When I told my friends that I was going to study industrial engineering in Karlsruhe, many asked me why. The city, with a population of 300,000, is unremarkable in comparison with its neighbours Freiburg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, but is the location of one of Europe’s largest research institutions.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has achieved an excellent reputation in science and engineering because of some of the major inventions it has pioneered.
The university offers courses ranging from mechanical engineering and computer science to architecture and economics. As an industrial engineer, I have been able to choose from various majors to develop my studies.
Karlsruhe is often called “Germany’s internet city”. Many start-ups in Karlsruhe are related to software, and the university was the first institution in Germany that was connected to the US Computer Science Network (CSNET).
Internationalisation plays a big role at KIT – you will hear many different languages on campus from the exchange and Erasmus students. The university also offers a wide selection of opportunities to go abroad for one or more semesters. After a lot of consideration, I have decided to spend a semester in Singapore and I am looking forward to an exciting time there.
I find the studies themselves quite time-consuming, even though I have only a few mandatory courses to attend. I spend many hours in the recently opened learning centre or the library.
Student experience at young universities
Compared with other university cities in Germany, Karlsruhe has average rents. However, finding a room at the beginning of the semester can be a long and difficult process even though there are many student residences close to campus. The short distance to the Black Forest and France is another plus. These destinations are perfectly suited for a short weekend or day trip.
There are many student-organised clubs, representing almost every kind of extracurricular activity – from organising international social projects to building your own racing car in cooperation with large companies such as Daimler and Porsche, which have their headquarters in nearby Stuttgart.
I have been part of the Formula Student Team KA-RaceIng for seven months now, working on race cars. Beyond the combustion and electric car, we are developing an autonomous race car for the first time this season to compete against teams from universities all over the world.
The best thing about this team is that we apply the knowledge from our studies to real life and gain valuable hands-on experience, as well as improving our teamwork. We also profit enormously from the resources and support of our university and are in close contact with professors and research institutes.
Konstantin Merz is an industrial engineering student at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology