All the freedom and independence I dreamt of as a child were in the offing as I entered the university. Did the dream still hold on to the charm and the fantasies? Well, I would say it almost did except for the harsh face of the real world out of the cocoon. As children, we were always under the supervision of our parents who kept an eye on us and in a way kept reminding us what was right and what was not. But, as we came of age and got out of the snug homes of our parents, we had a lot of decisions to take like what are we going to study, what do we live off? And the most pressing (I used that word to keep you reading the article) need is to find a suitable place to stay. As far as Stuttgart is concerned, the decision basically boils down to two options: 1. Living in the student dorms of Studentenwerk, 2. Live outside the campus in WGs or rent an apartment with your friends or probably a studio.
While moving out of the house (in my case, my country too) you grew up in might seem intriguing in the beginning, it is considerably daunting too. The changes are going to be quite significant as far as your lifestyle is concerned. It just takes some time before you acclimatize to your new way of life. Leaving the decision to your priorities, this article is an attempt to give you an idea of how different the living choices are. How do I know what the differences are? Well, in my two years in Stuttgart, I have lived both in the student dorms and outside for a significant time to be able to tell you how different they are. So, here we go!!
Although most students who come to Stuttgart like to live in the Student dorms, Studierendenwerk Stuttgart is able to cater only 7200 students. The rest have to find themselves a place in the city which is pretty challenging according to me. Not knowing the German could add to the woes of an international student. There is clearly a mismatch between the number of rooms available and the students looking for them. The moment there is an advertisement on the internet sites, there is a flood of requests from the students looking for a place to live. I really hope there is something being done to avert this. Let’s all hope so!
Social life and community living
Living on the campus is a charm especially when you are an outgoing person and if you are gregarious. The fact that all the people living around are of same age group helps you percolate into the new atmosphere pretty much easily. At the same time, chances of making new friends spikes up when you live around the probables. The late night parties and all other events happening in the campus keeps you so engaged and entertained at the same time. Reaching out to peers for any help is also easy when you live on the campus. Prima facie, dorms are more international than any other locality in Stuttgart. If that is one of the things you are looking for, make a note!
On the other hand, when you are living off the campus, you are likely to live in a neighborhood that does not necessarily understand your urge to sport a liberating life. If you are someone who loves quiet neighborhoods and a matured lifestyle, living off the campus is the way to go. In all likelihood you will be living in German confines, you are likely to infuse into the culture (if you are an Ausländer) more swiftly than someone living on the campus.
Responsibilities and the prerogatives
I find the student dorms rather organized for a student to just move in and settle without any hassles in a matter of days. You may just have to go through a few easy procedures to have everything set. Right from your internet connection to getting the laundry done, everything is seamlessly sorted.
When it comes to living off campus, the responsibilities pile up and at some point it gets irksome. If the place you are moving in is not furnished, it would just add to your anguishes. It consumes so much time and energy to set everything up, you are sure to be deprived of a peaceful existence for some time in the beginning. Internet, waste disposal, gas, laundry and the list goes on. You better have an open eye to the many contracts and keep following them up with the payments and renewals. Not a very pleasant situation to be in, but, inevitable.
With the responsibilities come a few privileges too! Yes, most of the cases, you get to choose your flatmates. It’s your place and that means your rules. And, you start running your household, which eventually you are bound to at some point in time.
Proximity and ease
The most happening party in the campus and are you FOMOed? This is a major difference I experienced when I lived outside the campus. There are a lot of events happening on the campus and you often end to head home midway of the party giving it up to the last S Bahn. If you are someone who loves to party and be on time for the lecture next morning at 8:00, where you live is going to decide it for you! Well, parties are not all that happens on the campus. The closeness to the lecture halls is another major selling point to the dorms.Not to forget jogging in the beautiful forest right in the Vaihingen campus if you are a nature lover. A jog through the forest all the way to Bärensee is a relish not to miss out on! With the sports facilities in the close vicinity, the sport lovers will not have a tough time deciding. Well, if they have the privilege of choice.
Public transport is the savior if you are living off the campus and do not have a car. Get used to traveling every day to and forth, which you eventually will and in my opinion, have a hobby, like reading a book to make the best of your commuting time. If not, you will feel that shuttling is eating up all your time you would instead be productive with. You really need to have a routine of a job-goer if you want to leave no stone unturned. Yet, if your WG is near the Stadtmitte or other happening places of the city, happy for you mate!
With all of that information bestowed on you my lovely reader, I admit that all through the article, I have been slightly inclined towards living on the campus. Nevertheless, everyone eventually has to get out of the bubble and live in the society. Neither are you going to be a student forever, nor are you going to hate a routined life forever. To all those who are in search of a place in Stuttgart, including me, may the power be with us. Good luck!