by Molly Green, American Exchange Student, Master of Public Health Candidate, The University of Michigan School of Public Health
First comes the look of surprise, then the inevitable question: “so how do you like it?” After I tell people that I am spending my summer in Bayreuth for an internship for my master’s program, they are always very interested in how I feel about it. From the start of my time here, I have been able to respond with how much I am enjoying Bayreuth.
The city can really only be described as quaint-there are cobblestone streets, cafes, old buildings and huge parks. There is a train station and a central marketplace. There are many museums, two opera houses (because, you know, one just isn’t enough), clock towers and palaces. There are wonderful public gardens, and the surrounding countryside is covered in sloping fields and dark forests. Before my arrival, I had been told that Bayreuth was small, tiny even. I would very much disagree. With nearly 70,000 people and 13,000 students at the University, the town is thriving and diverse.
There are a ton of activities going on, both through the University of Bayreuth and the city itself. I spent an evening enjoying some of Bayreuth’s more than 30 museums for a mere 5 Euros. I went to the opening night of an exhibit about the Soviet influence in post-colonial Africa at the Iwalewahaus Museum. I’ve watched the German national soccer team as they’ve made their way through the UEFA 2016 Tournament. I’ve tested the bakeries and beer gardens, and even shared American culture with a brunch party one weekend. I continuously enjoy biking and taking long runs along the many pedestrian and bike paths that surround the city. I’ve tasted the fresh and local vegetables at the farmer’s market and even have a goal of trying every kind of Ritter Sport chocolate before I leave.
My time here this summer has not been limited to enjoying the food and culture of Bayreuth. I have been lucky enough to benefit from the strong connection and partnership between the Health Economics program of the University of Bayreuth and the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Not only have my colleagues here been extremely welcoming, they are also open to and excited about collaboration and cooperation in research and work. I have been invited to work together with both masters’ and doctoral students on a number of projects, and have had the chance to contribute meaningful work and ideas. The faculty in the Health Economics program have been extremely supportive and regularly go above and beyond to support students and their research and work. Through our work and partnership, we’ve been able to move beyond merely exchanging research articles on public health, and have established connections that truly facilitate the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge.
The time I have been able to spend at the University of Bayreuth working with students and faculty has truly helped to shape my experience this summer. I wasn’t sure what to expect before coming here, but I can say with certainty that my enjoyment of Bayreuth would not be the same without the wonderful, hospitable and dedicated people that I have been able to work with. So when asked the question “how do you like it here,” I can honestly and wholeheartedly respond with an exclamation of how great it has been.