The Question!

How do you experience the cultural diversity at the university?

One university, 46 degree programs and almost 4,890 students - with 1,679 internationals, around 100 nations study in Ilmenau. A colorful campus where many cultures come together. But how do students experience this cultural diversity? We asked six students.

Eva Seidl

Marius Engler, 23, Berlin

Regenerative Energy Technology, 2nd semester Master

I live on campus in a 3-person shared flat with an international from Russia, but the biggest culture shock was of course my Bavarian roommate. Living in a shared flat with different cultures is interesting - you always have different conversations, different perspectives and gather new impressions virtually every day. But I also come together with many cultures during sports in my volleyball classes, where I've also been able to learn some proverbs in other languages. It also makes communication easier: if you make a little joke and everyone laughs - perfect! I think the cultural diversity on campus is great because you don't fall back into monotony in the first place. It's always colorful, you get new impulses and never stop learning. We also have many associations, such as we4you or ISWI e.V., which organize many events with and for internationals, which I think is great.


Eva Seidl

Monika Wolak, 24, Krakau

Applied Media and Communication Studies, 6th semester Bachelor

There are so many different people at the university and you have contact with all the cultures of the world. I think it's great that you can show and live your culture here. I can also highly recommend the sports courses, especially the dance courses. From Salsa to Hip-Hop to Bollywood, here you get a good insight into different cultures. The many events on campus are also great for learning new things: For us Europeans, many things are taken for granted, but then you have to show some people what Christmas is or explain the meaning of Ramadan to us in return - I find this exchange wonderful. At home in Poland, there is not so much cultural diversity, so it was here that I first saw what the world really looks like.

Eva Seidl

Julius Prenzel, 24, Coburg

Media Technology, 2nd semester MA

In my opinion, the Mensawiese in Ilmenau is the most intercultural spot in Thuringia. Especially in the summer at lunchtime, many people meet outside to collect vitamin B. What I love most is the similar mindset of the people here, even though they are so culturally different. One of the biggest lessons for me was that despite the typical stereotypes, you can't generalize - especially when you meet several from one culture, you realize how individual each person is after all. The cool thing about Ilmenau is that you gain a lot of intercultural experience and make new contacts. My group of friends now consists mainly of internationals. Real friendships have been formed here that are pretty much certain to last beyond the university years.

Eva Seidl

Anne Zerbst, 30, Leipzig

Biomedical Engineering, 2nd Semester Bachelor

I come into contact with different cultures through my work as a student assistant in health management, especially because we have a requirement to take diversity aspects into account. We are always interested in where the interests of international students lie and don't just want to look at it from a German perspective. I also like the different attitudes that people have here on campus. We as Germans are sometimes a bit uptight or worry a lot about the consequences of our actions. International students are much more relaxed and I find that very pleasant. In my first month at TU, I was walking around campus and in front of one of the dorms there was a dance event with Indian dances. It was really nice to see this huge group dancing for themselves - that was the first time I saw how many cultural influences there are on campus.

Eva Seidl

Pritish Chowdhury, 29, Kolkata

Communications and Signal Processing, 5. Semester Master

I have been here since 2019 and have visited many cities in Germany since then. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the greatest cultural diversity can be found in Ilmenau. Most of the time I come into contact with other cultures in front of the Mensa. On Friday nights, there are always a lot of different parties going on there - with one or two drinks, you usually loosen up and get into conversation with others more easily. This cultural diversity on campus helps you broaden your own horizons. You learn how people think and how you have to deal with them individually. The best thing I learned for myself is not to judge too quickly. It's only when you start talking to people that you really get to know them. The people here are very friendly - all in all, I would recommend Ilmenau as a place to study to anyone who wants to come here and gain international experience.

Eva Seidl

Patricia Nöther, 22, Leipzig

Technical Cybernetics and Systems Theory, 8th semester BA

I come into contact with many cultures mainly through the EWO ("Ersti-Woche"), where I have been part of the management since 2021. We have a cooperation with the ISWI e.V., where we offer an international buffet at the get-to-know-you barbecue during the Ersti-Week. This way, we want to introduce all first-year students to the different cultures. During a closed meeting of the StuRa, we first noticed the hurdles that international students face here. The language barrier is always a huge problem, so there should be much more understanding and more courses should be offered in English. The best thing about the diversity here is to see how colorful the world is. Sooner or later I will come into contact with other cultures anyway - I think it's nice to experience that in Ilmenau already. I am very proud that we are not so isolated. We have the world at home, with all its positive and negative aspects.