Studying at Jacobs means you live in Bremen, Germany, and that puts you in the center of Europe.
What do you do about this? Well – hopefully, you travel.
In most German universities, students are given ‘Semestertickets’ as a mean of traveling in their city and to surrounding cities. At Jacobs, we get a semester ticket that allows us to travel in Bremen on regular trains, buses and trams; we can also go to Hannover and Hamburg for free with the regular trains.
I imagine that the idea of the semester ticket is to encourage students to see other parts of the country or to reduce the burden of transportation fees. Either way, we are really given the freedom to travel and explore as often as we like in Bremen and to Hamburg or Hannover.
Just this past month, my roommate and I were able to go to Hamburg to see Alt-J and Hannover to see Milky Chance in concert. The only costs for those trips were the concert tickets; but if we had had to pay for the train rides – that would have made the trip way too expensive for our liking.
Further, the semester ticket is not only helpful in getting you to a specific destination, it is also very useful for getting you at least halfway to your specific destination. The semester ticket we have allows us to travel, for example, to Osnabrück for free, and from there to Amsterdam is just 20 euros.
Aside from the semestertickets, we often utilize cheaper airlines such as Ryanair, that take you just about anywhere in Europe for a relatively low price. Some other methods are to use Deutsche Bahn’s group prices (Schönenwochendeticket) that also set the price per person quite low; mitfahr or blablacar.com are other cheap ways of traveling far. It’s a system in which you simply ride in the car with someone headed to your destination and pay them a predetermined fee that is often also quite low.
Finally, with the flexibility of student life – we can also use airlines that employ a ‘blind booking’ system in which you pay roughly 50-60 euros for a flight to a destination that you only find out after you pay. You can of course choose from different lists of locations under different subjects (“Sun and Sand” or “Culture and Food”). This may sound rather terrifying to most people, but to students who are simply looking for a warm location for Spring Break – it can be extremely useful and relatively low-cost.
These are just some of the ways that my friends and I have discovered in our efforts to travel.
Since I moved to Bremen a year and a half ago, I’ve been able to visit:
Paris in the Winter of 2014 – during the winter break of my first year, my good friend and I decided to head over to Paris to visit my aunt for a week. Bremen to Paris with train took us roughly 8 hours, and it cost us about 90 euros one-way. In Paris, we mostly stood in line for museums, ate snails in a fancy boat, looked at pretentious art and marveled at the Eiffel tower.
Brussels in the Winter of 2014 – I was also lucky enough to get into the Brussels Intersession course on the European Union. I was able then to travel with a group of Jacobs students to Belgium for roughly 10 days for an interesting course. We also, of course, did a lot of sight-seeing and waffle-eating. This trip was also a foundation-and-school-sponsored trip so we had to only contribute around 50 euros.
Amsterdam in the Spring Break of 2014 – I went to Amsterdam with three friends for a week. The semester ticket that we get from Jacobs allows us to go till Osnabrück for free, as I mentioned – then from there till Amsterdam is quite a short and inexpensive way. We spent the week lounging in the huge park, greeting ducks, eating Chinese food and exploring the many, many strange/unique characteristics of Amsterdam.
London in the Fall of 2014 – I was able to head over to London for a trip for Admissions to attend the Student World Fairs in London and Leeds. I was also able to visit good friends and do some sight-seeing (red buses, Big Ben, tea and crumpets, British accents, and the London Eye, etc..) during my time in the UK.
Alicante in the Spring Break of 2015 – as I write this post, I’m sitting in my grandparents’ house in the south coast of Spain between the cities of Alicante and Malaga. With Ryanair, I was able to get from Bremen to Alicante in just two and a half hours. I’ve spent this week swimming in the pool, swimming by the beach, swimming by the river – generally a lot of swimming, as well as meeting lots of relatives, pettings dogs, feeding turtles and eating paella.
Overall – my point is that living in Bremen makes it super easy to go places, and as a student – there aren’t many responsibilities to keep in track (pets, kids, 9 to 5 jobs, houses, gardeners, electricity bills, taxes, and other adult responsibilities) so it really is a prime time to venture out.