En Everyday Student Life in Dresden
Additional Educational Opportunities and Recreational Activities
Welcome in Dresden, a city with an eventful and colourful student life! In the following you will find many tips on how to organise your everyday life, on extension studies, the use of libraries, job opportunities and of course on interesting leisure facilities including cultural and sports highlights.
After you arrival in Dresden and the initial period of organising your life and study, you probably aim at improving your language skills. Attending a language course in one of Dresdens' language schools is one possibility. Such a course will lead you to the best results with regard to your level of proficiency. Native speakers teach small groups of learners. In a successfully tested blend of conventional and alternative learning methods, supported by the use of modern language learning materials, you will experience an appealing learning climate. Acquisition of language skills is not just a matter of passive or receptive learning, self-study is essential. In any case, language schools offer ideal conditions, good media facilities and professional supervision. Unfortunately, such courses come at a price. Online enrolment is possible. Inform yourself and find out about the various offers of the different language schools.
Libraries/ Copy Shops/ PC-Pools
Books are regarded as the most important tool for any student. Therefore, visiting specialised libraries is an integral component of any study course. The place to go to for students in Dresden is the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB), situated in a large new building on campus (address: Zellescher Weg 18). The futuristic architecture of the library building with its floors being situated subterraneanously is of special interest. On three underground floors you find the book collections, the reading room as well as working rooms. This innovative way of building made it possible for landscape architects to create free and open spaces on the ground level, inviting students to spend creative breaks outside. The "Bib-Lounge", a cafeteria run by the Studentenwerk, keeps body and soul together with an extensive array of snacks, drinks and small dishes.
To underline the fundamental importance of books, the SLUB shows rarities from its collections in the integrated book museum. This is were you can find the Dresden Maya manuscript, Dürer's sketchbook and music autographs by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Richard Wagner and others. The library provides literature on a great variety of subjects, reference books and magazines. In addition, the SLUB houses the German Photograph Library (Deutsche Fotothek), several special collections, a textbook collection, and an audio- and visual media section. The building is equipped with computer workstations, internet-access, internet research facilities, subject data bases and carrels (individual study rooms), enabling students to study by help of modern working techniques. A basic tool in locating research literature is the Web-OPAC (online-catalogue of existing collections). In addition to specific searching for literature, search by means of keywords is also possible. For magazines please use the subject data bases or ask staff members at the information desk. Of course, this modern library has photocopiers and book scanners available which can be used with the so-called AFS-copy card, obtainable against a deposit in the AFS copy-shop (second basement floor).
To orient yourself in the library, we recommend a library introduction tour which will help you gain a general orientation and introduction into the most important working methods. Moreover, you will be given interesting advice. Although the SLUB provides basic literature on almost all subjects, please note that additional research literature for specific subjects may be found in branch libraries. This apply to the departments of civil engineering/transport and communications science, electrical engineering, geology, information technology, mechanical science, economics, law, educational science, medicine and forestry.
The Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden (FH), the University of Applied Sciences, has its own in-house and well-provided public library, located in a new building at Friedich-List-Platz since 2006. The use of the university libraries is generally free of charge for all students. However, using this institutions requires registration (please have your ID card and your student identification card at hand). For an annual fee you may also use the municipal public libraries, providing literature of all genres, audio-media and games.
Copying facilities are not only available in the libraries. On and around campus there are numerous copy shops where students can also buy study materials and readers for various tutorials and courses. As an extra service most copy shops do moreover offer the printing and binding of assignments and theses etc. In addition, you can use easily accessible copy machines throughout the university buildings, working on the basis of a system independent from the SLUB. That means that you will have to buy a copy card, on sale against a deposit at the service point of the Studentenrat (StuRa), the Student Counsel.
For reasons of study as well as for private purposes using a computer and the internet will probably be of fundamental importance to you. If you live in a student hall of residence, you will always easily have access to a fast internet connection. In case you do not have your own computer, you are most welcome to use the computers of the university PC-Pools. No matter to which department, faculty or institute you belong, the PC-pool located in Willersbau is always open for use.
In addition, every department or faculty has its own computer room, offering subject related, specialised hard- and software. In order to be able to use these facilities, all you need is your student identification card, a personal login and password. You will find your entry code on the first page of the "Studienbuch", which you received together with the notification of admission. You may also print out documents in the PC-pool. As a matter of course, every computer room is equipped with a printer, and for the most part with a scanner and internet access. In some cases, printing requires a copy- and print-card.
For already more than half of all students living in Dresden earning money has become an integral part of their years of study. The reasons why students work besides studying are diverse: students go to work to be able to cover their living expenses, to finance their holidays or a journey home, or to cover various additional expenditures such as a computer or a car. You should be aware of the fact that the employment of foreign students is subject to several specific regulations. Please note that there is a difference between citizens of EU member states and others. As this distinction is based on treaties and laws it is binding.
Foreign students from EU member states
For students, who are citizens of EU member states the same rights and duties apply as for students with a German nationality. Many students take on so-called mini-jobs. The salary is free of taxes and national insurance, provided it does not exceed an amount of 400 euros per month. If an employee earns more than 400 euros per month or works more than 20 hours per week, pension insurance payments are due.
Foreign students from non-Eu member states
Students coming from non-EU member states do often have only limited opportunities to find a job. As a rule, these students are allowed to work without work permit for up to 90 days or 180 half-days per calendar year. This rule applies to students from non-EU member states as well as to students coming from non-EEA states (EEA=European Economic Area). If you belong to this group of people and nevertheless wish to work more days than mentioned above, you will need permission for taking up employment from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency)(section 284, paragraph 1). The required application form is provided by the responsible authorities.
The first place to go to in order to get a student job is the Studentische Arbeitsvermittlung e.V. (STAV), the Student Employment Agency. The STAV registers job offers and job seekers, listing skills as well as fields of interest. If job requirements and the activity profile of job seeking students match, the STAV will establish contact between the two parties involved. To become part of the STAV database registration in the personnel pool is required.
Your own initiative can also lead to a job. Scanning the job advertisement sections (classified sections) of regional papers and magazines or of the independent university papers ad rem and CAZ might be helpful. You may also find job offers on notice boards. Watch out for vacancies at the faculties. You may find an employment as so-called student assistant. From time to time, the Studentenwerk also advertises vacancies (e.g. mini-jobs in the university catering). Of late, it has become quite a common practice in Germany to apply not only for vacancies but to send speculative applications, too. Written applications are preferable when full-time jobs or practical trainings are concerned. If you apply for a sideline job a personal oral application might be sufficient, however, it is advisable to make a telephone call beforehand to find out whether the job vacancy still exists and if so, to inquire about the conditions for applicants.
Leisure and Sports facilities
„Nach der Arbeit das Vergnügen.“ (German saying: Pleasure only when the work is done.)
At the end of a demanding day of studying, you deserve time for recreation and personal development. You will see that Dresden and its environs have a lot to offer. Numerous cinemas of all kinds offer a great variety of programmes. Whereas almost all cinemas show the latest movies and blockbusters, the independent and non-mainstrain cinemas have other focal points. Explore and find your favourite cinema! There are reduced prices during so-called "cinema days" (Kinotage). Of course, there is a ticket pre-sale service (via telephone and/or internet).
Real summer highlights are the open-air film nights also offered by some art house cinemas. Best-known are the film nights on the banks of the Elbe, the "Filmnächte am Elbufer". In July and August approximately 4,000 visitors have room at the cinema area (located at the banks of the Elbe) to watch movies of a variety of genres with the world famous silhouette of the historic city of Dresden in the background. The area which is also equipped with gastronomic facilities is a popular open air concert venue, too.
Dresdens' night life is vibrant and colourful. Not without reason is Dresden called the capital of student clubs. In many halls of residence you can find a student club. The variety of clubs is great: small and homely clubs with chill out music, big clubs with dance floors as well as individual locations are awaiting your visit.
You may also spend exciting nights in the Dresdner Neustadt (city district across the river Elbe) that is especially popular with students and young people due to its numerous bars, clubs, discos and restaurants. Even if you will hardly find moderate student prices, with a bit of patience also students with a smaller budget will find the right place to go to. The atmosphere in the Neustadt locations ranges from cosy to futuristic. Dance enthusiasts can enjoy themselves in several large discos or smaller scene clubs.
The City of Dresden Festival (Dresdner Stadtfest) is a popular annual event. In 2006, the 800-year- jubilee was celebrated. Great Jazz music is performed during the yearly celebrated Dixieland festival, when up to half a million Dixieland enthusiasts come to the city to experience live performances of numerous Dixieland bands from all over the world. During the festival Dresden turns into a vibrant and exuberant jazz city brimful of life.
The Bunte Republik Neustadt, a multicultural festival in the Neustadt district, lasting for two days, is known for its open, cross-cultural and easy-going atmosphere.
With the end of the wine harvest the wine-growers on the slopes of the Elbe open their wine taverns to the general public to celebrate the well-known “Weinfest” (wine festival). A visit to the vineyards of the neighbouring cities of Meißen and Radebeul is also highly recommendable. The green banks of the Elbe between the bridge called “Blaues Wunder” and Pillnitz Palace are the venue of the Elbhangfest (Elbe-slopes festival). Regional traders as well as arts and crafts representatives use this festival as a platform to present themselves to the general public, framed by concerts and shows. During the entire time of the festival, the adjoining streets form a traffic free zone, so that the relaxed atmosphere of the festival can be fully enjoyed.
As far as museums are concerned, Dresden offers a rich array of choices. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (State Art Collections) invite visitors to a journey of discovery. The Zwinger offers architectural beauty and five museums in one building: the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, the Museum für Tierkunde (zoological museum), the Porzellansammlung (porcelain collection), the Rüstkammer (Armoury) and the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery). The Albertinum, a museum situated close to Brühl's Terrace, accommodates the Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery) and the Skulpturensammlung (sculpture collection). Probably Europe's most beautiful treasure room is the “Grüne Gewölbe” (Green Vault). Its collection consists of various types of jewellery and goldsmith works (artefacts) as well as treasures made of ivory and amber or little bronze statuettes. During a longer period of renovation these art treasures were exhibited in the Albertinum. Now the Green Vault has returned to its original location - the Residence castle in Dresden. All other museums in Dresden are equally worthwhile a visit and can for example be explored during the Museumssommernacht (The Summer Night of the Museums). One entrance ticket gives you admission to all participating museums and includes the use of a shuttle bus as well as a historical tram shuttle service.
Regarding theatre,the spectrum ranges from classical drama in modern interpretations, amateur theatre, cabaret and revue to puppet theatre. Concerts, operas and ballet performances in the world- famous Semperoper will give you an unforgettable cultural experience. Literary readings in bookshops and cafés round of the artistic program.
In addition to cultural leisure activities doing sports might be good to compensate for your academic studies. Every student who wishes to do so may do sports e.g. by attending the courses offered by the Universitätssportzentrum (USZ), (university sports centre). You may choose between mountaineering and alpine sports, health-oriented forms of sports, swimming, team sports, dance, or water sports. Please do also pay attention to individual sports, such as juggling or mono-cycling. Maybe you will discover an exciting new type of sport.
The advantages of participating in one of these courses are most obvious. You will benefit with regard to your health and will spend pleasant time while getting to know fellow students. Moreover, doing sports (to affordable prices) will compensate for the challenges of studying. The favourable conditions offered by the university sport centre depend to a large extent on the qualified course supervisors and coaches of whose experience and pedagogic qualification you will surely benefit.
In order to attend the courses of the USZ all you need to do is register via internet. Registration is possible on the website of the university sports centre (USZ) during the first week of semester. After having registered you are required to transfer the course fee into the account of the USZ. You will receive an e-mail after your registration which will provide you with all necessary information.
Connecting with People in Student Groups and Clubs
As already mentioned you will find initiatives such as faranto and the Erasmus initiative at your university or college which will support you in organising and pursuing your studies. In addition, initiatives and clubs exist that dedicate themselves to specific themes or fields of activity. The following section focuses on student groups, clubs and initiatives.
Student groups and clubs provide an excellent opportunity to connect to people whilst pursuing your interests and hobbies. The precise meaning of the word “Verein”(club) can be found in the previous section "First Days at your Place of Study". In accordance with their fields of interest the various clubs and initiatives offer diverse fields of activities. Students can participate in the organisation of the clubs as well as in the active realisation of concepts and ideas. All kinds of clubs, associations and initiatives can be found in Dresden: sport clubs, music associations, art groups and clubs that have journalistic, economic or political focal points. To name just a few: choirs, dance groups, orchestras, the Tourismus Interessen Kreis, the LINUX User-Group Dresden and Amnesty International Dresden. On principle, you can easily join a club by paying a membership fee.
A unique atmosphere can be experienced in the stadiums of the major sport clubs of Dresden. Special spectator magnets are the soccer club 1. FC Dynamo Dresden, the ice hockey team Dresdner Eislöwen and the American Football Team Dresden Monarchs.
Connecting with fellow students is easiest through active participation in a club, a sport course at the university sports centre or a student initiative. Another way of getting to know people is to visit a student club or to join of a student club. Moreover, the Studentenwerk Dresden, the Academic International Office and the Erasmus initiative Dresden offer a great variety of events and activities such as theme nights and day trips with the objective to stimulate contacts between foreign and German students. You are always invited to attend the so-called „Stammtischabende“, the International Coffee Hour, walking tours, field trips and so forth. Please also have a look at the Calendar of Cultural Events, published by the Academic International Office of the Dresden University of Technology, which provides you with information concerning the latest events. Make use of these opportunities as they will help you get to know other people.
You can attend events (e.g. welcoming meetings, student parties, debates) on invitation of your faculty, where you will meet students with the same major subject. After a short period of acclimatisation you will surely find that with a bit of effort and active involvement you will make your stay a rewarding experience.