up2date. Das Onlinemagazin der Universtiät Bremen

Starting Your Degree in Times of Corona

Preparatory math courses, workshops, campus tours: How the University of Bremen is supporting its new students

Only a few weeks are left before several thousand freshmen enter into a new phase of their life: They are beginning their degrees at the University of Bremen. In times of corona. But no need to panic – no one will be left alone. Events are starting as early as next week. up2date. provides an overview of the help on offer at the beginning.

The winter semester 2020/21 is the first ever hybrid semester in the history of the University of Bremen. Digital and analogue teaching are being combined. That is a special challenge for those beginning their studies. How is it meant to work when you do not even know the university? And have possibly very little experience with learning via video conferences? The best way is to be prepared. An important event is the orientation week from October 26-30. But there is also a great deal to do beforehand.

An Orientation Aid: The Uni-Start-Portal

Your first click should lead you to the Uni-Start-Portal. As the name gives away, you can find all information regarding starting your studies there. When is the introductory class for my degree program? Where can I find information on online classes? And what offers are available for international students? As a special way of preparing for the hybrid semester there is extra information on the topic of digital teaching with important tips on day-to-day study life during the pandemic – and you’ll notice that your questions are already disappearing.

Additionally, the Uni-Start-Portal provides bundled information on the introductory events for individual degree courses. Several of them offer special preparatory courses before the orientation week. They are meant to help refresh your school-based knowledge – for example in math. Some of the courses already start on October 5, and you must register beforehand.

There are two types of campus tours this year due to the corona pandemic: In small groups on campus or digitally. The photo was taken last year.
© Matej Meza / Universität Bremen

Settling In: The Unchartered Territory of University

In the 90-minute “Neuland Uni” workshop held by the Central Student Advisory Service, experienced students will answer your questions on beginning your studies and will also provide tips to help you find your feet. The workshops will take place between October 19, and 23. The main focus is: Who is responsible for which matters? How will I find my way? And what does it mean to study? Due to corona, all workshops will run as a Zoom meeting. The short workshops can be optimally complemented with a virtual or even live campus tour. You can find the dates and registration form (must be submitted by October 14) here.

Specialization: Faculty Events and Offers

Alongside all of the general introductory sessions, there are also special events held by the individual faculties. It is worth taking a look at the relevant websites – all twelve faculties are linked via the “Quicklinks” button in the top right-hand corner of the university homepage. The Faculty of Biology / Chemistry has, for example, prepared video tutorials for its freshmen. The videos explain how the individual degree programs are put together, amongst other things. Some of the videos deal with practical things like the entry requirements for laboratories or a freshman checklist.

Networking: The Student Unions

Most of the new students will meet their student unions during the orientation week, which starts on October 26, at the latest. The unions are the student representatives on the degree program level and are also the first point of contact for students who have questions regarding the course of their studies or problems. And they also help to prepare the orientation week. You can find the student unions’ contact details on this wiki page.

There is not only a great deal of information available for freshmen during the orientation week. It is worthwhile taking a look online in the weeks beforehand.
© Matej Meza / Universität Bremen

Stay Up to Date: Freshman Service on Social Media

The university’s social media channels are another great place to network and to stay up to date. There is a special freshman Instagram account @unibremenerstis - with interesting information on starting your degree, services on campus, and practical aids – such as how to put together your semester ticket or how to use the Mensa cafeteria in times of corona.

In the University of Bremen freshman 2020/21 Facebook group, the students starting their degrees communicate directly with each other. This is a simple way of finding others studying the same subject as yourself. Additionally, the university also provides tips on your degree start there – as they do on Instagram.

Find Out More: Helpful Contacts

One of the places to go if you have questions about your degree start is the Central Student Advisory Service. The staff there are currently only able to be reached via phone at 0421 218-61169 or via email due to the corona pandemic. You can reach them via phone between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The Academic Advisory Offices in each faculty can help if you have questions or a problem.

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