes your actions didn’t register. Despite these difficulties I managed to find the list of classes for registration. I noticed that not all the classes were on this list. I searched everywhere for some of my classes because they weren’t listed. I started to get stressed because I couldn’t find my courses and I didn’t want to start my semester with the wrong classes. It turns out that some classes aren’t on the list because one does not need to register.
This was an unexpected difference in registration. At Drexel each course is meticulously listed with its registration number, at Mannheim it only applies to certain courses. For example, I only had to register for my MIS class through the portal. This registration though happened after my first class in this course. For my operations management course no registration was required, I just showed up to the first lecture. My culture course followed a different method altogether. Instead of going to the portal I had to email the professor of the course directly and ask her for a spot in the class. My german language course was handled through another portal the university uses for exchange students and registration was actually a lot earlier than other courses.
Registration at Mannheim was very difficult and complicated. I imagined it to be straightforward and self explanatory, like Drexel’s registration. Hopefully by next semester the university will have fixed its portal so registration can run smoothly. (screenshot of the registration portal)