Every year thousands of students from all over the world spend a semester studying in the Bavarian capital Munich. Whether they come from far away or a neighbouring country, every exchange student has the same worries and concerns: How can I make new friends? But don’t worry! I guarantee this is now much easier than it used to be thanks to the world wide web. With a little bit of courage and a dash of research, you’ll quickly feel at home in this big city with an even bigger heart! Here are a few tips to help you make new friends in Munich:
Munich Erasmus Students Association
MESA was founded by former Erasmus students of the LMU Munich and aims to make the time international students spend in the Bavarian capital as pleasant as possible. Various committees organise regular social gatherings and events such as going to the Hofbräuhaus, visiting museums and enjoying picnics in the English Garden. I also took part in one of the organised pub crawls, which are open to all, and got to know lots of friendly students from around the globe. MESA also provides you with an opportunity to explore various towns and cities close by. Julia, an exchange student from Great Britain, regularly went on trips to places of interest and had lots of fun while learning more about local culture.
Whether you take part in a German course or are paired up with a local student after joining the ‘buddy’ programme: You’ll notice that your university offers a whole host of opportunities to meet new and interesting people! Ariel from South Korea decided to stay a year longer in Munich and is still in contact with her buddy. “At first we only spoke to each other if I had any questions about my stay in Munich, but now we also meet up for a cup of coffee,” she explains. You should definitely sign up for German course, which is usually on offer at the start of the semester, or go along to one of the weekly ‘Stammtische’, as this is a great chance for you to meet and chat with ‘the locals’ and other new international students. For instance, Kaei, who came all the way from Japan to spend a semester in Munich, told me that one of her best memories was going to the Oktoberfest at the start of the semester with friends she had met in her German class.
Numerous ‘student parties’, quite often organised through Facebook, give exchange students the chance to meet and mix with their German counterparts. At last year’s ISM Christmas Party, I met two exchange students from Canada who I had never ever seen before at our small and cosy campus. So don’t forget to ‘Like’ the Facebook page of your chosen university!
Making friends through the Internet
Generally speaking, don’t ignore the opportunities provided by the Internet and, in particular, Facebook. Various Facebook groups such as “Neu in München” or “International Students Munich” can help you to get in touch with people from Munich and to socialise and make friends with other international students. Salla, a Finnish exchange student, joined a Facebook group especially for Finns in Munich and discovered some important visa information while taking the chance to speak to others about her experiences in the city.
Finally, I should also give a mention to meeting people the traditional way. The first step is to always drag yourself out of the house. Go on a relaxing walk through the English Garden, visit university events or spend an afternoon in one of the many beer gardens. I’m sure you’ll be amazed at just how easily and quickly you can meet new people this way!
And before I forget: Welcome to Munich!
Author: Julia Günther