Because the constant fear of dying looms over potential study abroad students and their parents, I figured now would be as good of a time as ever to discuss the safety in the city of Mannheim. I want to start of by saying that despite Mannheim’s title of city, it feels more like a town. I mean, I even looked up the definition of ‘city’ just to be sure Mannheim knew what was going on, but fairly enough, it’s technically a city. Technically.
But it still doesn’t feel like a city, even though it’s the third largest in the state of Baden-Württemberg. I say this for a couple of reasons. The first, very glaringly being that, I grew up around and now live in Philadelphia (thanks Drexel). The second reason being that it doesn’t look like a city: no mobs of pedestrians, no loud screeching noises, and of course, no dirt and grime. Lastly, I feel unnaturally safe here. Now I’m not saying that you should be walking around by yourself at 3 a.m. because that’s not safe to do regardless of where you are, but generally the neighborhoods in Mannheim are on the suburban side, you’re living amongst people that earn livings, raise families, and are too busy figuring out their own lives to pay any attention to you.
When I first arrived and was dragging my suitcase behind me, I was horrified that I was going to get robbed. In the days preparing to come here, my mother, friends, and the internet all deceived me into believing that everyone in the world is out to get me and I’ll die the second I step off of U.S. soil. It was a sunny 90 degree day, and yet I was petrified. I thought everyone was going to mug me. I have no idea why, considering everyone was literally at work. All of those fears faded as I stepped off the tram and had to heave my suitcase up a massive flight of stairs. Upon seeing my struggle, a stranger picked up the other side of my bag and helped me carry it up.
And generally, those are the type of people I have met in Mannheim. Mostly everyone sticks to themselves, so to even approach you for any reason is unfathomable – but if they do, it’s mainly to lend a helping hand. Many people you’ll pass on the street are fellow students carrying on with their regular day-to-day lives. There’s even trams that run to nearly every possible corner and crevice of the city, alleviating any fears of walking alone at night. And if you don’t believe me, check Mannheim’s crime rates. When put to the test of how truly safe it is to walk around at night, Mannheim scored a 62.5, while Philadelphia earned a meager 26.9. As a student and a woman, I haven’t experienced any trouble, and don’t expect to in the future.