Civil Engineering Student's Trip to Germany

The Frauenkirche, Altes Rathaus, and other buildings that make up the Munich skyline

Civil Engineering student Anjie Liu was awarded a Stork Travel Award to help fund her exchange to the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany, where she studied for the academic year 2015-2016. TUM, founded in 1868, boasts 13 Nobel Prize winners, 10 IEEE Fellows, and over 700 startups. This is Anjie's final report, written after she returned to UWaterloo to continue her degree.

I had an amazing time studying at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and travelling throughout Germany. It gave me a chance to improve my German and meet people from all over Europe. I was able to explore many regions, from southern Bavaria to Berlin and Hamburg, and also across Baden-Württemberg.

During my exchange, I lived in Munich in the Olympiadorf student apartment. Being close to the Olympiapark and the BMW Welt, it was an awesome location. I visited the park frequently and explored the BMW Welt and Museum. The wealth of history and industry in Munich is truly impressive. I spent a lot of time at the various museums and galleries in Munich. Still, I will definitely have to go back, because I quite underestimated how many visits it would take me to go through the Deutsches Museum and there are still many parts of the Englischer Garten I haven’t yet explored. I would also love to see what new exhibitions will be at the Pinakothek der Moderne. Another favourite place of mine in Munich was the Nymphenburg Palace, particularly its porcelain collection. The workmanship was something I had never seen before and inspired me to do a pottery workshop.

During the fall, I organized a trip with other international students to go hiking at Königssee. It was one of the most incredible days of my trip. The trip only made me want to return in the future to backpack through the Alps. Zugspitze and Partnachklamm were also unforgettable. I hope to someday return in the summer time so I can camp in the mountains. There are also other places I’d like to return to in the summer, such as Schloss Neuschwanstein and Franconia.

My travels took me through Baden-Württemberg twice; once on a trip organized by the TUM International Office, and once on a road-trip with friends. The university organized a castle tour in which we stayed at different castles converted into hostels for a few nights. This trip took us to Ortenberg, Leibertingen-Wildenstein, Konstanz, Strasbourg, Meerburg, and Mainau Island. Sleeping in old castles and hiking through the surrounding misty woods was quite surreal. During the road trip, we drove to Lindau, Liechtenstein, Zurich, Luzern, and then up through the Black Forest to Freiburg and Tübingen. It would be a dream to keep living in Munich and to keep travelling like that.

I had always wanted to visit Berlin for its history, so I spent a few days there. It was like travelling back and forth through time, with all the museums and historical sites. Everything was expertly curated to tell a captivating story of what the city had been through. After Berlin, I went to Hamburg, where I visited the incredible Miniwunderland. Again, I will have to return in the future, since they seem to be building new exhibitions non-stop. Hamburg turned out to be one of my favourite cities. There’s something about port cities that make them feel special. Perhaps it’s their history of commerce and cultural exchange.

Other countries I visited include Austria, Italy, Denmark and the Czech Republic, and there are so still so many places I want to go to. The courses I took at TUM inspired a new interest in my studies in civil engineering and made me feel more motivated about my career. This exchange semester was the best semester of my life. If I could go back to Germany, I would. I miss the food, the people, the transportation, the culture, etc… I even miss the stationery. I would like to continue studying German and to look for opportunities to return.

I am extremely grateful for the donors' impact in making this experience so wonderful. It was indeed a life-changing experience. As I share with my friends how great it was to be in Germany, I hope other students can have the same opportunities that I had.