Weingarten: "The Gateway to the Allgäu" – University life among lakes, mountains and forests
Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Do you like climbing, hiking or biking? Are you looking for a degree programme that combines both theory and practice? Then come to Weingarten in the south of Germany!
by Sophie Nagel
Facts & Figures
- Monthly rent:
- 327 €
- Take a trip to Veitsburg Castle and enjoy the view of the Alps and Lake Constance.
Welcome to Weingarten
Weingarten is located in the south-east corner of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany just a few kilometres away from Lake Constance. From Weingarten you can easily cross over the border into Austria or Switzerland. The closest neighbouring city is Ravensburg. The Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences was originally founded as an engineering school in Ravensburg. That’s why Ravensburg is in the name. But all of the courses offered at the university take place in Weingarten. The University of Education is also situated in Weingarten.
The city has a very cosy, small-town atmosphere which will help you feel right at home. On your first walk through the quaint historic downtown, you’ll soon discover some of Weingarten’s attractions. The best-known is certainly St. Martin’s Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery. You’ll see it perched high up on the "Martinsberg" north of the city centre. From there you can enjoy a great view of Weingarten. It’s quite a romantic setting, especially in the summer at sunset. Many locals refer to the abbey as the "Swabian St. Peter’s", because St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome was used as a model for the Baroque church, which is half the size of the Italian original. But even so, it holds the title as the largest Baroque church north of the Alps.
Several minutes away on foot, you’ll arrive at what residents endearingly call the Fruchtkasten, or "Fruit Box". Built in 1688, this castle-like building was once used as the town’s granary and wine cellar. Today the "Fruchkasten" serves as the library of the University of Education and the University of Applied Sciences.
Living in Weingarten
In contrast to the metropolitan centres of Munich and Stuttgart nearby, Weingarten is a quiet, peaceful town where you can easily master the challenges of daily life on foot or by bike. In the summer, you’ll see lots of people in the Stadtgarten (city park) relaxing in the sun, enjoying an ice-cream. The Café Museum on Karlstraße is located close by. There you can sit outside and watch the comings and goings of shoppers and tourists downtown.
On one of your days off, you should head over to Ravensburg which is only a few minutes away by bike or bus. Ravensburg is known as the "City of Towers". There’s the "Green Tower", the "Flour Tower" and many more... see for yourself! The view from Veitsburg Castle is especially pretty. From there you can see the Alps and, when the skies are clear, even Lake Constance.
If you decide to live in Weingarten, you will have to learn more about the "Plätzler". The "Plätzler Altdorf Weingarten Association" was founded in 1348. During "Fasnet" the members dress up in their typical red and white costumes. "Fasnet" is the celebration of Carnival that takes place every February or March, similar to "Karneval" or "Fasching" in other parts of Germany. The days of "Fasnet" mark the beginning of Lent – traditionally a period of fasting, six weeks before Easter. A one-of-a-kind event you shouldn’t miss. You can learn more about the history of "Fasnet" at the Fasnetsmuseum.
In addition to "Fasnet", Weingarten also hosts a huge event every year called the "Blutritt" featuring some two to three thousand horseriders in tailcoats and top hats parading through the city. The event, which takes place on the Friday after Ascension, is said to be the largest mounted procession in Europe. The riders are accompanied by some 80 marching bands and attract more than 30,000 tourists each year. A spectacle you have to see with your own eyes!
In your free time you can participate in a sports course offered by the University of Education. They offer a wide range of inexpensive courses, for example, in dancing, acrobatics, swimming, Filipino martial arts and ballet. Are you interested in meeting other students at an international cultural night or taking part in an excursion to Stuttgart or the Castle Hohenzollern? All you have to do is sign up at the International Office. Weingarten lies directly at the edge of Altdorf Forest. If you don’t have too much time, but need a breather, the forest is a safe place to take a walk under the trees.
Interview with Biplab from Nepal
Biplab Dhakal is 22 years old and is enrolled in the "Electrical Engineering and Information Technology" bachelor’s programme at the Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences.
Why did you decide to study in Weingarten?
The University of Weingarten offers a wide range of international and interdisciplinary courses. This, in combination with research, practical training and instruction, was exactly what I was looking for. What’s more, they offer an English-language bachelor’s programme in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.
How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?
Once I received my admission letter to study in Weingarten, I took a German course. That lasted three months. I tried to improve my German as much as I could. But I also knew a few students who were already studying here and who I could talk to.
What was the hardest thing for you in the beginning, and how did you deal with it?
It was the first time I left my family. At first, it was really hard for me. But after I had made a few friends in Weingarten, it got easier. The hardest thing for me was the winter which I really didn’t like in the beginning. After a while, I got used to it.
Has Weingarten met your expectations?
To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations to begin with. I wanted a good academic environment, as well as professors who were interested in supporting their students. And that’s what I found, and that’s why I’m very satisfied with my programme. The university is known for its strong practical orientation. Some of the professors used to work at companies, and that helps you learn to connect the theory with practical application.
How do you finance your living expenses in Germany?
My parents supported me financially during my first two semesters here. But now I work part-time. That’s what most students do here. You can often find job offers on the message boards at the university. Or you can ask at a café or the International Office if they need help. Of course, it’s good if you can speak German a little better.
Why is Weingarten a good place to study?
Weingarten is a small city full of many different kinds of people! Everyone I’ve met so far is very friendly. There’s also a lot of nature here. I really enjoy taking walks between classes. In Weingarten and the surrounding area you’ll find numerous thermal baths, and there’s even a water park at the outdoor swimming pools. I definitely recommend going there in the summer!
What’s the best way to get to know other students?
The university’s "Buddy Programme" is a great way to practice and improve your language skills. It makes it easier to approach people and talk to them. The university organises excursions for international students where you can get to know the area and your fellow students. We have two student pubs in Weingarten. Those are good places to meet people and practice your new language skills in conversation.