Reutlingen: Cosmopolitan and comfortable

Although small in size, Reutlingen offers a colourful combination of cosmopolitan flair and old-town tradition. Numerous multinational corporations have set up operations in this town at the edge of the Swabian Mountains. With its vibrant culture, beautiful scenery and hometown feeling, you will most certainly enjoy living in Reutlingen.

by Johanna Wendel and Maria Horschig

Reutlingen at night © Wendel/DAAD
Reutlingen at night . © Wendel/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
167€ - 390€
A trip to the Swabian Alb.

Welcome to Reutlingen

Reutlingen is located near the cities of Tübingen and Stuttgart and is home to approximately 110,000 residents. The gorgeous landscape of the Swabian Mountains lies directly at your doorstep. Even beyond Germany’s borders, the Swabian Mountains are known for their distinctive plant and animal life.

Reutlingen offers a charming mixture of medieval half-timber houses and modern architecture. The busy shopping street Wilhelmsstrasse, romantic quarters, a full calendar of cultural events and numerous recreational activities ensure a high quality of life.

Park on Achalm © Wendel/DAAD
Park on Achalm . © Wendel/DAAD

The Spreuerhofstrasse is famous for being the narrowest street in the world – only 31 cm wide – a record held since 2007 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Strolling through town, you’ll encounter numerous buildings and features which date back to times long past. The most famous landmark in Reutlingen is the Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church). It has been officially designated as a national cultural monument. Located about five kilometres away from the centre of town is the Achalm, a 707-m high mountain, atop of which is a watch tower of a former castle.

The Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences is internationally renowned for its outstanding degree programmes in textile and design, which is why numerous foreign students study there. In fact, 20 percent of the student body come from abroad. The students always remark about how friendly the atmosphere is on campus – not only between the students, but also with their professors.

Living in Reutlingen

The rental prices for apartments or a room in a flat-share can vary greatly in Reutlingen, especially because it’s one of the more expensive student towns in Germany. You can find a relatively inexpensive accommodation in a student residence hall for 167 to 390 euros per month. The university operates five residence halls, one of which is reserved for women only. You can inquire at the university about applying for a room.

Spitalhof © Wendel/DAAD
Spitalhof . © Wendel/DAAD

Whether you’re interested in nature, partying, sports or culture, Reutlingen offers something for everyone. Being a rather small city, you’ll quickly become acquainted with other students. Two of the four residence halls on campus have their own bar which opens once a week. If you need to wind down and party after a stressful day of classes, there’s a student pub in the basement of the "Mensa" (dining hall), called CaRe, open every Monday and Wednesday night.

Whatever sport you’re interested in, you’ll find it in Reutlingen. The university sports programme is free of charge and offers a wide range of sports and athletic activities – they even have a climbing wall, swimming pool and tennis courts.

The franzk at the train station is the place to go if you like poetry slams and enjoy listening to musicians from around the world. If you feel more at home at a typical German rock café, you might want to check out the Kaiserhalle. Almost everyone in Reutlingen knows “Kohla“, the owner of the Kaiserhalle. He’s something of a local celebrity whose advertising slogan is “we are ugly...but we have the music!”

Tübingen Gate © Wendel/DAAD
Tübingen Gate . © Wendel/DAAD

Do you like karaoke? Then you should go to the Irish Pub on Thursday evenings – Reutlingen’s unofficial “international meeting place”. You can dance to live salsa music at Mezcalitos on Wednesday nights. And at the discos Färberei 4, P&K and M-Park, you can party until the wee hours of the morning. And if that’s not enough variety for you, you can also take a quick trip to Tübingen or Stuttgart.

Thanks to its proximity to the Swabian Mountains, Reutlingen offers ideal destinations for daylong excursions. The Hohenzollern Castle offers a marvellous panoramic view of the Swabian Mountains and is one of the most visited castles in Europe. Atop a cliff-faced outcrop lies the romantic Lichtenstein Castle, modelled after the castle in Wilhelm Hauff’s novel “Lichtenstein”. After viewing the castle and its grounds, you can put your climbing skills to the test at the adjacent adventure park.

Interview with Francisco from Peru

Francisco Yzusqui is 22 years old, comes from Lima, Peru and studies International Business at ESB Business School in Reutlingen.

Francisco from Peru © Private
Francisco from Peru . © Private

Why did you decide to study in Reutlingen?

When I chose my course of study and I was choosing between a university and a university of applied sciences, I looked at three main criteria. First, the higher education institution where I wanted to study had to be accredited, which is the case for the ESB Business School in Reutlingen. Secondly, the university should be state-run, and thirdly it should not be in a large city.

Since I come from Lima, Peru, I wanted to live in a somewhat quieter city with as few distractions as possible during my studies. My goal was to come to Germany to study, and I figured the rest would follow on from there. Because my brother and my sister were already studying in Baden-Württemberg, I was drawn toward the south rather than some other part of the country. Reutlingen turned out to be a town of the right size for me. It not only has a good university of applied sciences, but it is also near my relatives.

What should prospective students who are coming to Germany do before they leave their home countries?

Before departure, one thing should not be underestimated, and that is finding a place to live. Students often wait until they get confirmation from the higher education institution before they start looking. Time and again that can turn out to be a real nightmare if you get a confirmation rather last-minute and have to then plan the trip. Many international students don’t know that you can apply to student housing to secure a place to live even before you have the confirmation from the university (of course you have to submit the confirmation as soon as you get it).

If possible, the student should find out if they are eligible for funding. As a foreigner, you are often don’t become aware of such opportunities early enough and so miss out on them.

Do you have a part-time job?

Not any more. During the semester holidays I worked at a warehouse for a short time, which was great during the holidays and helped support me financially. Unfortunately, working and studying at the same time is not always easy. As soon as lectures started again, I had to quit working because of time constraints, so I would not neglect my studies. But it’s not always that simple, when somebody has no other income besides their part-time job. It is important to find a balance between work and studies, so you don’t have to study longer than the standard period.

What will you do after you finish your studies? Can you imagine staying here in Germany?

I am not ruling out the possibility. I learned a lot here in Germany and certainly have a lot more to learn from the German culture. My current plans for after graduation are to start on a master's degree. If possible, I would like to do that in another country, so I can learn about yet another culture and experience new things.

What do you like best about Reutlingen? Your insider tip or favourite place in Reutlingen? And why?

What I like about Reutlingen is that it is a very quiet town, but it is near larger ones with more activity, like Tübingen (10 minutes by train) and Stuttgart (about 50 minutes by train). Also, Reutlingen has a lot of international students, so you are never alone as a stranger to this country. My favourite place is the football stadium “An der Kreuzeiche”, because you can play sports there, but in the summer it is also open for barbecuing and other activities.

What is the best way to meet other students?

In my experience so far, there are two ways to meet other students. First, you can get involved in social projects (very popular at the institution in Reutlingen), and the second is partying. The second option is better and more effective because you meet students outside of your lectures and you get to see what they’re really like. The best option is, of course, to do both.

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