By now, most students studying at Leicester or abroad will have finished their studies, or are blissfully looking towards the imminent arrival of a study free summer. However, at Heidelberg the summer semester doesn’t officially end until August, which means that against the unspoken student rulebook, my summer will be spent juggling assignments, with a few quick trips around Germany squeezed in between.
Like last semester, this term I’m studying five courses on topics as diverse as the Enlightenment featuring novels such as Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Modernist literature by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Conveniently, Modernism and the Enlightenment are both compulsory modules for students in their final year at Leicester, which means that the courses I’m currently studying at Heidelberg will give me a useful insight to potential topics next year.
One of the highlights of studying abroad at Heidelberg is its sheer variety of literature courses. I recently completed the block seminar ‘Literary London’, which as expected tracks the development of literature produced in the city, from the Romantic poetry of Wordsworth, to the vice of Victorian London depicted in texts such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The seminar, which spanned over two consecutive weekends finished on the topic of contemporary London, focusing on writers such as Monica Ali, John Agard and Carol Ann Duffy. Overall, I was impressed with the range of topics and writers covered during the course, and it was great to discover how many influential texts were connected to the capital.
Surprisingly, my German has really improved since arriving in September, and I now frequently converse with locales and friends in German. The University offers language courses at a reduced rate for Erasmus students, and many students volunteer for the Tandem service which pairs international students with German students who would like to improve their English. Weekly language exchanges are also offered in many of the city’s cafés, which makes learning a new language a great way to meet new people.
Another perk I’ve come to enjoy at the University is the free gym facilities and classes it offers to all students. It’s a great incentive, and balances out the numerous bretzels and gelatos that make it into the average student diet!
Over the summer term the Nekar River becomes a hot spot for students relaxing after a long day of lectures, and barbecues by the riverside are commonplace over the weekend. It’s exactly where I’ll be seeking solace over the summer!