Arriving in Mannheim

Guest Post By: Simon Jones, a Fifth Year studying Finance and Information Systems. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany, during Autumn Semester 2022.

Once I got off the plane and arrived at Frankfurt airport, I was tired, hungry, and had no idea where to go. I looked around for the train ticket counters so I could take the train to Mannheim and get settled down into my dorm. Thankfully, I had applied for the VIUM buddy program, a program where international students can sign up to get a buddy who is a local who shows them the ropes of living in a new city/country. My VISUM buddy was incredibly helpful, and without her I probably would have gotten way more lost than I already was. Once I showed up at the Mannheim train station, she was there waiting for me. 

She showed me how to use the local transport and helped take my luggage to the dorms. When we got to the dorms, she asked me which residence I was living in, and that I had to unlock the door with an electronic fob that was on my keys. However, I soon realized that I didn’t actually have my keys. It turns out that I was supposed to pick up my keys at a spot that was all the way back near the train station. So, my VISUM buddy, god bless her soul, told me that I could wait at the dorms with my luggage while she walked back to the train station in 95 degree heat to go pickup my keys for me. That’s another thing to note. In the Summer, Mannheim is beyond hot and humid.

She returned with my keys after about 30 minutes, and after many thank you so much’s and I’ll see you soon’s, I opened up my residence hall and walked up to my dorm. I opened the door to my room and instead of 95 degree humid heat I was met with something more like 1000 degree sweltering heat. I threw all of my luggage in the corner, opened up my window, and immediately fell asleep. The next day I went out to search for a fan, to which many of the local friends I was meeting through my VISUM buddy were concerned with. “Why would you spend so much money on a fan? The weather will only be like this for another month!”. That was my introduction to Mannheim.