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Pforzheim: Green city with a sunny disposition

The historic city of Pforzheim is situated in the scenic region of southern Germany. Although it proudly looks back on a long history, Pforzheim welcomes progress and innovation. International students can expect to find a vibrant culture and successful industry.

by Marlene Bauz

In the Stadtgarten © Marlene Bauz
In the Stadtgarten . © Marlene Bauz

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
114,411
Students:
6,032
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
327 €
Tip:
A summertime movie night at the Kulturhaus Osterfeld.
Website:
www.pforzheim.de/en

Welcome to Pforzheim

Situated in the sunny region of southern Germany, Pforzheim is city brimming with vitality. It offers many recreational activities and its residents frequently celebrate their local culture. Once you live here, you will quickly share their enthusiasm for Pforzheim, too. Surrounded by green hills, there are three rivers that flow through town. When the weather’s nice, the nature draws people out of their offices and lecture halls and onto picnic blankets and park benches.

The Sparkassenturm © Marlene Bauz
The Sparkassenturm . © Marlene Bauz

On a walk through the city, you will quickly notice that both tradition and modern life play an important role in Pforzheim. In the pedestrian zone, which is the main shopping street in Pforzheim, you’ll find the Sparkassenturm. It’s a modern office building which “stands guard” over downtown Pforzheim. Right next to it is the Industriehaus Pforzheim, a historic building and one of the few which was not destroyed in World War II (1939-1945).

In some parts of the city, you can still notice how the war influenced the development of Pforzheim. For example, the Wallberg used to be a smaller mountain, but was elevated to 417 metres after the war with tons of rubble from the destroyed city. You will find large pillars atop the hill showing photos of what Pforzheim looked like before and after the war.

The Industriehaus Pforzheim in the pedestrian zone © Marlene Bauz
The Industriehaus Pforzheim in the pedestrian zone . © Marlene Bauz

You might hear people refer to Pforzheim by its nickname: “Goldstadt”, meaning “Gold City”. The name refers to its historic tradition of jewellery making. Even today, Pforzheim and the surrounding region are home to numerous companies which produce watches and jewellery.

Living in Pforzheim

The cultural scene in Pforzheim is very dynamic and offers events and activities you shouldn’t miss. The Kulturhaus Osterfeld is well-known throughout the region and stages concerts, exhibitions and plays. You can also sign up for dance and singing courses there.

My advice

Every summer the Kulturhaus Osterfeld shows popular films in its inner courtyard. Enjoy the summer evening with popcorn under the starry sky!

If you’d like to learn more about the local culture, you should pay a visit to the Pforzheim Jewellery Museum. Not only is the exhibition on the jewellery- and watch-making industry in Pforzheim fascinating, the museum’s architecture itself is worth seeing. It’s called the “Reuchlinhaus” and is an outstanding example of the architectural style of many buildings constructed in the post-war era.

The Industriehaus Pforzheim in the pedestrian zone © Marlene Bauz
The Industriehaus Pforzheim in the pedestrian zone . © Marlene Bauz

The Stadtgarten, a park on the Nagold River with benches and bright flower patches, is situated directly next to the Jewellery Museum. When it gets warm, you’ll see kids playing in the fountain and people relaxing in the shade of the trees. But even in bad weather, the inhabitants of Pforzheim are prepared: the art-house cinema Kommunale Kino Pforzheim shows different movies every day and particularly features German and European film productions.

As a true resident of Pforzheim, you will have to go to the annual Oechsle Festival at least once. The festival is named after Christian Ferdinand Oechsle, a former resident of Pforzheim and the inventor of a method to measure the alcohol content of wine. Held at the end of August on the marketplace, the festival offers you a great opportunity to try out traditional cuisine and wines from the region.

Interview with Vlada from Ukraine

Vlada Lytvynenko is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing at the University of Applied Sciences in Pforzheim. She comes from Ukraine and is 27 years old.

Vlada from Ukraine © Lytvynenko
Vlada from Ukraine . © Lytvynenko

Why did you decide to study in Pforzheim?

I had studied English and German Studies in Ukraine, after that I worked for three years, and then I wanted to learn something new. I sat down with my husband and thought about Germany. It’s a country with a low cost of living, yet still offers high-quality education, and what’s more, we both had prior knowledge of German.

Then we checked out the business school rankings. Pforzheim was one of the best-ranked universities in Germany. Then I contacted students in Pforzheim via social networks and I also wrote to the university. Everyone was very nice, and that’s why we immediately chose Pforzheim.

Did you make any preparations before leaving home?

Yes, the language, of course! You really, really have to learn the language. We learned German for almost two years and then took the TestDaF. We also saved up money and looked for accommodation. That didn’t work out so well, but at least we got an idea about the monthly rental costs and how much the utilities would be.

What was the hardest thing for you in the beginning?

Understanding the Swabian dialect! It’s still the hardest thing for me, but then you simply have to ask people to speak slower. In my degree programme, the hardest thing is that all the definitions, like in Math, are a little bit different in German than in English or Ukrainian. You just have to learn them.

You work part-time at the International Office at the University of Applied Sciences in Pforzheim. How did you get that job?

I saw an advertisement on the “Schwarzes Brett” at the dining hall and applied. They also have an online job portal for students, so I also looked there.

At the Enzauenpark © Marlene Bauz
At the Enzauenpark . © Marlene Bauz

What do you like best about Pforzheim?

There’s a lot of nature here, and I just love the Black Forest. We also have the Enzauenpark where you can really relax when things get stressful at the university. You can just lie down and sometimes even fall asleep (laughs). There are also many thermal springs in the area, for example, in Bad Liebenzell. I definitely recommend going there!

Please complete the following sentence: “For me, studying in Germany is ...”

... a big challenge, but also a lot of fun and a chance to improve myself.

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