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Halle: Haven of peace close to a big city

Halle has a stylish town centre, plenty of green areas and numerous narrow streets where the architecture from several epochs has been preserved. There are lots of nice spots along the river Saale which runs through the town. Low rent and the proximity to the city of Leipzig make Halle a great place to study in.

by the Editors

Market square and Glockenturm © DAAD
Market square and Glockenturm . © DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
229,153
Students:
20,407
Universities:
3
Monthly rent:
268 €
Tip:
Meet new people at the Peissnitz Island!
Website:
www.halle.de

Welcome to Halle

Halle is a relatively small town, but this doesn't mean it's a dull or rural town. On the contrary, you'll feel like you're on a huge university campus here. The various university institutes and libraries are spread all over town.

Halle is the home of one of the oldest universities in Germany, the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, which was founded in 1502. The Weinberg Campus is an important technology and start-up centre in eastern Germany. The Francke Foundation, which were established in 1698 as a welfare and educational organisation, are today a centre of social-humanist education in Germany. The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, one of the world's oldest scientific academies, is also based in Halle.

Handel statue © DAAD
Handel statue . © DAAD

In addition to university institutes, the town also boasts museums and music schools. Halle has the first Beatles Museum in the world! And at the Halloren World of Chocolates you can create your own delicious sweets. The Long Museum Night and the Long Science Night are great opportunities to explore the museums in a relaxed atmosphere. Halle is heavily influenced by many different art and cultural projects. Composer George Frideric Handel came from Halle. Traditional festivals, such as the Handel Festival ("Händelfestspiele"), frequently takes place in his honour.

Giebichenstein castle on the Saale River © DAAD
Giebichenstein castle on the Saale River . © DAAD

Halle became a wealthy town as a result of the salt trade. The preserved ramparts of the medieval castle give Halle its historical ambience. Other town landmarks include "Unserer Lieben Frauen" and the "Roter Turm", a free-standing bell tower. Narrow alleyways wind through the town. In addition to the restored town centre, the surrounding districts all add to Halle's charm. In the Paulusviertel, a student district, you'll find the kind of villas and houses that have long since been torn down in many other towns in Germany.

Living in Halle

Halle is an ideal place to study in because the town is relatively small. You can cycle almost everywhere. And rent prices are below the German average.

In the summer months, life in Halle takes place on the streets. The pub-lined Ulrichstrasse is especially popular. The café "Roter Horizont" serves delicious hot beverages, such as hot chocolate flavoured with chilli or coconut and cinnamon. Among the rows of houses in the Paulusviertel, cosy bars have established themselves. Here, you can get together with fellow students in a homely living-room atmosphere. Relaxing in the armchairs or sofas at "Colonne Morris", you feel almost like you're in your own home.

Uniplatz © DAAD
Uniplatz . © DAAD

Just a few minutes from Uniplatz is the start of Peissnitz Island. This is where the rivers Saale and Saline flow. Several kilometres long, this expansive park is one of the most popular meeting points for students. It's just the right place for sporting activities, studying, barbecuing and meeting new people. Lots of young people hang out here on the lawns in the evenings.

One thing that can be said about the nightlife here is that it's cheap! If you like listening to live music, you definitely have to stop off at "Kaffeeschuppen" and "Objekt 5", which regularly host jazz gigs and jamming sessions. The student club "Turm" in the historical ruins of the Moritzburg, is especially popular among younger students.

My tip

If you want to get to know new people, the Peissnitz Island is an ideal place!

One annual highlight is the final semester party of the art and design students. Burg Giebichenstein and the Design-Campus then turn into one huge party zone where everyone dances outdoors until dawn.

There are also several nice spots within the town on the banks of the river Saale where you can relax and unwind. At Hufeisensee, you'll feel like you're in the middle of the country. You can get to the lake from Marktplatz in just 15 minutes by public transport. And it's just a 20-minute train ride to Leipzig, a buzzing university city.

Interview with Carmen from El Salvador

Carmen Irene González Menéndez from El Salvador is 27 years old and studying for her Master's degree in General and Comparative Literature/Vocational Linguistics in an Intercultural Context in Halle.

Picture of Carmen from El Salvador © Thomas Nauhaus
Carmen from El Salvador . © Thomas Nauhaus

Why is Halle a good place to study in?

Halle University offers the kind of conditions that are becoming more and more difficult to find. Both lecturers and most employees in administration and examination authorities are flexible enough to make exceptions and take into account personal circumstances. For international students, it's obviously advantageous if lecturers and university staff have enough time and can advise them properly. In Halle, there are lots of ways for students to get involved in political and social activities, something that is valued less and less but which is still an integral part of studying.

How did you find your accommodation? Do you have any advice about finding a room in Halle?

I found my first room through friends of my former host family. Later on I found my own room in shared accommodation. It's a good idea to book a bed in a youth hostel or use platforms such as Couchsurfing, where you can get accommodation for free. It's then easier to look for accommodation once you're here.

How can you save money as a student in Germany?

One good way of saving money is to use the internet platform for car-share opportunities. You can save money if you're flexible in terms of time.

Peissnitz Island © Jwaller/wikicommons
Peissnitz Island . © Jwaller/wikicommons

What do you like best about Halle? What is your favourite spot in the town? And why?

There's a very nice, laid-back atmosphere in Halle. And the town has many green areas. One of my favourite spots is the August-Bebel-Platz. It's actually a fairly unremarkable public area with benches, a small lawn and a fountain. But it's really interesting to watch what goes on there: mothers with buggies, children playing, students lying on the grass, older people stroll around the square with dogs. You can sometimes see some very funny everyday situations here.

What's the best way to get to know other students when you've just arrived in Halle?

As already mentioned, there are numerous citizen action groups, associations and student organisations in Halle, which you can get involved in. Voluntary work is a really useful way of coming into contact with people, because the kind of people who work there are usually friendly and open-minded.

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