Blog entry No. 1 - The Small Great Unknown
An European capital only twice the size of Wurzburg. A country the size of Franconia with only half the number of inhabitants. I’m talking about Slovenia and its capital Ljubljana. Maybe you traveled there during your vacation but never actually considered it for a stay abroad. To be honest, it took some persuading from the outgoing advisor for me, too. But the more I learned about the city, the more I liked the idea of being the first FHWS student to study there and to explore this relatively unknown region between Austria and Croatia.
My expedition began in Munich – a six-hour train ride through the landscape of the Austrian Alps. From time to time we would pass a railroad crossing announcing our arrival with the ear-piercing sound of an air horn. It was February 19th about 06:32 pm when I finally arrived in the city that was going to be my home for the upcoming semester.
Probably randomly, I managed to find the right exit at first go and went looking for a taxi to take me from the almost deserted Ljubljana central station to the hostel I booked in advance. The taxi ride to the city center took only a few minutes. At the hostel I got a friendly welcome and a bed in a pleasant 10 sq. four-bed room. This was going to be my base for the next five days while going apartment-hunting.
Finding an accommodation right before the start of the upcoming semester wasn’t easy. I learned that it is perfectly normal for students in Slovenia to share their room with another person and that we have different ideas of what a convenient apartment should be like. After adjusting my expectations a little bit, I continued my search for accommodation, ready to make some compromises. After a couple of flops I finally found a well-measured and roomy apartment only two kilometer away from my faculty. Attention! If you want to skip the stress of looking for apartments on location and are thinking about searching via internet, watch out for cheaters.
Only a few days after me moving into this quiet and peaceful street it was buzzing with great excitement. A neighbor came by, suspiciously asking me if I had seen his precious car. I successfully explained to him that I had nothing to do with the disappearance of his 13 year old Peugeot 206 SW and decided to secure my bicycle with an extra lock. Luckily, the mysterious disappearance was solved the next day, when the neighbor’s wife remembered that she accidentally had parked the car in a different street.
Apart from this tiny incident I felt very safe in the Slovenian capital at any day or night time. About 64,000 students live in the city which is guarded by a castle which is enthroned on a hill in the city center. Even in march you can go skiing in one of the ski regions situated in the snowy mountains all around Ljubljana. The inhabitants are extremely open and friendly. Communicating in the English language is no problem at all. I’m tempted to say that Slovenes speak better English than Germans do. I was also very surprised to see how seriously the Slovenes take punctuality – which was quite exhausting at times, since lectures start at 7:30 am. I learned that I couldn’t escape German bureaucracy, for example when I tried to get a student discount card, which took a ridiculous amount of time.
My first impressions of university and the other students there were a little strange, too. But nevertheless very friendly and welcoming. I’m very comfortable here. If you want to know more about my experiences and the night life in Ljubljana, you should read my next blog.
Greetings from Ljubljana!