Greifswald: Long Traditions and Cultural Diversity

Greifswald is a small city with a very homey atmosphere. Not only are you likely to meet your professors and fellows students at the university, but also at the market place, local pub and at the beach. The cultural activities make this quaint Hanseatic town something very special.

by Corinna Schlun

On the waterfront © Schlun/DAAD
On the waterfront . © Schlun/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
302 €
Spent the entire night dancing at the “Fête de la musique”!

Welcome to Greifwald

There’s a saying that goes: “You will cry twice when you study in Greifswald – the first time when you move there and the second time when you leave.” At that first moment you arrive, it seems like you’ve fallen off the map! But you’ll immediately find yourself enchanted by the vibrant student atmosphere in this Hanseatic town. And when you’ve finished your studies and leave Greifswald, you’ll find that you’ll sorely miss that familiar flair.

Downtown © Schlun/DAAD
Downtown . © Schlun/DAAD

The town is at its prettiest during the summer months. You can take your bike along the Ryck River, and in just about 15 minutes you’ll arrive at the beach in the Eldena district.

Eldena and the neighbouring district of Wieck are among the prettiest quarters of Greifswald. Here you’ll find small houses with thatched roofs – i.e. not your typical red-tiled roofs, but old-fashioned ones made of straw. You can watch the colourful trawlers coming back with fresh fish and see the oldest wooden drawbridge in Germany which has to be cranked open manually. Many of the fisherman sell fish sandwiches right off their boats.

But there are many pretty places downtown as well. The Audimax is an impressive building. In Lecture Hall 1 you’ll still find the old chairs that have been used by students listening to lectures for over a hundred years.

More pictures

Living in Greifswald

Many students here live in the “Fleischervorstadt” where you’ll find a colourful mix of flat-shares (WGs) and one-person apartments in historic buildings. Because this quarter is so popular, the rental prices are little higher than in the outlying areas. You’ll discover that the rents are lower if you live in the outer districts, like Schönwalde I or Schönwalde II. From there it’s too far to walk into town, so you’ll have to take your bike or the bus. The Studentenwerk offers rooms and apartments in residence halls both downtown and in the surrounding districts. That’s why the rental prices can range anywhere from 147 euros to 311 euros for a single-person apartment.

My tip

You can finally call Greifswald your home once you’ve spent the entire night dancing at the “Fête de la musique” at the Museumshafen.

Between seminars, you can stop for a bite at the “S-Bar“ which sells delicious meals at a low price. The best ice-cream in town is sold at the “Kontor” on the marketplace. Or you can find a place to sit down at the Museumshafen and enjoy the nice weather with your friends.

Museumshafen © Schlun/DAAD
Museumshafen . © Schlun/DAAD

There are several cool nightspots for students in Greifswald, including five student clubs. The student club Kiste organises a movie night once a week. Another popular event is the "Clubs U Night", a gigantic party, organised by all five student clubs, for which the entire dining hall is converted into a disco.

If you’re more in the mood for a quiet evening, we recommend taking a seat in one of the pubs in town. The “Domburg” serves good cocktails, the “Falle” offers a medieval ambience and the “Ravic” is simply a place you have to go at some point.

The University of Greifswald organises several cultural festivals during the year. The polenmARkT presents the cultural diversity of neighbouring Poland, and the Nordischen Klang enchants visitors with the sights and sounds of Scandinavia.

But the highlight of the year is the “Fête de la musique”, organised by the Greifswalder International Students Festival (GrIStuF). Stages are set up all over town where you listen to concerts of every kind. The festival’s finale takes place at the Museumshafen where everyone dances until dawn.

True to its name, GrIStuf also organises the biannual Greifswalder International Students Festival. Hundreds of foreign students participate in workshops and events devoted to a specific theme. The week-long festival includes evening events as well, such as concerts, readings and a “running dinner”.                      

Interview with Daniel from Bolivia

Daniel Salinas-Lange is 25 years old and comes from Bolivia. He is working towards his master’s degree in Art History in Greifswald.

Daniel from Bolivia © Privat
Daniel from Bolivia . © Privat

Why did you decide to study in Greifswald?

Actually I initially intended to study in Cologne, not Greifswald. I ended up in Greifswald “by accident”, as they say, when I visited my brother here in 2007. I immediately fell in love with the city and the student atmosphere.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

Learning German very fast was at the top of my list. I needed to have advanced knowledge of German in order to be admitted to the foundation course (Studienkolleg). Buying the right clothes was also part of my preparation (I was supposed to start the foundation course in the winter semester). A lot of things surprised me, and there were many things I couldn’t easily prepare for in advance. As I always say: No one comes to Germany with an instruction manual in hand.

How did you find your accommodation? Do you have advice for someone looking for an apartment?

My brother had studied here for two semesters and was able to help me. He found a flat-share advertised on the “Schwarzes Brett” (notice board) at the university. But you always find the best apartments either coincidently or through acquaintances. Not through the normal channels anyway, although you should always start there. You should have a good idea of what you really want – the size, a flat-share or not, the location, the price of rent.

What surprised you the most about life in Greifswald?

That it’s a small German city where everyone knows each other well, are at least recognises each other. Greifswald has a personality of its own, a “face” of its own. Relatively unknown, but the best isn’t only saved for last, it’s saved for those who have sharp eyes! Cool “Gryphswood” (as many international students call it) seemed like the Springfield of Germany to me.

Audimax © Privat
Audimax . © Privat

What are your plans after graduation? Can you see yourself staying in Germany?

The chances of finding a job in the cultural field are very slim in Bolivia. There are many things I have to do here and things I can do for Germany.

What’s the best way of making contact with other students?

Go and talk to people! At a lecture, a seminar, or better yet, at parties! I thought German students were quite shy at first (or maybe that’s just because South Americans are very outgoing).

What do you like best about Greifswald? Do you have secret tip or favourite place in Greifswald?

There are places in Greifswald where you can really experience the feeling of timelessness, like at the Arboretum. Or you can enjoy a ginger ale at the Museumshafen on a warm summer evening.

Complete the sentence: “For me, studying in Germany is…”

… a privilege for which I will always be grateful.

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