"I'm not here just to study, I want to live here too"

26 Oct 2021

As regular lectures begin again, life returns to the campus. How have people experienced the onset of the new term? – Impressions of university life.

"Every new semester is a new start", said cabaret artiste Bumillo during the online reception for first-year students. The comment is especially apt for this semester. The Winter Semester 2021/22 opens a new chapter in the lives of some 8000 new students, while for others, after three semesters dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a welcome return to LMU’s Main Building and Central Campus. Needless to say, their teachers are equally happy to see lecture theaters fill up with eager audiences. Below, several members of the staff share insights into their university worlds. To quote Bumillo again, "I'm not here just to study, I want to live while I'm here."

Professor Johann Kranz, Munich School of Management

LMU’s Professor Johann Kranz signaled his elated reaction to his first face-to-face presentation in a post on LinkedIn. – And there were many welcome-back posts on other social-media sites, as the new term got going.

“It’s good to be back ?? After 615 days of absence and teaching to Zoom tiles, I could finally welcome our new bachelor students in person ?? ?? Good start y’all at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München’s School of Management! Stay safe, sound, and curious!“

Helena Arndt, student and EU Careers Ambassador for LMU

“In the new semester, I’m looking forward particularly to the breaks at lunchtime and for coffee with my fellow students behind the University. After the online semesters, I yearn for personal contacts – for opportunities to talk with others after lectures, and get to know new people. Only now, in the Library, have I seen some students ‘in the flesh’ whom I recognize from online lectures. – And it struck me that the camera cannot really give one any idea of how big or small people really are.”

Some of my review courses are hybrid modules, and I will personally attend the first truly live session on Tuesday. The early sessions were quickly booked out, which means that the demand is huge, and there are very many others like me – everyone is itching to be there in person. Hybrid formats do have advantages though. I was even able to hear lectures from Budapest, and that would have been unthinkable prior to COVID-19.

Andreas Bartholomä, Head of the Office of Legal Studies dnd Coordinator of Digital Tuition in the Faculty of Law

Andreas Bartholomä in one of the law school's studios set up specifically for hybrid classes.

“Life returned to Professor-Huber-Platz 2 on 18 October. One week prior to that, 800 of our 1000 new students had received their first direct impressions of the University and their Faculty. – And long-forgotten memories made themselves felt again.”

“To re-establish face-to-face instruction as the norm for the new Winter Semester, the Office of Legal Studies in the Faculty of Law had considered and tested a variety of technical options. It was clear that, despite our intention to return to the lecture hall, we would still have to provide a complete study program for those who were unable attend lectures in person. So we purchased 10 mobile video-conference sets, which were set up in the various lecture halls. They have been in operation since Monday, enabling us to offer synchronous or delayed hybrid tuition. With few exceptions, courses with less than 200 enrolled students are now taught in the classroom. All others will, for the moment, be taught in a purely digital format. We can now produce many of these virtual lectures in the Faculty’s own studios as either livestreams or podcasts.”

“So far, most of our students have reacted positively to the concept. – And we are grateful for their willingness to tolerate the odd mishap.”

Sabine Muecher, LMU porter

Lost at the main building? Sabine Muecher will be happy to help.

“Today, we open our lovely doors again," said an obviously delighted Sabine Muecher on Monday. "On opening day, lots of students come by with lots of questions, and there’s plenty to do. First-year students always have questions – and they’re always welcome to ask them. We help everyone to find their way around.”

“I enjoy my contacts with so many people – that’s why I love my job so much.”

Sofie Schalkhausser, Head of the Student Information Service

The student employees of the Student Information Service are often the first point of contact for questions about studying.

"At the moment, we deal with an average of 1500 calls per day. As usual at the beginning of a new semester, the most frequent questions have to do with questions like what studying involves and how it works, how one puts a study schedule together, and where classes will take place. But many callers want to know whether there will be more face-to-face teaching during this Winter Semester."

"We advise callers to take advantage of the introductory courses in their subjects. These provide important information on how to organize studies and enroll for courses, and how much face-to-face teaching will be provided in that particular subject."

Caro, Clara, Jana and Sophia, students of Earth Sciences

Caro, Clara, Jana and Sophia during their excursion to the Canary Islands.

“A few weeks before the new semester started, we were able to take part in an excursion to the volcanos of the Canary Islands. We were in a group of 17 students led by Drs. Küppers, Cimarelli and Kunzmann and spent 12 days on La Palma and Tenerife.”

"All four of us are studying Earth Sciences and we are in our fifth semester. Owing to the pandemic, we have not been able to go on many field trips, and this made our time on the Canaries even more exciting. Of course, the highlight of the excursion was the opportunity, in the last few days, to experience the eruption on La Palma – including its social consequences. In the field, we found much inspiration for the new semester. We also had the chance to talk to the international team of scientists at the Canary Islands Institute of Volcanology (INVOLCAN)."

Next year, two of us will submit our Bachelors' theses on the subject of volcanology. – But one of the most positive aspects of the trip was that we were able to spend lots of time with our fellow students, whom we had so rarey seen during the online semesters."

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