Natalie Lehmler, Janosch Rohrssen @ Academy of Fine Arts & Design, Bratislava, Slovakia

Natalie Lehmler, 20, BA student in Visual Communication is doing a study abroad in Intermedia, and Janosch Rohrssen, 26, MA student in Creative Direction is exploring the field of Photography and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts & Design, in Bratislava, Slovakia

AHOJ! means “hello” in Slovak language. Both of us went to Bratislava without really knowing what to expect. We did not know much about the country or the culture or the history because Germany seems to be much more focused on western countries. But it is definitely an amazing experience to just try something completely new and see what happens, so here we are enjoying the very special time here as exchange students. It’s a great time for sure!

THE CITY. Bratislava has a very interesting flair somewhere between historical beautiful and being like a huge lost place. There are many nice and old buildings and right next to them abandoned places filled with trash. The city is quite small for a european capital with about 430.000 citizens, so it has some big city flair (compared to Pforzheim) but is still small enough to get a good orientation in the city center. The public transport system connects the city very well and it is so cheap to use it. 

ACCOMMODATION. You can either choose to live in a student dormitory for only 80€/month where you share a room with someone else or you can find a single room somewhere where you have to pay similar prizes to Pforzheim. Usually the student standards of living are not as good as in Germany, but you get used to it really fast. 

GOING OUT. Like in every big city you can find a lot of nice restaurants and cafes to spend your time and money in. You can find every kind of food and there is no problem to survive as a vegan if you don’t go to the typical Slovak restaurants. In the evenings there are many cosy bars and clubs to go to. You also discover a lot of interesting spots by just walking through the streets of the city or along the river Danube. 

STUDYING. The school has a similar size to the design faculty in Pforzheim, but there are much more international students which is really nice. You can meet people from many different countries who share the same interests. It is divided in departments where you have your main studio and additional to that you can take some special Erasmus classes held in English or choose from all the courses of the school and talk to the teachers if you can attend their class. Sometimes there are language barriers because not all people in Slovakia speak English. But especially with older people German works quite often so you can try a mix between German, English and Slovak. The spirit of the school is very open and free, so you can really decide on what you want to do and what you are interested in. It is a nice opportunity to take your time to follow your passions without having too much pressure from outside. Some studios also organise field trips where you see some more places of the country. 

TOURIST LIFE. There are not so many big tourist attractions in Bratislava itself besides the castle, so many people come here because it has a nice location from where to travel to many places in Europe. It’s really recommended to travel to Vienna, Prague and Budapest for example. But since we are not here to be tourists but to live here for half a year it’s not the sights that make the experience. It is walking through the streets or along the river in the sunshine of the upcoming spring. Discovering new coffees and randomly finding new places. Spending time with people you like and enjoying the opportunity to write a new chapter of your study life from the beginning. 

Thank you Bratislava for that amazing experience!