The RUG gets around
Name: Desiree Niezen
Age: 21
Where are you studying? Kiel, Germany.
Third-year student European Languages and Cultures

Kiel, Germany

Reeperbahn and Christmas market

Every year, many RUG students decide to do an internship or temporary study abroad. Do they get any work done in sunny Granada? Can they find their way around the giant city of Moscow? And what is it like to dance the tango in Buenos Aires? Part 4: Kiel, Germany
Text by Koen Marée / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

‘Kiel doesn’t really have a typical dish’, says Desiree.

‘Restaurants here serve pizza, hamburgers, and schnitzel, of course. The latter costs less than ten euros and make a good meal. And they really lover doner kebab here; it only costs two euros.’

She often spends her evenings in the local brewery. ‘Half a litre of pilsner is 3.50. But they also make their own fancy beer.’ A coffee costs a regular two euros, but fruit is much more expensive than in the Netherlands: ‘Bananas and grapes are twice as expensive.

But Haribo and Kinder chocolate are really cheap. Plus, the other day they came with a discount for the Deutsche Bahn. It was a great excuse to buy a chocolate bar.’

When you study European Languages you have to have a European adventure. Why did you choose Kiel?

‘I picked German because I grew up near the German border, in Westerlee. I’d already learned German in high school, and I didn’t feel like starting over with a completely new language. I always wanted to go to North Germany for my foreign adventure, because their accent isn’t as strong here. Hamburg was full, so I went to Kiel.’

How are you liking it so far?

‘The city isn’t very big, I can cycle everywhere. This is the first time I’m living on my own and I like it more than I thought I would. I initially signed up for university housing, but I’d be living together with twelve other people. That was a bit too many for me. Now I have only one roommate, and sixteen square metres costs me 360 euros a month. That’s a little expensive for the location, but everything is really nice and clean.’

And Kiel? Is it a good student town?

‘At first I thought it was a really boring place. The Second World War destroyed a lot of old architecture. But it’s especially nice during this time of year; there are Christmas markets and the city centre is lit up beautifully. There are some great art galleries and cinemas. In terms of nightlife, I would advise people here to take a look at Groningen. Here, you have to pay to get in just about everywhere, and there are only a few bars. They often organise themed parties, or people travel down to Hamburg to spend a night partying at the Reeperbahn.’

Was it easy to make friends?

‘Before I came here I joined a WhatsApp group of other Erasmus students. I still socialise with a few of them. I also signed up with the local Quidditch club. Yes, that’s a real sport! It looks really comical, and sometimes I’m on the field looking in awe at everything that’s happening around me. I’m the only foreigner on the team, but they include me in everything. On Thursday we’re all celebrating Christmas together, and next week we’re going to a Christmas market.’

Is the university very different from the RUG?

‘I take courses in political science here, about the future of the EU and how we remember certain historical events. For that course, we’re doing a project in collaboration with the Jewish museum in Rensburg. The final result will be displayed in the museum, which is really cool. What’s striking is that here, you can choose whether to earn 2.5 or 5 ECTS with a course. If you choose the former, you only have to show up to classes, and you don’t have to write any papers or anything else. People are much more formal as well: they address you with Herr or Frau and your last name.’

You’re leaving at the end of the semester. Do you have any plans for the next few weeks?

‘I took some trips to Hamburg and Copenhagen, and I’d like to go to Berlin. On Friday I’ll probably go to Lübeck, they have one of the best Christmas markets. I love the summer, but Christmas markets have a great atmosphere. They make me really happy.’

Previous episodes


Anton Wuis – Busan, South Korea 
Juliëtte Eijkelkamp – Yogyakarta, Indonesia 
Iris Groenendijk – Cheltenham, England

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