Student blog: Helen – “Term differences and holiday plans”

Life definitely gets busy around this time of year (hence my lack of posts), and unfortunately it’s not just due to thinking about Christmas. Unlike last year at Lancaster, I haven’t got coursework as such to work on (though I did have a 30 minute individual presentation, *gulp*), rather I’ve just had one exam and have another on Thursday- this doesn’t quite allow the festive spirit as much as usual. To avoid thinking about that, I thought I’d give you some information about the term dates in Germany and the differences to those in England.

The academic year over here isn’t the same as in Lancaster; instead of three terms (Michaelmas, Spring and Summer) there are two semesters (Winter and Summer). Winter semester lasts from (for Tübingen) the middle of October until the middle of February, with a two-week Christmas break (from the 24th December until the 8th January). From mid-February to mid-April there is a two month long semester break; I think some subjects have to write essays in this period, but this isn’t the case for my course. I’ve heard that most people use this time to work, travel or return home (unsure which I’m doing yet, but I know it’s not working!). The summer semester then runs from the middle of April to the end of July, and then August until mid-October is their summer holiday.

It’s quite important to keep these dates in mind, as the summer holidays are quite different, meaning that you need to be careful when applying for summer internships or placements, as many start in the middle of June (when there are still exams). Anyway, that’s the boring part over… now a bit about Christmas!

Unlike a lot of Erasmus students I know, I won’t be back in England for Christmas day. This is partly due to the late semester finishing date, but mostly because I’m half German, and nearly every other year we spend Christmas with my German relatives (obviously it makes sense for this to be when I’m already in the country!) After those few days I will be returning to England, to see friends, my cats and celebrate the New Year. Coming home has been a long time in the making, and I’m really excited; whilst there are so many things I love about being here, for me the holidays are a time to be at home, and I’ll definitely make the most of it!

Alas, back to procrastinating revision… talk soon?