Student life organized by the university in Germany may be a toned-down version of the American scene with more alcohol but describing unorganized student life in Germany in comparison to the United States is a little more difficult. This might be because while I am an American, I have actually never attended an American university, and university websites do not advertise about the illegal parties or students ditching the dining hall to eat out.
Thankfully, my American friends do love to post everything they do on social media. From their Instagram and Snapchat stories and posts, I can conclude that the American social life scene not affiliated with the university consists of crazy parties, constantly going out to eat, and game nights.
The German social scene revolves a lot more around drinking. Germans are much more used to drinking from a young age, so they don’t go absolutely crazy by the time that they reach university. It may be more “tame”, per say, but it really depends on who you hang out with. Instead, alcohol is more a part of social life as a whole. The scene also is a lot more focused on going out to bars and pre-drinking rather than parties, and it’s not illegal.
Along with meeting up for pre-drinks, the other main thing that happens in student’s living spaces is making food. Take away is an option that we utilize, but only if it’s good quality and affordable. Going out to nice restaurants is almost unheard of, because it just doesn’t make sense to spend over ten euros on a meal when you could get a bunch of groceries for the same price. Making food is also a bonding experience. It’s quite fun to teach people how to make food from your home country – people may hate Trump, but everyone loves my chicken wild rice soup, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate chip cookies, which are all distinctly American. If you want to have a fun night to bond without much alcohol needed, this is the way to go in my city.
As far as other social activities, the big difference might be that taking trips is a bit more common. Especially for international students, it can be fun to take trips to somewhere that isn’t your small city. I haven’t had much experience doing this when it wasn’t during the break or organized by the international office, but I hope to do more of that during the next break. While you’re in a different country, you might as well see the area around you, and traveling in Europe is much easier than traveling in the United States. If you have time and are not lazy, then you can also try being a tourist in your own town, and check out the local historical places and museums. This is especially fun if you live in a tourist city or a place with a lot of history.
The social life in Germany has definitely been quite great, and though I may miss American food, I don’t miss not eating out a lot. It may sound like a lot to manage here, and while it is, having a great social life and doing well at school is actually possible. However, that and how to manage your schoolwork are coming in future posts, so stay tuned.