Benjamin Saff: Mannheim is Great


I’ll preface this post by mentioning that Mannheim doesn’t have the best rep in Germany. I have met multiple Germans here who, after a few minutes of friendly talk, inevitably ask the question “Why Mannheim?” often times followed up with a “It’s such an ugly city,” comment. Well guys, this Germans are a bit spoiled when it comes to beautiful towns and cities. Yes, I’ll admit after travelling to other German areas, Mannheim is not an eye-pleaser. But it’s all about perspectives. Coming from Philadelphia, Mannheim is far from “ugly” and even comparable to Philadelphia is some respects. I list a few reasons why I enjoy Mannheim so much.

Mannheim University
This beautiful university’s main building is a giant castle. That’s right and inside it, modern class rooms and a brilliant, renown business school. The castle is the flagship piece of the city. You can’t help but feel a certain awe walking to classes in this thing and it’s certainly a plus for me.

The Quadrate
The Quardrate is a circular organizational system which contains the main urban area of the city. All blocks are labelled alpha-numerically in descending order from the main street that splits the circle in half. Within a few days, I was navigating the city with ease. It’s a very convenient system and makes it impossible to get lost.

Paradeplatz is the main strip that divides Mannheim in half and it is where all the big shops are located. It’s all cobblestoned walk way and pedestrians can navigate with extreme ease and little worry of traffic. On Paradeplatz and its various diverging streets, there is so much shopping to be had. Latest fashions, furniture, books, banks, grocery stores, delicious foods. It’s basically a big outdoor mall.

Travel Hub
You can get pretty much anywhere by train or bus from Mannheim’s main station. For example, my parents and I took a direct train from here to Paris. You can also make it to all the German cities with ease. Mannheim is a great location to live cheaply and spend that saved money on exploring. Besides long-distance trips like Belgium or Netherlands, you can explore some beautiful and charming German towns within 20 minutes of Mannheim. Heidelberg is local favorite, its old city pretty much untouched by the war and situated in between a beautiful valley on the Neckar.

Overall, Mannheim has been a perfect host city for me and would highly recommend it to others seeking out a good study abroad experience.