Welcome to Philipps Universität Marburg, Germany

In the About Page of Where Monica Goes, I have mentioned that I am currently an overseas graduate student in Germany and this new website would be an online chronicle of my life abroad as well as my travels around the world. After my previous entries about the Top Reasons Why You Must Study Abroad and 10 Tips on Preparing for your Student Exchange Program, I believe now is the perfect time to share information about my host university. As it is my first time participating in a student exchange program, I am very excited with this new experience and would like others to understand my happiness in being here. I am studying here for five months now and I can confidently say that I love every minute of the program.

Whether you are an existing student or an excited overseas exchange who is digging the Internet for more information about your future university, this website is for you! Without further ado, let me introduce my host university, Philipps Universität Marburg.

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Welcome to my university!

Philipps Universität Marburg: An Introduction

Established in 1512 by the Magnanimous Landgrave Philipp I, the Philipps Universität Marburg is the oldest Protestant university in the world and one of the oldest educational institutions in Germany as well. That is how old the university is! Overtime, it has become a non-secular state university.

For more than five centuries, the institution was proudly a place for research, teaching and learning. A variety of academic disciplines are represented in the university, except engineering. Before, only Medicine, Philosophy, Theology, and Law were offered, but this has expanded to 17 departments encompassing physical and social sciences. The university is especially known for its scientific fields and is home to the country’s traditional medical faculties.

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Elisabethkirche, one of the earliest purely Gothic churches in Germany

Location: Where is Philipps Universität Marburg?

The university is located in Marburg, in the state of Hessen, 100 km north of Frankfurt, heart of Germany. Marburg is a small, charming medieval town popular for its gothic churches and castle. Adding to its enchanting appeal are the cobblestreets, 17th and 18th century timber houses, and Elisabethkirche, one of the first purely Gothic churches ever built.

How to get to Marburg?

From Frankfurt Central Train Station (Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof), take a train in the direction of Kassel and alight at Marburg Main Train Station (Marburg Hauptbahnhof). The ride takes roughly one to one and half hour depending on which train you get – ICE, RE or HLB.

Student body

Marburg has 86, 000 residents, 25 000 of them are students. The majority of the student body comes from all over Germany. Among these, more than 12% are from all over the world, making the university the institution that has the largest foreign students in the entire Hessen state.

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School cafeteria

It is common to see and hear a saying here that goes, “Other towns have a university, but Marburg is a university”. Wherever you are in the town, you are part of a vibrant academic community. Therefore, Marburg is the proverbial “university town” or Universitätsstadt in German

School Fees

Like many German public educational institutions, studying in Philipps Universität Marburg will not require a matriculation or tuition fee. Instead of paying for a lofty sum, the university only requires students to pay for the semester ticket (semestertiket), a student contribution. It costs €150 for Erasmus students and €250 for exchange and free-mover students. The semester ticket enables students entirely free transportation service within the semester ticket area of Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund – RMV whether buses, trains and even IC / EC trains of DB Fernverkehr within the semester and is valid for full seven months. So if you like traveling, this is perfect for you!

Noted alumni

T.S. Eliot, Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Hermann Cohen, Christian Wolff, etc. The list is actually long, but based on my experience here, Marburg is exclusively the Grimm brothers’ town. If you are a fan of their wonderful stories, then you are in for delightful fairytale walks around here!

How is the weather in Marburg?

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This, I believe, is especially true in Marburg. It is normally colder in Marburg due to its location. Especially when you live in Studentendorf where you are surrounded by woods and forest, temperature can drop quickly. Even in summer, temperature can sometimes be as cool as 17 degrees. How can my friends in warm Vienna do sunbathing while my fellow exchange students still wear cardigans? Haha!

Where to stay in Marburg?

As a student, there are many options for accommodation in Marburg. If you are an exchange or overseas student, Studentenwerk Marburg offers affordable student dormitories and flats. In my experience, the university searched and assigned a room for me in a WG or Wohngemeinschaft (shared flat) so I didn’t have the hassle to do it for myself.

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My room in Studentendorf

Aside from this, private accommodation and homestays are also available. I will share more about this in my future posts.

Philipps Universität Marburg is a wonderful and charming university to attend to and if you are considering to take your overseas program here, then you are in for a treat!

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The ball has just started rolling for this blog and this is simply a short overview about Philipps Universität Marburg. More information on Marburg, its town highlights, and overseas students’ survival guides and tips will be uploaded regularly on Where Monica Goes. Stay tuned!

 

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Ultimate Guide to Cebu, Philippines

Locally referred as the Queen City of the South, Cebu Island in the Philippines boasts a healthy and thriving tourism. With a unique mixture of the new and the old, Cebu attracts millions of travelers every year to visit the country’s oldest city as well as experience what the second biggest regional economy has to offer. As such, Cebu charms local and foreign tourists alike with its several historical sights, colorful religious festivals, white sand beaches, pristine waters, world famous diving sites, variety of delicious food, shopping districts, and active nightlife.

For a short introduction, here are some basic facts about Cebu:

BASIC FACTS

Population: Around 2.7 million as of 2010

Drives: Right

Religion: Roman Catholic

Size: 5000 square kilometers

Language: Cebuano/Bisaya (local language), Filipino, English

Currency: Philippine Peso

Peak Season: Christmas, New Year, Lunar New Year, Easter

Low Season: May to October

HOW TO GET TO CEBU:

FLY

One-hour plane ride from Manila, Cebu can be reached with Cebu Pacific Air, AirAsia and Philippine Airlines. The international airport in Cebu can also receive guests flying from Hong Kong and Singapore.

BOAT

As one of the busiest ports in the country, Cebu is well-connected to the majority of shipping lines in the Philippines, making sailing to the island affordable to those who have a luxury of time to travel.

GETTING AROUND CEBU:

Jeepneys are the king of transportation for nearby destinations, but to explore other regions in Cebu, bus and boat rides are necessary. The north and south bus terminals, as well as ports, are easily accessible from Cebu City. Cabs are also available and Grab Taxis are increasing in numbers.

COST OF LIVING IN CEBU:

Cebu, like in almost all places in Philippines, is an affordable province to travel. Small hotels, new hostels and guesthouses are for budget  travelers and backpackers while there are Shangri-la, Mövenpick, Marco Polo, etc. for those with more money to spend. Food will never be an issue as a wide array of restaurants serving local and international cuisines can be easily found. Affordable eateries and bakeshops are also everywhere. When in doubt, a trip to local markets where fresh produce, dairy, and meat are on their cheapest can solve anything.

WHERE TO STAY IN CEBU

Sky is the limit for luxury travelers and there are international hotel chains, which can suit their accommodation needs. For budget travelers and backpackers, on the other hand, there are a lot of hostels, guesthouses, and affordable hotels and apartments. Moalboal, for instance, is a backpacker haven where hostels can go as cheap as €4.50 per night. You can also pitch a tent for free or rent a three-person tent for €5 along Panagsama beach.

WHERE TO GO IN CEBU

Where Monica Goes recommends these areas and islands in Cebu where the author has frequented. Later, separate travel guides and tips will be created to include itinerary, accommodation, and budget breakdown.

Cebu City

If you want to unique and traditional dining experience, taste delicious delicacies, and rich nightlife, Cebu city is for you. There are also a number of bars where live bands play and you can witness Cebuanos’ flare for music.

Mactan Island

Joined with Cebu city through a bridge, but not to be confused with the latter. This is where the local and international airport is. It is also a host of expensive and luxury hotels which are perfect for idyllic vacations.

Moalboal

2.5 hour bus drive south of Cebu city, this island is internationally known as the diving Mecca in Southeast Asia. Clear, emerald waters rich with marine life will definitely amaze travelers. Pescador Island, White Beach and Panagsama Beach are highly recommended especially for most budget travelers.

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Kawasan Falls, Badian. Image Source

Badian

Also two hours from town proper, Badian is always flocked with tourists who want to see the majestic beauty of Kawasan Falls and do adrenaline-pumping canyoneering.

Bantayan Island

The only area featured here which is located in the north, Bantayan island boasts a natural beauty that is incomparable to its neighbors. It has tranquil sea and white sand beach, which will make the four-hour trip to this paradise worth it. 

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Whaleshark encounter, Oslob. 

Oslob

On the southern tip of Cebu, this area has been known worldwide as home to the largest mammal on the planet – the whalesharks. In here, travelers can have interaction and swim with the gentle giants.

WHAT TO DO IN CEBU

  • Visit Magellan’s Cross and other historic churches

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan conquered Cebu and planted a wooden cross to symbolize the conversion of Cebuanos from paganism to Christianity. The rich religious history of the Philippines arguably started in Cebu and thus made it a tourist destination especially for devoted locals who want to pray at the holy site.

  • Attend Sinulog Festival

Cebu is famous in the entire Philippines for its loud and colorful Sinulog festival. Once every third Sunday of January, local and foreign tourists flock the Queen City of the South to witness the celebration of Christianity dedicated to Santo Nino, the child Jesus.

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  • Island hopping

Cebu is a group of islands by itself and it would never be a bad idea to explore each of these islands.

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  • Snorkeling and diving

Cebu’s islands are rich with underwater life that it would be a shame not to go in and take a dip. A famous diving spot, Moalboal will simply take the breath of anyone with its coral reefs teeming with marine biodiversity. What’s best is that snorkeling and diving lessons for absolute beginners are very budget-traveler friendly! Interact with the whalesharks in Oslob as well or swim with thousands of sardines in Pescador island.

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Sardine run, Moalboal, Cebu
  • Canyoneering

Badian is popular for this thrilling and exhilarating activity. Try to be in a bigger group to save money and gain more friends.

Cebu is Where Monica Goes’ favorite island in the Philippines and she tries to visit it at least once a year. Even as a frequent traveler, she still discovers many places to explore. From idyllic beaches, wonderful marine biodiversity, rich heritage, and friendly locals, the coastal pleasure one can experience in Cebu will surely make any tourist to keep coming back. The author can attest to that.

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Have you been to Cebu? Which is your favorite destination? Share your experiences with me!