How to FAU
Master being an international student
Studying abroad is one of the most exciting and informative things you can do as a student. But with being abroad, many questions come hand in hand. At FAU, we want you to know where you can ask questions and get support. Our international student Ani has some advice to make your start at FAU easier.
Welcome to Germany
Before we jump into the interview, check out this video, where we’ve gathered some information which is importat for all students moving to Germany. You can learn about visas and entry requirements, accomodation, and registering at the town hall after your arrival in Erlangen.
A chat with Ani
Ani, originally from Armenia, has been an international student at least twice: Here, at FAU, where she’s studying in the Elite Master programme “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures“, and in Beijing, China, where she spent a term abroad during her master. We chatted to her about tips for fellow internationals, support systems at the uni and what you shouldn’t miss when in Erlangen.
How do you stay in touch with friends and family at home?
My tip is to be in contact as often as you can. It can be difficult because of the time difference but go ahead and plan it if you have to. It’s worth it. Find what works best for you, there is no right way.
Corona has made many things a little more difficult. How is it going at uni?
This will maybe be the fourth term when people can’t have classes in person, which is unfortunate, so it’s time to get creative. For example, students from our programme managed to organise a Christmas party via Zoom for all cohorts. I highly recommend you check if your school has similar events that allow you to connect with other students. If you live in a shared apartment, try to spend a bit more quality time with the people that are actually physically around you. It also makes you feel less lonely. During these tough times, it’s often about figuring out the second-best option.
Abroad while abroad: During her FAU degree, Ani has spent a semester in Beijing, China. (Foto: Lilith Tagayan)
What’s your advice to new students if they have questions about their programme?
I know that many departments are trying their best to make their new students feel welcome by showing them around – if only virtually. Also, make use of the chance to connect with more senior students if the option is offered to you! People are generally so helpful; knowing that can help make you less hesitant to ask questions.
You’ve lived in Erlangen for a while now: Any spots you recommend everyone visit?
I love spending time in nature, and there are a lot of spots in Erlangen where you can go even during Corona times because they are not crowded. I recommend checking out the Dechsendorfer Weiher, a pond a few minutes from Erlangen, or the Tennenloher Forst, a forest also close to the city. It’s nice to know there are some places worthwhile visiting that are not directly in the centre. Of course, Nuremberg and its natural attractions are close, too.
Where do you go for information?
There are many places to get information, for example, I recommend the FAU YouTube channel. Internationals can check it out, too, even if the videos are in German. Many videos have English subtitles, or they can use German subtitles which is great for learning the language.
What services can make the lives of international students easier?
I love the Writing Centre. The consultations they offer are great. They help you polish up your writing. There are also Counselling and Psychological Services, which are open to everybody. There are a lot of services that can help you figure things out. Asking for help is never shameful, especially at the beginning of your studies, when a lot of things are new and may seem scary. Also, it can be worth it to look into the Buddy Programme, where you partner with a German student to help you when you are new here. I know of people who became great friends through the programme. Some departments have their own buddy Programmes, too – ask about it!
For everything you need to know, you can visit our webpage where we’ve collected useful advice. Also check out our International playlist on YouTube to learn about what student life is like in Germany, how to set up your FAU accounts, and more.
How does teaming up with a German student sound? Good? You may want to look into the university’s Buddy Programme. Volunteers will help you get settled and become accustomed to your new surroundings.
The International Office is the first point of contact for many questions around studying internationally. There is a working group for international students. They bundle the problems and challenges of international students in order to tackle them together.
… hungry? Drop by one of the Mensas.
… low, anxious or unmotivated? Consider talking to someone at Psychological Services, offered by the Studentwerk. You can book a private consultation, also available in English, here.
… unsure about the path ahead? Make an appointment with the Career Service.
… restless? Try to get rid of some extra energy by joining a Hochschulsport class or two.
FRISCH! at FAU
frisch! at FAU is the magazine for freshmen. In it, you’ll find everything you need to know about starting your studies. From service facilities to reports on faculty projects and extracurricular activities at the university to alumni interviews, it’s all here.
As a first-year student, you received a copy together with your enrolment folder. Individual copies are also available at FAU, for example in the dining halls and various student offices. You can also read the magazine online.