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Wiesbaden: Healing waters and A Vibrant culture

Are you looking for a large city with lots of history, magnificent architecture, greens and parks and quaint cafés? Then come to Wiesbaden, the Hessian state capital. They even have mineral springs in which you can bathe and sip their healing waters.

by Sophie Nagel

Market place © Nagel/DAAD
Market place . © Nagel/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
269,121
Students:
15,101
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
203€ - 423€
Tip:
Cool off in the shade of the trees along the Salzbach!
Website:
www.wiesbaden.de

Welcome to Wiesbaden

Wiesbaden is situated on the Rhine River, west of Frankfurt in the state of Hesse. Despite its large size, it’s a very beautiful, cosy city with lots of art and nature. There are still many buildings in town which predate 1914. The most prominent landmarks are the Market Church, the city hall and the market fountain. Once you’ve found your way here, you’ve made it to the middle of Wiesbaden’s quaint historic district. Residents call the area the “Schiffchen” because when viewed from above, one notices that the streets are arranged in the shape of a boat. The Kurpark, the Neroberg and the Rhine promenade are popular places to rest and relax.

Cuckoo clock © Nagel/DAAD
Cuckoo clock . © Nagel/DAAD

In walking distance, you can visit the largest cuckoo clock in the world, from which a cuckoo appears every half hour when the bells chime. Wiesbaden is one of the oldest resort towns in Europe with fifteen thermal and mineral springs. If you’re interested in finding out what these “healing waters” taste like, you can try a cup at the famous Kochbrunnen, one of the oldest known thermal springs.

Marketplace with the state parliament of Hesse © Nagel/DAAD
Marktplatz with the state parliament of Hesse . © Nagel/DAAD

Many creative people work in Wiesbaden. Consequently, the Communication Design working group was established in 2007 to publicise the activities of the creative agencies in town. The “Coworking Space und Café” Heimathafen is a great place to meet people who work in this field. The company rents out space to creative minds, freelancers and knowledge workers, and offers them a place to drink coffee and network. They occasionally hold concerts there and once a month stage an event called “Donnerstalk” to brainstorm new ideas with likeminded colleagues.

More photos

Living in Wiesbaden

The most popular residential areas for students are the downtown district, the Rheingau quarter and the Westend because of their relatively inexpensive rental prices. Some students commute to Wiesbaden every day from Mainz. If you want to live in one of the three student residence halls in Wiesbaden, you should start applying for a room at least four months before the semester starts. And though there are some pretty steep hills awaiting you, we recommend buying a used bike which you can use for getting to classes and going out.

Café Klatsch © Nagel/DAAD
Café Klatsch . © Nagel/DAAD

After a day of classes, you can spend your evenings at one of many popular cafés like the Westendcafé and Café Klatsch. Downtown you’ll also find tapas bars, cafés and bistros, traditional German restaurants, quaint wine pubs and an Italian pizza house. If you’re a vegetarian, you can try out Manik Veggie Café at Michelsberg. Across the street, Die Waffel serves authentic Afghan cuisine.

My tip

After taking a relaxing stroll through the Kurpark, cool off in the shade of the trees along the Salzbach.

Wiesbaden has a wide variety of clubs and discos to choose from, especially downtown. The Litfasssäule is particularly popular among students. Parties and more await you at the Kulturpalast. And there’s always something going on at the Schlachthof behind the main train station, such as concerts of various musical styles, flea markets and movie nights. Every August, this cultural hub becomes the venue of the Folklore Festival. If you like improv theatre and poetry slams, the stage is yours every Tuesday at Das Wohnzimmer on Schwalbacherstrasse. And if nightlife in Wiesbaden doesn’t offer you enough, then you’re sure to find a more colourful selection of cultural events in Mainz – only fifteen minutes away by train – or you can even spend the evening in Frankfurt.

Schlachthof © Nagel/DAAD
Schlachthof . © Nagel/DAAD

There’s also a lot to do in the surrounding region. The International Office at the university regularly organises excursions for new students. They offer trips to the wine region of the Rheingau, Taunus and the neighbouring city of Mainz. You should definitely take the Frankfurt tour with the “Ebbelwoi Express”. By the way, “Ebbelwoi“ (apple wine) is to Hesse like butter is to bread!

If you enjoy climbing to dizzying heights, you should check out the Kletterwald. The university sport programme offers students many opportunities to cultivate their hobbies while staying fit. Students in Wiesbaden are even allowed to participate in the sport programme at the University of Mainz. And when the weather gets hot, we recommend taking a trip out of town to the cool banks of the Rhine River’s Schiersteiner Strand.

Interview with Hai Ly from Vietnam

Hai Ly Ta is 23 years old and is a second-semester student in the degree programme Social Work at the Rhine-Main University of Applied Sciences.

Hai Ly from Vietnam © private
Hai Ly from Vietnam . © private

Why did you decide to study in Wiesbaden?

When I first came to Germany in 2012, I attended a foundation course in Darmstadt. After that I worked at a volunteer centre in Wiesbaden for several months. That’s how I hit upon the idea of studying Social Work. I wanted to study in Wiesbaden because I had made friends at my workplace. Right now I’m living in Mainz. I still work as a volunteer at a senior citizen’s centre there.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

I had already studied German at the University of Hanoi in my home country and then I applied for a place in the foundation course. Naturally there were some formalities I had to clarify first.

What was the hardest thing about living in Germany for you in the beginning? And how did you deal with it?

The hardest thing at first was the language barrier. I had difficulties understanding the lectures and making social contacts. I was nervous talking to other students. I would have simply had to practice more often.

Thanks to my volunteer work, I became much more open and communicative. I felt happy I could help others which motivated me to speak more German. I think working with others is one of my personal strengths.

How did you find your accommodation? Do you have any advice to students looking for an apartment?

I found my present room through the internet. I was lucky to receive confirmation from the landlord in just five days. But it also depends on how much rent you can afford. The best accommodation for students, in my opinion, is a room in a student residence hall. You can always find notices around campus with offers for rooms.

How do you finance your studies and life in Germany?

Along with the support I get from my parents, I work at a Thai restaurant in the semester holidays and during the semesters I work two days a week at a childcare centre in Mainz.

Complete the following sentence: “For me, studying in Germany is…”

an unforgettable memory with which I associate many feelings, like homesickness, happiness and loneliness, but also a time I could make many international friends and experience wonderful things.

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