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Bayreuth: Enjoy Culture and Nature

Lots of nature, a historic downtown and short distances – Bayreuth offers everything a student’s heart desires. With its interdisciplinary orientation, the university is popular among students from around the world.

by Bastian Rothe

Festival Theatre © Flickr/Markus Spiske
Festival Theatre . © Flickr/Markus Spiske

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
71,100
Students:
12,600
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
303 €
Tip:
Pay a visit to the pub “Florian”!
Website:
www.bayreuth.de

Welcome to Bayreuth

Bayreuth is located in northern Bavaria in the region of Franconia. Some say that the inhabitants of this region are reserved and aloof, but you’ll soon discover that Bavarians are nothing of the sort. They are very cordial and provide their guests with a warm welcome.

Richard Wagner © Flickr/Amadeusrecord
Richard Wagner . © Flickr/Amadeusrecord

Bayreuth is idyllically situated on the Roter Main River in a valley surrounded by rolling hills. Its numerous parks and greens make Bayreuth a very green city. Unfortunately many of the historic buildings downtown were destroyed during World War II or demolished in the following years, but the more recently constructed buildings also exude a charm of their own.

If you ever read up on Bayreuth, it won’t take long until you run across the name of the famous composer Richard Wagner. Wagner came to Bayreuth in 1872 to fulfil his dream of building a performance venue solely dedicated to his operas. In this tradition, Bayreuth hosts an opera festival every August. The "Markgräfliche Opernhaus" downtown is also quite famous. The UNESCO added it to the list of World Heritage Site in 2012. Along with the Wagner festival house and the Markgräfliches Opernhaus, another popular tourist attraction is the Hermitage, a large park in the St. Johannis district. 

Opernhaus © Flickr/Sanjar Khaksari
Opernhaus . © Flickr/Sanjar Khaksari

Bayreuth attracts numerous companies thanks to the international orientation of its university. For years the city has been actively promoting this trend, for example, with incentives for the logistics sector. The university plays a decisive role in forging partnerships between academia and business. Many cooperate with the university and take advantage of its global networks. For example, the university is home to the Fraunhofer Project Group Process Innovation and the Project Group Business and Information Systems Engineering. The Fraunhofer Center for High-Temperature Materials and Design is located in the Wolfsbach quarter of Bayreuth.

Living in Bayreuth

The university is located south of downtown Bayreuth. The campus is situated around the former “parade grounds” and offers numerous opportunities to find a quiet place to study. Since all of the faculties are so close together, you will quickly come in contact and get to know students from other departments.

My tip

Pay a visit to the pub “Florian” (Dammallee 12a) and enjoy the atmosphere of the city. It’s the kind of place where you can easily strike up conversation with the locals who can tell you what you should see in town.

You can reach campus easily on foot or by bus. During breaks, students often walk downtown to grab a coffee or just chill for a while. In fact, most places in Bayreuth are in walking distance. Public transportation is well accessible too. Unfortunately, you’ll need nerves of steel if you take your bike. The biking paths are somewhat chaotic and not extensively developed.

Alleyway © Flickr/Hey Jami
Alleyway . © Flickr/Hey Jami

Roundabout 13,000 students strongly shape daily life in Bayreuth. You won’t have to look very long to find a quaint café or pub downtown where you can meet other students. The furnishings at “Heimathafen“ (Kanzleistrasse 2) exude a 1970s retro-charm, and the “Plektrum” at Moritzhöfen 29 is especially popular among students for its large beer garden and billiard tables.

If you don’t find the hills of Bayreuth daunting enough, you can spend one of your free days hiking through Franconian Switzerland or the Fichtel Mountains. Both mountain ranges are easily accessible and interspersed with numerous hiking trails. Franconian Switzerland is well-known for its bizarre cliff formations and numerous castles. It’s a popular week-end destination for mountain climbers.

Interview with Shanshan from China

Shanshan Gao is 23 years old, comes from China and is enrolled in the master’s degree programme Intercultural German Studies in Bayreuth.

Shanshan from China © Privat
Shanshan from China . © Privat

Why did you decide to study in Bayreuth?

A friend of mine from China who was already studying in Bayreuth recommended the university to me. I also wanted to study Intercultural German Studies which is only possible in Bayreuth.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

There were several steps. First I had to convince my parents to let me study in Germany. Then I had to take two exams that were required for admission to German universities. And then I had to gather very concise information about what I could study at which university and what life was like in each city. Finally I had to get used to being independent.

What advice can you give other foreign students who wish to come to Germany?

First, prepare well. Get information about the country and the people, and above all, the degree programme and the university. Secondly, good language skills are a plus. Thirdly, be independent, open-minded and patient and don’t be afraid of pitfalls. Be brave!

What did you find difficult when you first arrived in Germany?

Understanding German was really hard for me at first. What’s more, I had to overcome culture shock because the cultures in Germany and China are very different. I also had to cope with loneliness in the beginning.

Eremitage © Flickr/Jan Beck
Eremitage . © Flickr/Jan Beck

How did you come in contact with other students?

I participated in numerous events at the university and in town which helped me get to know many students and make friends quickly.

How did you find your accommodation in Bayreuth?

After receiving the notification of admission from the university, I immediately asked the Studentenwerk about getting an apartment. I applied online and now I live in a one-person apartment in a student residence hall.

How are financing your stay in Deutschland?

My parents are financing my studies in Germany.

What do you like about Bayreuth the most?

I like that the citizens of Bayreuth are so open and friendly. There’s also a very rich cultural scene here and I enjoy the beautiful surroundings very much.

What’s your favourite place in town?

That would be the university’s Botanical Garden because I love nature and there’s a lot of it there.

What would you like to do after your stay in Germany?

Later on I’d like to work at an institute for cultural exchange or as a German teacher in Shanghai.

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