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Cottbus: Feel at home with nature everywhere

Cottbus offers students a relaxing academic atmosphere. Everything is close and the cost of living is inexpensive. You’ll hardly have a problem finding a place to live and there are numerous parks where you can hang out with friends in the afternoon.

by Steffen Hanisch

Branitz Park © Hanisch/DAAD
Branitz Park . © Hanisch/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
100,000
Students:
7,730
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
155 € - 338 €
Tip:
Treat yourself to a day at the “Spreewald Thermal Baths”!
Website:
www.cottbus.de

Welcome to Cottbus

The “Park City”, the “University City”, the “Track-and-Field Mecca” – Cottbus has lots of nicknames and takes pride in its diverse distinctions. The city is located between Dresden and Berlin and lies close to the Polish border. Cottbus is an important centre of trade and industry in the Lausitz region in southern Brandenburg. The corporations Vattenfall and Arvato and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg are just some of the important flagships in the region.

Altmarkt © Hanisch/DAAD
Altmarkt . © Hanisch/DAAD

The Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg enjoys an excellent reputation. As a technical university, it offers numerous degree programmes in the technical and scientific fields. The BTU is a relatively new, but well-equipped university which provides outstanding academic advising. This, of course, appeals to many international students.

The “Altmarkt” is the historic city centre located in downtown Cottbus. It underwent extensive renovation several years ago. Here you’ll find many bars and cafés where you can kick back and relax. The Staatstheater is worth a visit, as well. Built at the start of the 20th century, it’s one of the most impressive Jugendstil theatres in all of Europe. Plays, operas and concerts are performed here every week during the theatre season.

Castle Branitz © Hanisch/DAAD
Castle Branitz . © Hanisch/DAAD

Its numerous parks and gardens make Cottbus a popular destination for day-trippers. Castle Branitz in the Branitz Park also draws flocks of tourists. The castle was originally the residence of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, an influential landscape architect of the 19th century.

The Spreewald, a large wooded area through which the Spree River runs, is “just around the corner” so to speak. Cherished for its unspoilt nature, the forest offers visitors numerous recreational opportunities.

The Lausitz region has a long sports tradition. Cottbus is a strong supporter of track and field, and is also known for its achievements in this area. A huge sports complex with modern outdoor facilities and gyms is located in the southern part of the city.

Living in Cottbus

You can live comfortably in Cottbus even on a student budget. The cost of living and studying is very inexpensive. Not only can you find affordable flats downtown, but also close to the university.

Dieselkraftwerk © Hanisch/DAAD
Dieselkraftwerk . © Hanisch/DAAD

Thanks to its many parks and greens, Cottbus is an ideal place to relax. For example, you can spend lazy afternoons in the Puschkin Park. And the Schiller Park is ideally located in the centre of town. In the summer, you can spend your free time at the Sachsendorfer swimming lake or at the “Lagune” indoor swimming pool. The “Lagune” is located near the university.

My tip

Treat yourself to a day at the “Spreewald Thermal Baths”. On cold days, the saunas, salt-water baths and swimming pools with massage jets can get your body back in gear and raise your spirits – guaranteed!

Culture plays a significant role in Cottbus. Aside from the Staatstheater, the “Dieselkraftwerk” is a very important cultural venue. The building with its red-brick façade (called a “Klinkerbau” in German) is situated at the edge of the Spree River and is a piece of living industrial history. Long ago it was the power plant that provided Cottbus with electricity. Today it is home to an art gallery.

The “Wendish Museum” presents exhibitions and historic items of Wendish culture. The Wends were a tribe that once inhabited the region. If you’re interested in history, then you’ll definitely enjoy your visit there.

The Weltspiegel cinema at the south end of downtown exudes a historic charm. The movie theatre was recently renovated, so now you can enjoy the latest blockbusters on a regular basis.

Staatstheater © Hanisch/DAAD
Staatstheater . © Hanisch/DAAD

If you’re interested in going out, you have many options to choose from. If you’re in the mood for dancing and partying, then the Gladhouse or Bebel is where you should go. But don’t miss the campus parties at the BTU. If you’d rather spend a quiet evening with friends, we recommend the coffee bar “Mosquito” at the Altmarkt or the shisha bar “Sochi”. And if you’re a friend of alternative culture, then the “Scandale” and “Seitensprung” are good places to find it!

Interview with Argyros from Greece

Argyros Ilias is 30 years old, comes from Athens and is enrolled in the master’s programme Automotive Engineering at the Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg.

Argyros from Greece © Hanisch/DAAD
Argyros from Greece . © Hanisch/DAAD

Why did you decide to study in Cottbus?

For one thing, I liked the degree programme. It offered exactly what I wanted to study. I also wanted to study in a small town – quiet, inexpensive and short distances.

What should students who plan on coming to Germany do before departing?

First, you have to make sure that you have someone who can support you financially – in my case, it’s my family. The second thing is the German language – you have to achieve a certain level of proficiency in German.

How did you find your accommodation? Do you have advice for others who are looking for an apartment?

Here in Cottbus, it’s not hard to find accommodation. I lived in a guest house during my first four months here, and then I received a room in a residence hall from the Studentenwerk. It’s inexpensive and fine. I’m happy with it.

What was the hardest thing for you when you first arrived in Germany? And how did you deal with it?

Well I can’t say I had any terrible difficulties. I had some language problems in the beginning, and then this insecurity I felt because I didn’t know if everything would work out. I come from a country where we’ve gone through an especially difficult crisis in recent years, and I had to start my life over again. I wasn’t sure whether it would work with the language, whether I’d even be able to pass a test or gain admission to university. Besides that, everything was fine.

How are you doing with speaking German every day and at the university?

Since I’ve been here three and a half years now, I don’t have any particular problems. I can understand practically everything. Of course, I can’t always express myself very well, but otherwise everything’s going alright.

What do you like best about Cottbus? What’s your secret tip or favourite place in Cottbus and why?

There’s a very pretty area along the river where you can take walks – the Goethe Park. It’s very beautiful. I like the nature here, especially during those months when everything’s green. What I like the most is the fact that I can do things quickly. For example, it only takes me three minutes to get from home to my lecture. I can do my errands on the way.

What’s a good way of meeting other students?

Everybody’s different. I think I’m an open-minded person and I find it easy to meet new people. I’ve also met lots of people in my courses. And going to parties. There are lots of parties here every week.