Germany’s Oldest University Through the Eyes of an AUBG Student

Heidelberg is an old town in southwestern Germany, sitting on the banks of the Neckar river. It is renowned for historical landmarks like the Karl Theodor Bridge, Schloss Heidelberg and the Church of the Holy Spirit. Countless stories behind the centuries-old buildings enrich people who visit the town. In the midst of the stunning cityscape is Germany’s oldest and one of Europe’s most reputable universities. Heidelberg University gives the old town a lively atmosphere as it is filled with students, who compose a quarter of the population.

Karl Theodor Bridge over the Neckar River in Heidelberg. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

Schloss Heidelberg also known as Heidelberg Castle. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

The students’ experience at Heidelberg University differs greatly from that of AUBG students. While the American University in Bulgaria opened its doors in 1991, the Heidelberg University was founded in 1386. This alone speaks for the immense contrast between the style of education and facilities. AUBG promotes a liberal arts education that teaches students a wide range of skills and knowledge in various fields, and Heidelberg University is mostly renowned for its law and medicine majors, which have been taught for centuries.

Entrance to the University Library Heidelberg. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

The campus buildings of AUBG are contemporary and students are provided with modern technologies to assist them in their studies. Heidelberg has an Old Town Campus for the law students and a New Campus for those studying medicine. Some of the facilities that are still used today, like the library, were built back in the 1900s. The Heidelberg University library is ranked as Germany’s best library. It holds around 3.2 million books and is home to some of Germany’s oldest manuscripts.

Inside the main hall of the library. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

The cafeteria and canteen at Heidelberg University have their own separate buildings in the main square of the town. They provide outdoor seating, which is a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful mountainous landscape that surrounds the town. The inside of the canteen has high ceilings with huge chandeliers and interesting artwork on the walls. The topic of food at the canteen that is often discussed in AUBG might not concern the students in Heidelberg as they have a big selection of meals provided for meat-lovers, vegetarians and vegans. The canteen also has a separate pastry-shop where students can get pieces of cake, sweets and other delicious foods to satisfy their sweet tooth, similar to AUBG’s cafe.

Outside seating at the university cafeteria. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

Students having lunch at the canteen. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

When it comes to life outside university activities, Heidelberg offers a lot of places where young people can enjoy their free time. AUBG students like to visit a handful of places that have proven to be most popular among them. Meanwhile, in Heidelberg, students have such a big choice of shops, restaurants and late-night bars that they rarely visit the same ones every week. All of them are conveniently located in the Marktplatz, or Market Square, which is the heart of the town.

Another place where many choose to go to relieve stress is The Philosophenweg, which means the Philosophers’ Walk. It is a two-kilometer trail overlooking the Neckar river and the town. It is named after the Heidelberg University philosophy professors who used to go there to collect their thoughts. Before taking this seemingly relaxing walk, however, one should keep in mind that the trail is pretty steep and at times physically challenging.

Tourists exploring the Marktplatz in Heidelberg. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

There are many different aspects that make university life distinct for each and every university around the world. Heidelberg University and AUBG are just two examples of contrasting places that make for a very different learning experience. Both universities benefit their students in ways that cannot be measured. Visiting Heidelberg gives a fresh look at a town that manages to blend its historically valuable landmarks, beautiful nature and upbeat atmosphere of university life. Comparing two contrasting places lets students discover more about their own university, whether it’s finding aspects to be thankful for or areas for improvement.

Landscape view of Heidelberg. Victoria Ivanova for AUBG Daily.

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