Welcome to LMU!
A new semester begins, and it will be the first for thousands of students, many of whom come from abroad. Indeed, of the approximately 9000 individuals who have registered for the Winter Semester 2019/20, no less than 18% are international students.
In fact, Welcome Day for international students has already taken place. The booths and information desks set up in the Atrium of LMU’s Main Building by organizations, such as the Students Representative Council and the University Sports Center, were particularly popular. Their customers were eager to learn how to register for sports classes, how to manage complicated schedules – and many wanted to know where the next party would be.
In the midst of it all, Barbara Habermann from the International Office – looking perfectly relaxed – talks about her work. “On International Day, the primary commodity on offer is orientation,” she said. “By informing new arrivals about the full range of our services, we hope to provide them with a point of reference, and make them aware of the many possibilities they open up. But our first task is to assure them that they are not alone.” Based on her experience, she says that making friends and learning to navigate in the new environment are the most important elements of the acclimatization process.
Most of the international degree students that come to LMU are from China, while the largest group of Erasmus exchange students comes from Italy. Having arrived in Munich over the past few weeks, the newcomers have found a place to stay and are now looking forward to getting down to work.
“We’re always ready to help, and can solve almost any problem!”
Grégoire is one of them. He comes from Normandy and will spend two semesters here, studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Biology. “I set my heart on spending my Erasmus year in Germany because I wanted to improve my German,” he says with a laugh, before adding something about “plunging into a mass of German”. Vera, who is from Hungary, agrees with this sentiment, but she is more forthcoming. “I wanted to experience new cultures,” she says. “But I also wanted to be on my own, to be dependent on my own resources. My real goal is to return from my Erasmus year as a better person.”
Barbara Habermann has one other important message to impart to this latest crop of international students: “Virtually every student who has taken part in the Erasmus Exchange Program regards their time abroad as the most rewarding experience they have ever had. So my advice to all new arrivals is to make the most of their time here. Please don’t lose heart if things don’t run as smoothly as you would wish in the early phase. We’re ready to help at all times, and we can find a solution for – almost – every problem!” And Grégoire has a tip for those who stayed at home: “Take the plunge and fill out the application form! Erasmus is a terrific opportunity – to travel and get to know lots of exciting people. I’m just beginning, but I’m convinced that I will have a great time.”
Online International Student Guide
For useful tips on how to plan your workload for the new semester and how to find your way to and around LMU’s various campuses, as well as detailed information on the range of services available can be found online in LMU’s International Student Guide.
#lmumünchen during your first week at LMU
On Instagram there are two stories devoted to this week’s Semester Start. On Wednesday, for those who already know a bit of German, we have a story quiz that provides further background on LMU. Then on Friday it’s your turn to let us know how you experienced your first week on campus. And check out LMU's Takeover Channel which has a feature on the university’s Mentoring Program and focuses specifically on what new students need to know to successfully negotiate their first (and second...) semesters.