Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1.  Courses! KU Eichstätt’s history program offers a variety of intriguing courses that highlight modern European history, with particularly fascinating courses about Germany following World War II. With access to thought-provoking sources, students are able to interact with the material in different ways and explore firsthand the implications of their studies in Germany today.

  2. Nature! Bavaria’s natural setting, especially in the summer months, cannot be understated. Students take advantage of the wonderful scenery to study together in the gardens beside campus or hike up one of the nearby hills to read in a calm and distraction-free environment. In between studying and classes, taking a walk on one of the many walking/hiking paths is one of my favorite pastimes. On the weekends, venturing up on the hills for a stunning view of the city, particularly in the evening, is a climb worth making.

  3. Historic Germany! Interacting with regional and national history is a personal adventure that is by no means restricted by Eichstätt’s size. The city itself is deeply characterized by its long history, from the remarkable building of the Sommerresidenz to the wall that still runs through parts of the city. Beyond Eichstätt, one does not have to travel far to experience more German history: Ingolstadt, a mere bus or train ride away, boasts a fascinating military history museum, one of the largest in Europe in fact, while a longer ride to Munich will provide museum enthusiasts with a large selection of prominent cultural institutions.

  4. International student community! The significant international student community at the KU Eichstätt allows for an easier transition to learning and using a second language when many share that situation. Additionally, it adds a truly multicultural experience to a single study abroad semester, particularly when one is housed with fellow international students.

  5. Language learning!  Eichstätt is a truly rewarding place to live and study because it provides more opportunities to speak German daily, and in every setting, in contrast to larger cities including Munich and Berlin. Going to mass has been an especially valuable experience for me in German, and Eichstätt has many beautiful churches from which to choose.

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • Time flies! I wish I had known just how little time a semester truly holds. Time management is a vital skill in university, but especially when accommodating to a new lifestyle abroad alongside academic responsibilities. Because the environment and semester felt dramatically different than what I was accustomed to, I easily forgot to take advantage of the time I had, which included the rainy and colder days. Every day can be an adventure, even if that adventure includes going to a new supermarket or taking a different route back home. It can be going out for a cup of coffee, if simply for a small break. It can also be having a few friends over for dinner or going to the nearby city for a few hours.
  • Start visa paperwork early! I wish I had known to begin on certain tasks, such as the visa application, as early as possible. While I did prepare as much as I could prior to departing for Germany, once I had arrived in Germany my concerns turned to other matters before they returned to the visa. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy works slowly; even if you are able to complete your application for residence at a reasonable time, you also should take into account other steps along the way that could slow down the process.
  • The semester timelines are very different! The German academic system is vastly different from that of the U.S., and even from many European countries. I began my semester in April, at which time most of my classmates at CatholicU were almost concluding theirs. I knew had to make the most of my time prior to departing for Germany, and leave as little preparation for the Fall to be done over my semester abroad as possible. Naturally, this can not always be easily accomplished as deadlines are later on, and preparing for the fall is often an ongoing endeavor. However, I wish I had known how different, and sometimes difficult, it would be to work on additional academic or professional matters from abroad while maintaining my studies and taking time to enjoy the cultural experiences that accompany studying abroad in Germany.

Host Country Culture

In my experience, German culture values organization and respect. They respect the weekends in such a way that shops, grocery stores, and even pharmacies close early (early afternoon) on Saturday, and are closed all of Sunday. For university students, this may seem rather frustrating at times, especially when other rules such as quiet hours after 10 pm are enforced. However, this emphasis on organization and order is truly an advantage, as well as the respect for others that inspires such expectations such as quiet hours and a more respectful relationship with service workers than, for example, in the United States. In Eichstätt, I have generally been treated with respect regardless of what setting I am in. I have not had to apologize once for not speaking German perfectly and have in fact successfully had an eye examination performed and opened a German bank account without feeling deeply embarrassed, or without having been inquired by another as to the state of my German.

Living in Bavaria has also enlightened me about different aspects of German culture. It is more than the unique greetings and occasional Bavarian dialect; I have been introduced to a different perspective of Germany than the one with which I was familiar. After only a short time in Eichstätt, I could recognize faces, pass people on the street I knew, and navigate the routine of my daily life with ease. It is true that the pandemic significantly affected life in Eichstätt. I can recall seeing the city upon my arrival: aside from myself, there was hardly anyone out on the streets, despite it being only 6:00 pm on a Friday evening. Nowadays, there are people out even on the less picturesque days, and the life of the city appears practically restored in just a few short months. With it, is a greater desire for connection. Many, including myself, meet friends frequently in Marktplatz, sit outside at one of the nearby coffee shops, or sit on a bench together and eat ice cream. With the Euro Cup in full swing, more and more sports enthusiasts can be seen in the evenings, and different flags wave from windows of various apartments. In fact, the start of the European Fuẞball championship has encouraged greater friendly relations between people watching the same match, even if they are cheering for opposite teams.


Unsurprisingly, the pandemic prevented classes from being held in person, which created an unconventional, and sometimes challenging, element to studying abroad. However, the challenges of virtual learning aside, I found many of my classes engaging and enjoyed the smaller class sizes, which allowed for greater discussion with and among the students. Moreover, the KU Eichstätt offers a variety of courses aimed specifically at international students which are both interesting and beneficial for exchange students who feel generally unfamiliar with the German academic environment and taking their courses entirely in German (and online). This was certainly my situation, and thus my weekly German-language literature course for international students was something I especially looked forward to.

The teachers are also accommodating, and when I had questions about enrolling in the classes at the beginning of the term, and later in the exams at the end, they assisted me with my concerns. Familiarizing myself with a different academic system was an ongoing process, particularly towards the end of the semester; I had various types of “finals,” each dependent on the course, and all of which I was required to sign up for separate from my enrollment in the class. Still, the Incoming Students Coordinator and the International Office at the KU Eichstätt were more than happy to answer any questions I had, and personally speaking with my professors also yielded helpful responses.



During my semester at the KU Eichstätt, I was housed in a complex with other international students. Among other things, this meant that practicing German was much more comfortable because all of us were learning, and we were all eager to help each other and communicate to the best of our ability without fear of judgement. Because of the pandemic, our close-knit living community became our network of friendships, which contributed to a multicultural experience in which we were all interested to learn about each other’s cultures, languages, habits, and passions. I shared a flat with two other girls, one from the UK and the other from Slovakia, which was a truly rewarding and enlightening experience for us. Cultural differences were certainly present, but there was also a clear desire by many to address them and learn from each other. Thus, we traded stories and phrases in our native languages, compared childhoods and living situations back home, and found moments to share with everyone. 

While I am certainly aware that my personal circumstances in Eichstätt will most likely not reflect that of every student, the environment that is fostered by students sharing a common living space and learning, growing, and experiencing a foreign culture together was one that allowed me to flourish both academically and personally. I would highly recommend this experience for students, particularly those who have a decent grasp of the language and are motivated to cultivate their communication skills with peers from a variety of backgrounds.

Advice for Future Students

Take advantage of every spare minute. An afternoon can yield a memorable adventure, even if you do not wander far beyond Eichstätt. I have learned a great deal from my courses, and I look forward to expanding upon the topics more in the future, but I also learned much from my cultural experiences outside of the virtual classroom, whether it was from a visit to a local natural history museum or to a less local UNESCO World Heritage Site—or even to a concentration camp memorial site.

Additionally, do not be afraid to use your German, regardless of your language proficiency level. As I have mentioned before, I have had no need to apologize for the state of my German, despite it being far from perfect. Most of the native speakers I interact with have, despite realizing I do not speak German fluently, continued speaking with me in German without any remark or nod. I have never been spoken down to or patronized for the mistakes I have made speaking. Because the international student community at the KU Eichstätt comprises a significant portion of its students, many are accustomed to interacting with young people who are learning German. Most of my courses are filled entirely with native German speakers, aside from myself. Because we are still learning the language, we are liable to make mistakes. Still, the more you speak, the more comfortable you will become, regardless of whether you use the correct article or remember the exact word you need. After conducting two lengthy presentations entirely in German in two classes that were dominated by German native speakers, I am considerably more secure about speaking than I had been in my first few weeks in Germany. A lot can change in a matter of months.

Student Profile:

Major: History, German Studies

Certificate: European Studies

Hometown: Beaver Creek Township, Ohio

ProgramKatholische Universität Eichstätt

Term Abroad: Spring 2021

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