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New in town and country: Orientation Week provides a first overview!

It has been an exciting two weeks for 400 international students who started their studies at Hof university this semester. Setting up life in a new country is never easy. Orientation week aims to support all international students in acclimating to their new university environment. It includes sessions on enrolment procedure, lectures, campus tours, and information about upcoming events. Of course, there is also a lot of time to get to know each other and form first friendships.

A visit to Theresienstein and the Hof Zoo were among the highlights of the Orientation Week program
Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences

Making new students feel welcome is an important goal of International Office and Welcome Center at Hof University. University staff and student assistants have been hard at work to prepare for the arrival of the new students and to offer them the best start possible. Even in times of a global pandemic, they managed to prepare a program full of valuable information and fun activities.

It kicked off with welcome day. As students from all around the world arrived at their new home away from home, they received a warm welcome. They finally got to meet the coordinators at the International Office/Welcome Center in person and went on campus tours to explore their new university. The day was full of introductions, information, and technicalities.

Sunshine and spring-like temperatures welcomed the new international students to Hof – as seen here at the Saale Bridge between Eisteich and Bürgerpark Theresienstein; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

But orientation week did not only focus on university information: in the following days, German online courses were offered for all exchange students. While the courses at Hof University can be taken in English, German basics make it much easier to get immersed in the culture and connect with locals.  It is also a great opportunity to meet fellow international students in smaller groups and exchange questions and advice.

After all the theoretical input, it was time for some fun. International Office/Welcome Center and student assistants organized a variety of events which students could participate in, such as local museum visits, city tours in Hof, Münchberg, and other Bavarian cities, or bar hopping.

Hof is a quaint, small town that makes it easy to get around. Students can enjoy going for a stroll around city center or visiting nearby lake Untreusee. Student assistants from Hof University organized city tours in which smaller groups could get a student’s perspective of living in Hof, introducing places to get the best food and other hidden gems, like Theresienstein park.

On March 12th, more than 20 students took a relaxing walk around lake Untreusee and went bowling afterwards. This was a great time to meet new people, start new friendships and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The next day, an even bigger group met at Hof´s Zoo where they could learn about local species and enjoy the time with their friends. Before going back home, they took a sunny walk to Labyrinth ruins in Hof, a picturesque place full of history.

A visit to Hof’s Untreusee – the year-round recreation area in the south of the city – was of course a must; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The week ended with a history lesson: on Sunday March 20th, students could participate in a tour of the German-German Museum in Mödlareuth. From 1949-1990, this small village was divided in East Germany and West Germany. At the time, it was symbol of a separated country. After the fall of the wall however, it became a symbol of reunification.

A cozy get-together in the evening with cocktails and Hof beer rounded off the program; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Orientation week was a time full of valuable information but also a lot of fun and unforgettable memories. We are happy to welcome such a diverse range of students from different backgrounds, cultural traditions, and beliefs. It is a great opportunity to learn about each other, form lasting bonds, and make the best of the stay at Hof University.

A new beginning has its own challenges, but it is always easier when you are not alone!

Amelie Hörndler

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