I have to say that my one semester stay in Karlsruhe was great! The people I met, at Uni or outside, were very very nice and the friendships I made will probably last very long!
The city is small, but it has its charm, especially the castle area (maybe beside the construction works everywhere :D). It has some architectural must see pieces like the castle or Dammerstock and the city urban layout itself.
There is an ESN section, that take care of international students and offers various events for internationals few times a week (so one will not be bored if don’t want to) and the biggest one at the beginning called “O-Phase” which is a MUST BE for every incomer and is the best way to meet new friends!
It is also great that just a few kilometres outside Karlsruhe there are many hills/small mountains to hike and as well beautiful cities like Heidelberg or Strasbourg in France which are just one hour away and really nice for one-day trips.
What I really liked about the University was that there was a great choice of studios, seminars and workshops, so it was easy to choose project’s and research topics one is really interested in. The classes were mostly lead in German (but the ones marked in English were lead in English), but even though the teachers were quite okay with speaking English if necessary.
Everything from the Erasmus office side was directly defined and easy to understand. And there was always someone available to answer the questions , and you will probably have one as there is some paperwork to do while one moves to Germany.
The biggest downside was the housing situation. It is not easy to find a room (was not easy for me at all), but at the end everyone got a place to call home.
In the first weeks of my stay in Karlsruhe, the time difference was one of the difficulties I have faced. However, the winter weather was the bigger problem. I haven’t prepared myself for that very cold weather. Since, I was from Ethiopia, where there is sunshine throughout the year, I was surprised how some places in the world can be as cold as that. But, it didn’t take much time of my stay, I was relieved of it as soon as I bought winter jackets that were fitting to the environment.
The university environment here is very welcoming, due to the fact that there are so many students working on their projects and as well as their daily activities. Which gave me the opportunity to present myself openly. That led to having so many friends around me to help with adapting the new environment of this huge campus. The friendliness of students that were part of my design studio and as well seminars were more than a friendly gesture rather have a welcoming feel.
KIT, as I mentioned above, is one of the prominent research institutes of the world which in turn gave me a big chance to get to know dedicated researchers and as well academicians that strive to leave a mark in the world, they live in. Moreover, these past few months of experience at KIT made me realize that I was not using my potential to the best. Seeing all the choices put in front of me, like the facilities, to put my ideas into reality, and professors, who are more willing to give a hand in whatever means possible, I haven’t used the time wisely. But that’s what I like about KIT, it gave me a huge mirror to view myself in a different but often a likely perspective.
When it comes to the city, Karlsruhe, during the first days, I can’t be lying if I say, I hated it. That’s mainly because of my first-time exposure to the harsh Winter-weather and the “different” way of living. I’m from the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Abeba. To describe the city in this interview would be so short, but I want to give it a try with the following three words of my choice: chaotic, lovely, and lively. But Karlsruhe was very calm and quiet, which in the first weeks of my residency, led me to think of the city as dormant and inactive. However, spending more months here, I judged myself of wrongly accusing the city of falsified characters. Now, if you ask me the question of what I like about the city, Karlsruhe, I will say, its interactive and lively environment that gave me the potential environment to set me free to do whatever I would like to do or think. Which is a dream that I wished I had in my home city, Addis Abeba.