Alumni tell us about their favourite places in Germany
Many Germany-Alumni have their own personal favourite place in Germany. This could be a vibrant big city or a small romantic town, a beautiful park or a cozy café, the place where they studied or somewhere they made an outing to, the university library or the research lab – all places that are linked to special memories.
What experiences Germany-Alumni may have made during their stay in Germany depends on a number of factors. Some alumni studied or did research at a German university; others may have worked or participated in a language course in Germany. Living conditions can be quite varied, depending on whether they stayed in a city or in the countryside, in a hall of residence or with a host family. Sometimes they share similar experiences, but there are very personal memories, too. We have collected some stories in which Germany-Alumni tell us what they associate with their favourite place in Germany.
We also report on the Goethe-Institut’s project “Mein Ort in Deutschland”, which was launched in February 2016. Everyone over the age of 18 years who is not from Germany is invited to talk about a place in Germany that is especially important to them. This will result in an interactive map of Germany, on which these favourite places will be published.
Many favourite places in Munich
For Sivan Levy from Israel, Munich is like a second home – and she has more than one favourite place there: “For me, Munich is a city with the atmosphere of a village. Even though I went on to study in Berlin for two years and visited many other cities in Germany, Munich is still my number one. Strolling around in the Englischer Garten or Hofgarten, the Christmas market Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz, the three Pinakothek Museums, Schloss Nymphenburg, Odeonsplatz, the Residenz, the Hofbräuhaus and – last but not least, the Oktoberfest.”
Manuela Randrianirainy from Madagaskar still raves about her time in Munich. “I lived in a student hall of residence in Munich. Without doubt, one of the things I remember best is the Oktoberfest. The great atmosphere ‘auf der Wiesn’, the people, the vivid colours – the Theresienwiese is certainly my favourite place.”
Heidelberg is the favourite city of Maria Endreva from Bulgaria: “I studied German Philology there for one semester and this was an unforgettable time for me. The German department is situated at the former Palais Boisserée, and there is a beautiful view of the romantic castle. And even when you are working in the library, you are not completely disconnected from the city.
Favourite places in all points of the compass
The German capital of Berlin is a particularly popular destination for travel and studying and offers an abundance of tourist attractions. The favourite place of Sapna Jarial from India is “Unter den Linden”, where the university is located.
Larissa Korolchuk from Latvia was in Berlin shortly after the Wall came down. “My first impression was rather overwhelming. I stood directly next to the Wall and took a few bricks with me. It was first time I had ever seen skyscrapers, or drunk a Coke, Fanta and Sprite. We didn't have any of these things in the Soviet Union.”
And Quang Du Nguyen from Vietnam remembers the time of his studies in the former GDR: “In those days I was a regular guest in the Haus der jungen Talente (House of Young Talents) in Berlin and I also learned to play the classical guitar there.”
But there are other favourite places in Eastern Germany, too. Estefanía Figueroa Buitrago from Colombia studied at the Technical University in Dresden for one semester: “An especially atmospheric and well-known feature is Dresden’s Christmas Market, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt. This is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany and is held every year on the Old Market Square (Altmarkt).”
Alumni show their favourite places in Germany
Modern cities, magical landscapes, places of stillness or great enjoyment: As part of our photo competition “My favourite place in Germany”, we asked Germany-Alumni to upload photos of their favourite places to the Alumniportal’s online community. We are happy to present a selection of these photos in a picture gallery.
Natassia Kudruatsava from Belarus fell in love with Jena: “In winter, it was nice to go to the Christmas market, drinking mulled wine and going ice-skating with my friends. Thuringian sausage and onion flan tasted especially good there.”
Bogdan Ioan Rogazianu from Romania talks about his love of Northern Germany in the community. “Probably my favorite city is Hamburg. I also stayed in Schleswig-Holstein for several months. The Ostsee and Lübeck are definitely beautiful too, also Schwerin or Flensburg. The weather, however, is rather ‘British’.”
Mikhail Kondratenko from Russia was especially taken by his German university: “My favorite place in Germany is the department “Sprachatlas von Mittelfranken (Linguistic Atlas of Middle Franconia)” at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. I always loved being there.” And Sonia Baloni Ray from India also raves about her place of work: “I really enjoyed my time working in a laboratory on a research scholarship at the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen.”
Video: Goethe-Institut – “Mein Ort in Deutschland”
What makes a place on the map into a special place in our lives?
With its project “Mein Ort in Deutschland”, the Goethe-Institut would like to invite people from all over the world to present their special place and to discover many new places through the eyes of others.
The Goethe-Institut is looking for park benches, road crossings, neighbourhoods, whole cities, landscapes or any other small or large places in Germany that became special because of their atmospheres, of encounters or ideas – or that could become special in future.
You are not from Germany but there is a place in Germany that is special to you? Then sign up on www.goethe.de/MeinOrt, tag the place and tell in German or in another language what makes this particular place special to you.
Maybe you don’t yet have a favourite place in Germany or you’re intrigued as to which German places are especially important to people from other countries and cultures? The interactive map of Germany with posts from all around the world offers plenty of material to browse through.
Favourite places in Germany
Whether it's the capital city of Berlin with its vibrant arts and music scene, Munich, the cosmopolitan city with heart that prides itself on its Oktoberfest and proverbial Bavarian conviviality, or the Roman city of Cologne with its cathedral and carnival – German cities have a lot to offer.
Which German towns did you visit? Is there something that is typical of German cities? And which places in Germany do you like the most? We look forward to hearing about our alumni’s personal impressions and experiences in our Community group “Favourite places in Germany”!