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Wismar: Deep breath of sea air

Wismar is a small city with many medieval buildings. Located directly at the sea, it offers a wide range of recreational activities. The Hanseatic town is full of vitality – thanks in large part to its many students.

by Corinna Schlun

Nikolai Church © Corinna Schlun
Nikolai Church . © Corinna Schlun

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
42,468
Students:
8,645
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
274 €
Tip:
A trip to the beach in Wismar.
Website:
www.wismar.de

Welcome to Wismar

Using the slogan "Mit allen Wassern gewaschen", which roughly means “well-versed in every trick of the trade”, the University of Applied Sciences in Wismar draws students to this quaint city by the Baltic Sea. But the play on the word "Wasser" (water) not only alludes to the reputation of the university, but also its proximity to the sea. After all, if you study in Wismar, you’re studying directly at the Baltic Sea.

The city is perhaps most beautiful during the summer months. You can take your bike to Wendorf, a village two kilometres away. That’s a good place to take a dip. You can relax in the shallow water, take a long walk down the beach, or find a quiet place to study for your next exam.

The “Wasserkunst” well-house © Corinna Schlun
The “Wasserkunst” well-house . © Corinna Schlun

Downtown Wismar is another big highlight. The historic city centre is well preserved and contains a number of gabled houses dating back to the Middle Ages. But you’ll also find Renaissance period buildings like the “Wismarer Wasserkunst”, a historic well-house, and Baroque buildings, like the “Alter Schwede” manor house on the marketplace – the largest marketplace in northern Germany.

In 2002, Wismar’s historic city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means the historic downtown is specially protected as a cultural landmark.

Living in Wismar

Many students live near the campus. This is where you can find a flat-share (WG) or a one-person apartment. But since everyone likes living there, the rental costs are a bit higher than outside of town. You’ll find that rents are less expensive if you live in the outer districts. To get to the university, we recommend taking your bike or using public transportation. There are numerous websites with listings of suitable accommodation. The Studentenwerk generally offers two-person and four-person flat-shares (WGs) located close to campus.

My advice

You should go to the shore in Wismar when you want to prepare for classes or just have fun with your friends.

In addition to the seashore, Wismars character is strongly defined by its various harbours. For example, you can visit the Seehafen(seaport), the historischer Hafen(historical harbour) and the Jachthäfen(marinas). When you have some free time between classes, you can go sit at the harbour and watch the huge freight cranes at work. And once in a while, a cruise ship makes a port call.

Around the harbour youre sure to find several bars advertising student-friendly offers. For example, there’s the “Kai-Bar” which has reasonable prices and a large selection of beverages. You can also go dancing there at the weekends when the bar becomes a dance club. Another place worth checking out is the Irish pub Der Schlauch, located next to the Kai-Bar.

Impressive half-timbered houses downtown © Corinna Schlun
Impressive half-timbered houses downtown . © Corinna Schlun

There are a lot of places to have fun in Wismar. Students like going to parties hosted by the student club “Block 17 e. V.” which has been throwing parties for students since 1969. The club also organises pub quizzes and game nights.

The highlight of every year, however, is the “Campus Open Air Wismar”, organised by the General Students’ Committee (AStA). It takes place at the first weekend of the winter term – a perfect way to kick off the semester. On this day, newly enrolled and current students and professors dance to music by a number of famous German bands and singers who are invited each year.

Interview with Emin from Russia

Emin Onur Demircan is 33 years old and comes from Russia. He is pursuing a master’s degree in Architecture and Environmental Studies in Wismar.

Emin Onur Demircan © private
Emin Onur Demircan . © private

Why did you decide to study in Wismar?

I got my first master’s degree in Architecture and Environmental Studies at the WINGS Distance Learning University in Wismar. That programme got me interested in Wismar because it’s small, peaceful and cheaper here than in other cities.

How did you find a place to stay? Do you have any advice for students looking for accommodation?

During my first few weeks here, I lived at a hotel. While I was there, I contacted the International Office at the university. They advised me to contact the Studentenwerk Rostock which is responsible for assigning flats in Wismar. They were able to help me. A piece of advice: If you want to live and study in Wismar, start looking for accommodation early.

What has been the most surprising thing about life in Wismar?

I was very surprised at how many Russians live in Wismar. I was also surprised that all of the stores are closed on holidays.

What are your plans after graduation? Can you imagine staying here in Germany?

Right now my goal is to find a job in Germany so that I can stay. Living in Germany is easy, peaceful and comfortable, so that's why I’d like to stay.

One of the oldest brick buildings  © Corinna Schlun
One of the oldest brick buildings . © Corinna Schlun

What is the best way to come in contact with other students?

The best way to get to know students is to attend classes, go to parties and other social events. Or you can go to a bar – it’s easy to meet people there, too.

What do you like best about Wismar? Do you have any secret or favourite spots in Wismar?

I love the nature, the peace and quiet here in Wismar. The people are friendly and smile at one another.

Complete the sentence “For me, studying in Germany ...”

...means learning qualitative things that I’ve come to understand in the German education system.