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Stralsund: Study where others take their holidays

Seagulls swooping overhead, boats in the harbour and the scent of the salty sea air. Are you looking for adventure and relaxation? Interested in sailing, fish sandwiches and the oldest harbour pub in all of Europe? Then Stralsund is the place for you!

by Sophie Nagel

The big, wide world seems so close when you’re standing at the harbour watching the ships come in © Sophie Nagel
The big, wide world seems so close when you’re standing at the harbour watching the ships come in . © Sophie Nagel

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
56.729
Students:
2.240
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
274 €
Tip:
A walk along the beach. The campus is very close to the seashore.
Website:
www.stralsund.de

Welcome to Stralsund

The Hanseatic town of Stralsund is located in north-eastern Germany close to the border of Poland. Its historic centre with its beautiful redbrick Gothic buildings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even though it might not be as busy as Hamburg or other big port cities, you definitely won’t feel bored in Stralsund because there are so many things you can do. Above all, you can enjoy life on the coast of the Baltic Sea.

The sail training ship “Gorch Fock” © Sophie Nagel
The sail training ship “Gorch Fock” . © Sophie Nagel

Stralsund is often called the “Gate to Rügen Island” because it lies so close to Germany’s largest island. Many Germans like spending their holidays at the sea, and that’s why Stralsund is such a popular tourist destination. In addition to tourism, shipbuilding and heavy machinery are important industries for the city’s economy. Furthermore, the Gorch Fock 1 sail training ship is docked in the harbour of Stralsund and is open to visitors every day.

Downtown you’ll discover some of the widely known landmarks of Stralsund, including the “Alter Markt” (Old Market), St. Nicholas’ Church and the town hall with its famous gallery passageway. You will discover a diverse ensemble of historical buildings on the Alter Markt including numerous merchant houses, churches, alleyways and quaint squares. Out of a total of 800 historical landmarks in Stralsund, more than 500 are located in the historic city centre. The Kniepertor and the Kütertor are the only parts of the city’s medieval fortifications that still exist today.

The historic downtown of Stralsund © Florian Braatz
The historic downtown of Stralsund . © Florian Braatz

The recently renovated Museumshaus on Mönchstrasse is one of the most exquisitely preserved townhouses of the Hanseatic era in all of northern Europe. There you can experience the eventful history of Stralsund over the past seven centuries.

Living in Stralsund

If you haven’t already met some nice students at your student hall of residence on campus, the university’s “Buddy Programme” will definitely help you make new acquaintances. At the beginning of the semester, they organise a city rally, for example, to help you become familiar with your new home and its inhabitants. The university can also accompany you to the authorities and help you take care of bureaucratic formalities. In addition to organised excursions, the University also offers students the chance to try out many different types of sports. Dragonboating, sailing, volleyball? Just show up and join in!

My advice

When the weather is really nice, buy yourself a delicious snack at the cafeteria “ins grüne” and head down to the seashore. A long sandy beach is waiting for you. There you can take a relaxing walk, gaze out over the water and leave your university stress behind.

A good place to hang out and get to know people is the campus bar “Haus 8” which takes place every Thursday. From there, you and your friends can go out and spend a night on the town. In addition to the Hafenfest, the Wallenstein Festival is an exciting event you really shouldn’t miss if you want to experience the culture of Stralsund. But aside from such festivities, there is plenty to do and discover during the day and night in town.

The harbour pub “Zur Fähre” is one of the oldest in Europe. There you can drink a real German beer with your new friends. And if you want to go down to the harbour, stop by “Anja’s” kiosk and try out a fish sandwich. If you want to have lunch, a great place to eat is the “Burgermeister” at the Alter Markt. They serve home-made burgers with sweet-potato fries and fresh garlic mayonnaise. You can also find some good snacks at the “Schnittchenfabrik” and vegan pastries at “Coffifee” on Fährstrasse.

As someone living near the sea, you should probably visit the old Meeresmuseum (maritime museum) on Mönchstrasse. Inside you can see a 15-metre skeleton of a fin whale. They also have exhibits of whales and dolphins. The OZEANEUM is newer and larger and contains octopuses, penguins and numerous aquariums.

St. John’s Monastery © Sophie Nagel
St. John’s Monastery . © Sophie Nagel

If you’re at the Alter Markt and head towards Seestrasse, you’ll likely pass St. John’s Monastery. It was built in 1254 AD and now is home to the city’s archive. It also serves as a venue for regular open-air theatre performances. A few metres further at Olof-Palme-Platz, you’ll see the Theater Vorpommern which stages operas, concerts and plays

Interview with Kan Ming “Owen” Lee from Hong Kong

Kan Ming Lee is 22 years old and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Management Studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Stralsund.

Kan Ming Lee aus Hong Kong © Florian Braatz
Kan Ming Lee aus Hong Kong . © Florian Braatz

Why did you decide to study in Stralsund?

When I came to Germany in 2014, my plan was to take a German course and then go to Bochum to study East Asian Politics. But then I decided it would be better to study something completely different. I didn’t know anything about the Baltic coast and, as you might expect, I was able to expand my horizons here quickly.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

I was already interested in studying in Germany when I graduated from secondary school. I found the DAAD homepage very helpful for getting information about funding programmes. I had to fill out a few documents and apply for a visa.

What was difficult for you when you first arrived in Germany?

The language barrier – no question about it. Level A1 is not good enough for normal everyday life. I spoke very slowly, and luckily most people were very friendly to me. Unlike Hong Kong, Germans enjoy their life and like to take things slowly. In the beginning I was frustrated at how long things took. But now I’m also trying to slow down my life.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I'd very much like to become a politician, and that’s why I’m returning to Hong Kong. I believe that my experiences in Germany and my cultural knowledge will help me down the line. I’d like to take the good things I’ve seen in Germany and the Baltic countries and use them to create a better future in Hong Kong.

What do you like best about Stralsund?

I really enjoy taking walks through the historic city centre which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. I don't necessarily remember the names of the specific buildings or their historical background, but on my walks I imagine how people lived there long ago.

Facades on Alter Markt © Sophie Nagel
Facades on Alter Markt . © Sophie Nagel

Why is Stralsund a good place to study?

The motto of the university is: “Study where others take their holidays!” There’s something to make everyone happy. For people who like quiet moments, like I do, you can take a stroll down the historic streets or along the beach. You can experience silence and nature here. But if you’d rather go to parties and meet people, you can go to the campus bar. In the semester breaks, I definitely recommend taking a trip to the island of Rügen where you’ll find some of the most stunning landscapes in the world and fantastic sandy beaches.