Your Erasmus Guide to Bremen

StefanoErasmus, Europe, GermanyLeave a Comment

Erasmus guide to Bremen

So, you decided for Bremen. Well, I’m very happy for you! No better place to spend your Erasmus semester…and maybe a bit more. If you’re still decision-pending, this is your Erasmus guide to Bremen!

Of course, planning an Erasmus, though some people take it not so seriously, it’s not an easy task. Anyway, the fun overwhelms the difficulties.

I personally wrote this guide fresh of my 7-months Erasmus in Bremen. I will try to provide you with the best tips I can.

The very first step: have you already joined the Erasmus Bremen group on Facebook? If not, why? The guys behind organize amazing stuff, I swear, so you’d better stay updated.

I divided this Erasmus Guide to Bremen in paragraphs, reporting the most important steps you should follow

Find Accomodation

Well, this is the first thing we begin worrying about. I guess you’re not gonna sleep in a tent (I wouldn’t suggest it). Alright, where to start?

There are many options in Bremen. Being a university city, there are many residences and the University offers rooms and apartments at a subsidized price.

Residences:
  • THE FIZZ – Price: ca. 500/month for a studio flat, that means you have your room, a little kitchen and an en-suite bathroom.
  • GALILEO RESIDENZ – Price: 395 – 405//month + 10 high speed internet + option for parking space at 25. Very close to the university campus and a lot of institutes there (ZMT, MARUM, MPI, etc.). A deposit of 700 must be given, but you’ll have it back when you’ll move out. There are both studio flats and shared apartments with 2 rooms.
  • CAMPUS VIVA – From 473 all inclusive. 3 months rent for deposit. It is as well very close to the university campus.
  • STUDENTENWERK BREMEN – A good option, in my opinion surely better than student residences. Studentenwerk Bremen has a lot of apartments which are given to students with a concession, and you can rent a room from ca. 200 per month. The good thing is that you get a room in a shared flat (in German, Wohnung, abbreviated WG). If you do not enroll to the university, you can NOT access these flats. Get in touch with the international office of the University and have a look at what they currently offer clicking here. Enrolment + semesterticket and mensa contribution is around 300 euros.
Privates

When I first started to look for an accommodation, I googled something like ‘student room in Bremen’. Well, what comes out is a plethora of websites where you can find good and bad places.

The only website which I seriously used to seek a good house deal was WG-Gesucht. Even because it’s the only one offering an English version, and with German, ehm-ehm, I was not – and I’m still not – very skilled.

How to use it? I suggest to send loads of emails, not because you want to disturb the poor guys looking for a tenant, but just for a statistical matter: the more you send, the higher the chance to get one. Don’t be afraid of distances: Bremen is the bike-friendliest city I’ve ever been and public transport works quite good.

TIP! Sign up and make your own announcement. This trick works particularly well if you are late and the best deals are already gone. Don’t worry, as you are late, a lot of people wake up late to look for a flatmate! If they spot your ad, and if they like your profile (tip #2: be as flexible as you can! I’m not saying you must say you’re not vegan if you are, but a little lie can help), you’ll be directly contacted via the email you provide.

I actually found my fantastic room in this way, just 4 days before getting here. I had already booked a hostel!

Other websites you can use, in particular, if your German is advanced, are:

These two latter do not provide a lot of offers, and usually the few present are expensive.

And finally, the Erasmus group. Not only you’ll increase your chances to find a good place, but you’ll get a lot of information on upcoming events, bike sales and much more. I really found it useful.

TIP: Please, pay attention to SCAMS! People are awesome, yes, but many of them are assholes as well. With stolen facebook profiles they post ads for rooms and apartments at the very best conditions. You recognize them because they do not specify the price nor a precise address, and usually, they promise just everything, like:

‘Private Room with bathroom for rent in Bremen. It’s close to the bus stop, to supermarkets, to the university and all facilities, very good price, if you want more infos contact me via private message’

They will ask you for money or documents. Then, God knows how they manage to steal your profile and post fake advertisements. Again, WATCH OUT!

Get a Semesterticket

Now that you have found your wonderful accommodation (if still not, good luck!), the next step is enrolling in the university. This will provide you the semesterticket, a public transport pass that you can use to go around the Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) without paying anything more – it does mean Hamburg (that is not Niedersachsen), it does mean Hannover, Gottingen, and other cities! Not bad, even if you cannot take the fast trains. You’ll also have the right to pay the student price at the refectory, more commonly called mensa.

Get a Bike

Nope my friend, don’t be a lazy Erasmus guy and do some sport. Buy a bike and contribute to a lower carbon footprint! You’ll soon realize that the bike in Bremen is a MUST.

You can get a bike at the fleamarket or, once again, you can find many bikes for sale in the Erasmus group. Prices are according to your need, from €20 on!

Other chances are Bremen.de, Shpock (which works very well in Germany) or Ebay Kleinanzaigen.

Bremen is full of bicycle paths and in two days you will learn the traffic laws. All neighborhoods are easily reachable with this powerful means of transport. Be green!

Many day trips are available and you will see how lovely is riding the bike around the lake!

Biking around the lake

Biking around the lake

Learn the Language

Oh-oh. I’ll just say that: Toilettenbürstenbenutzungsanweisung.

What does it mean? Instruction for the proper use of the toilet brush. Do they really have only ONE word for that? YES, they have.

Well, if your goal is to meet just Erasmus people, it might not be the case to learn German.

My opinion is that when you’re living in a foreign country is always beautiful to learn at least some basics. This will help you in difficult situations, and German people are very happy if you try to speak their idiom – even if they will probably switch to English straightaway.

Of course, when you are IN the country is much easier to learn. So do not miss your chance.

German is a difficult language, furthermore if your idiom comes from Latin (that’s my case). If you are at the very beginning: Duolingo is a free tool to learn the basics in a funny way. Another one is Memrise, very methodical and focusing mainly on words. Anyway, I want to be clear: you won’t learn German here.

If you are kind of motivated, Babbel offers a good introduction to nearly everything (grammar, vocabulary, etc., with many lessons on different topics – for instance ‘at the restaurant’ or ‘at the doctor’) but you’ll need to pay for that.

I personally tried it for 6 months and at the end, I wish I had more time to practice. Once your subscription is over, you can still access the vocabulary section and refresh them from time to time.

TIP: if you subscribe to the website without buying any option, in two days they will send you an offer for 6 months at €19. You can probably afford it, and it really helps.

Of course, the university offers courses (click here).

Another way to learn German is doing a tandem with other people, be them native or not. For newbies: tandem means an exchange, you’ll teach your own language and the counterpart will do the same. It’s a FREE win-win! You can find a buddy in the Erasmus group, for example. The university is also offering a platform to find one.

TIP: Don’t give up, take action as soon as you arrive and let me know how you are improving! You can do learn German, but it will take a lot of work, practice and time!

Have Fun

Bremen has plenty of things to do. You can find here a list of 10 FREE things to do in this wonderful city. It’s beautiful parks, the canals everywhere and its peaceful neighborhoods are just waiting to be explored!

Many activities are organized all year round: beer fests, wine festival, the Haacke-Beck Badelinselregatta, the Freimarkt, fleamarkets all year round, Music festivals (Breminale über alles), and much more.
Check on Bremen.de and on Eventful typing Bremen. And if all this doesn’t satisfy you yet, you can always use your semesterticket and go around the region looking for fancy concerts – Hamburg is great for that.

Did I already tell you that there is a Ukulele orchestra?

The biggest student party is the Vorstrasse – Spittaler strasse fest.

Do some sport!

If you follow my advice, bike will be part of your work-out plan every day. But there is much more to do!

Do you like football? Join the fantastic Erasmus football team! You’ll have a LOT of fun…and even some beers.

The Hochschule Bremen offers a wide variety of sports, from fencing to kayaking and windsurf – have a look on Hosposport.

Eating & Drinking

Let’s mention a few places I really love to go.

Drinking

We are in Germany, so a beer the first day you’ll get here (and from that moment on at least twice a week) is like a duty. There are at least 5 breweries in Bremen. The most famous one is Beck’s; then Haacke-Beck, Union Brauerei, Hopfenfänger, Schuttinger, Schnoor Bräu and Hemelinger.

Eating
  • Schuttinger
  • Union Brauerei
  • Bremer Ratskeller
  • Lino (best pizza in town!)
  • Burrito place
  • Arabic
  • Edelweiss

Moving Around

I know you’ll fall in love with Bremen, but take the chance to explore Germany as well. Exploit your semesterticket as there’s no tomorrow.

Flixbus allows you to go almost everywhere in Germany and beyond, at a cheap fare. Busliniensuche helps to compare fares and to choose the dirty cheapest one.
Trains without semester ticket are quite expensive but if you constantly the Deutsche Bahn website you might step on some good discounts.

I personally went to Lubeck (and Travemunde), Frankfurt, Berlin, Bremerhaven, Gottingen, Hannover, Hamburg, for long or short weekends.

10 Free Things to Do in Bremen, Germany

Bremen has a lot to see in its surroundings as well. Fischerhude and Worpswede are two artist colonies worth a day trip off the city, easily reachable by bike.

Have you ever heard about a sweetcorn labyrinth? Well, just outside Bremen you can find that. Pay attention to mosquitos, though.

Yay, that’s all for now! If you have some ideas, suggestions, whatever you would like to add, simply add a comment. Ah, and like my Facebook page here! I hope you enjoyed reading this Erasmus Guide to Bremen.

The Erasmus is for many students a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and my greatest advice is to live every day as it was the last one. Don’t forget your university duty, though. This town is such beautiful you couldn’t make a bigger mistake not living it fully.

 

Stefano