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Life in Freiburg

March 14, 2012

As a foreign student in Freiburg, you're not alone. Out of the city's 30,000 students, 17 percent come from other countries.

Looking through trees, Freiburg's skyline is visible
Freiburg's location makes a quick day trip to France or Switzerland possibleImage: dpa

This city is simply perfect for students. Almost everyone who studies here thinks so. With around 220,000 residents, Freiburg is the fourth-largest city in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the southernmost major metropolitan center in Germany. However, at the same time, it's a small and conveniently arranged town. The distances between the university buildings are also short. Everything is less complicated than in a "real" city. That's why it's also an ideal place to live for many.

International flair

Freiburg has a unique location among German cities, situated next to the "three-nation border triangle," where the German, French and Swiss borders meet. Whoever wants an alternative to the local nightlife can simply take a short trip to Basel in Switzerland or visit the French cities of Strasbourg or Mulhouse.

Freiburg itself also has an international flair. Recent semesters have seen around 30,000 students on campus, nearly 20 percent of whom are from abroad. While strolling through the town's cobblestone streets, you can hear snippets of conversations in Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, English, Russian and many other languages.

Everything is there

Many of the students live in relatively affordable student dorms or shared apartments. The preferred part of town is the Stuehlinger area, west of the old town, due to its proximity to the university and the clinic, as well as its moderate rent costs. You can also find some cafes and bars here, plus alternative shops, which sell esoteric and organic products. Following the motto "it's the mixture that counts," different population groups, shops, restaurants, handicraft businesses and cultures exist side by side.

Spoiled for choice

From Stuehlinger you can reach the old town via the "blue bridge," which is sometimes a tight squeeze, especially during rush hour - though it's bicycles, not cars, which form traffic jams over here. But if you live in Freiburg, you don't need more than your legs or a bicycle anyway. The inner city is almost car-free and right outside of Freiburg, there's a lot of nature and countryside. Nature lovers and keen hikers are spoiled for choice here. They can either go to the nearby Black Forest or the Alsatian Vosges mountains. However, the cheapest alternative and a great experience is a simple stroll through the old town's winding alleys.

Author: Pia Gram
Editor: Greg Wiser