Hildesheim: History of Tradition and Close-Knit Student Community

Taking a swim in "Tonkuhle Lake" or discovering the sights and sounds of Hildesheim on the "Route of the Roses" – if you decide to study in Hildesheim, you can look forward to living in a beautiful, quaint university town where everything is within biking distance. And in the middle of it all you’ll discover an impressive historical setting.

by Sophie Nagel

Much different than New York or Paris – the quiet pace of life is a welcome relief © Sophie Nagel
Much different than New York or Paris – the quiet pace of life is a welcome relief . © Sophie Nagel

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
305 €
An outing to "Tonkuhle Lake".

Welcome to Hildesheim

About two hours north of Frankfurt airport lies the quaint city of Hildesheim. It is situated in the upper-middle half of Germany in the state of Lower Saxony, approximately 30 km southeast of Hannover. Located on the Innerste River, Hildesheim has become one of Germany’s larger-sized cities in recent years, but it is by far not as large as Berlin. It still possesses a certain small-town charm. Here you will find many beautiful and historically significant buildings. St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Michael’s Church are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The historic marketplace © Sophie Nagel
The historic marketplace . © Sophie Nagel

The spire of St. Andrew’s Church is the highest church steeple in Lower Saxony and even holds the record as one of the highest steeples in the world. Aside from its numerous churches, Hildesheim is home to a large number of well-preserved half-timbered houses. Most of them can be found in the Neustadt district, but there are some in Moritzberg as well. It’s definitely worth visiting the old Waffenschmiedehaus (armoury) built in 1548 (at Gelber Stern 21) and the Wernersche House from 1606 on Godehardsplatz across from St. Godehard Basilica. You will immediately recognise them by their brightly coloured carvings on the façades. The half-timbered houses on the marketplace, however, are only replicas.

If you’re interested in discovering Hildesheim on your own, take a walk along the "Route of the Roses" by following the brass plaques that are set into the pavement. The roses point the way to various tourist attractions. From the old marketplace to the famous Knochenhauer-Amtshaus, the roses will lead you past churches, historical buildings and beautiful half-timbered houses.

City hall © Florian Braatz
City hall . © Florian Braatz

Living in Hildesheim

The most important mode of transportation for students in Hildesheim is the bicycle. Traffic in town is not very hectic, which means you can reach most destinations quickly and easily by bike. The campus is located a bit south of downtown Hildesheim. Like other universities, Hildesheim also offers a diverse University Sports programme if you want to stay fit during your studies. Do you like climbing? The Hildesheim chapter of the German Alpine Association (DAV) recently built a new Climbing Centre.

My tip

When the weather gets hot, go swimming with friends in "Tonkuhle Lake" which is just minutes away from campus. Or check with the ESN team. Sometimes they organise canoe trips!

Want to go out with friends? Hindenburgplatz is a popular meeting place not far from city hall in the centre of town. Just around the corner in Wollenweberstrasse, you will find the café "Kafenion" which serves inexpensive coffee and cake. If you go further downtown, you will discover "Traum Waffel" where students get together in the afternoon. In the evening, you should definitely try out the pub “Wohnzimmer” before going to a concert at the Kulturfabrik (Kufa) located northeast of the train station. That’s also where they hold the popular “Glow in the Dark” parties where you will surely meet some of your fellow students.

Tonkuhle Lake © Florian Braatz
Tonkuhle Lake . © Florian Braatz

If you want to participate in film nights, parties and excursions around the region and to other German cities, you should get in touch with the staff at ESN. The ESN team takes good care of international students in Hildesheim and makes sure that nobody is lonesome for long.

If you’re interested in other cultural events, Hildesheim has its own city theatre which offers a wide range of plays, operas, musicals and concerts. In the summertime many of these events take place outdoors at various locations around town.

Interview with Nicole from Argentina

Nicole Narbebury from Argentina is 22 years old and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Communication and Translating at the University of Hildesheim.

Nicole Narbebury © Florian Braatz
Nicole Narbebury . © Florian Braatz

Why did you decide to study in Hildesheim?

I always wanted to go to Germany because I believe you can study languages best in the country where they are spoken. Since my university and the University of Hildesheim are partner universities, I simply applied for a scholarship in Hildesheim and got it.

Leaving home can be tough. What is your advice for making it easier?

I think the best thing to do is get together one last time with your family and friends before you leave and enjoy your time with them. And when you leave, it might be nice to take along some photos and mementos so you won’t miss the people back home so much.

What was the hardest thing about living in Germany in the beginning? And how did you deal with it?

In the beginning the hardest thing about living in Germany was being so far away from my family, my friends and my home country. It was my first time in Europe and the culture is so different, and you have to get used to it and adapt. But I have photos of my family and friends with me, and I Skype a lot with my family.

Monument am Lappenberg © Sophie Nagel
Monument am Lappenberg . © Sophie Nagel

How did you find a place to stay? Do you have any advice for students looking for accommodation?

The university organised everything for me in the winter semester. I lived in a student hall of residence. That was really nice. For the summer semester, though, I had to find my own accommodation. On the website I found a room in a flat share (WG).

In every WG profile, they include a short description and photos of the flat, what the flatmates do and would like, and so on. I recommend visiting that website if you’re looking for an apartment.

How do you finance your studies and living expenses in Germany?

In the winter semester, I paid for my living expenses with the scholarship. But since I’m staying longer than I originally planned, I’m now working at a café in the summer semester so I can pay for everything.

Could you imagine staying in Germany after your studies?

Yes, life here is quieter and more relaxed than in Argentina. And as I mentioned before, I think it’s incredibly important to study the language you want to learn in the country where it’s spoken. Here in Germany I learn much more in everyday life than I do in language classes at my university in Argentina.

Kulturfabrik © Sophie Nagel
Kulturfabrik . © Sophie Nagel

Why is Hildesheim a good place to study?

Hildesheim is a really nice place to study because it’s a university town. Here we have the University of Hildesheim and HAWK, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts. There is a wide selection of degree programmes to choose from and the university is well organised. They always offer many interesting events. Hildesheim is the perfect city to study in!

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

You can most easily make contact with other people through the university and student organisations. Here in Hildesheim we have the volunteer organisation "ESN" which is run by students and regularly organises events and excursions to help exchange students make contact with others quickly.

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