Places to visit near Stuttgart if you want to escape city life

Places to visit near Stuttgart if you want to escape city life

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The hustle and bustle of a city life can be overwhelming at times and we often yearn to escape the urban realm and move to quieter, calmer and more scenic spaces. If you live in Stuttgart and have this feeling, this blog will help you decide which places to visit to take a little break from the city.

Schloss Solitude

Built between the years 1764 to 1775, Schloss Solitude is a small palace located on the edge of Stuttgart with brilliant views of the surrounding areas. Designed in the late Rococo and early Neoclassical styles, Schloss Solitude and its vast green space make a popular spot for hearty picnics, romantic rendezvous and photography sessions.

A hunting lodge and summer residence for Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg, the palace was envisioned to have endless gardens, a game park and woodland. The palace is connected to Ludwigsburg Residential Palace through Solitude Allee which is an avenue that stretches in a straight line for over 13 kilometres from the north gate of Solitude to Ludwigsburg.

Today, a part of the estate houses Akademie Schloss Solitude – an institution that supports young artists, and Fritz Graevenitz Museum, displaying works by the native Stuttgart sculptor.


Located just 15 minutes away from Stuttgart, the city of Ludwigsburg is a place to visit for its beautiful palace, Christmas market and world famous pumpkin festival.

With its 452 rooms and elaborate decor, Ludwigsburg Palace screams Versailles left, right and centre. The marble-embellished hunting pavilion, Baroque chapel and 30 hectares of garden made the palace one of the largest in Germany of its period.

Photo on Unsplash.

The city is also known for being home to the largest pumpkin festival in the world, with around  400,000 pumpkins of different shapes and sizes on display at the back of the palace. Hundreds of locals as well as foreigners flock to the town for pumpkin art, shopping and eating.

If you are visiting the city during Christmas time, you are in for a treat with its magnificent Christmas market. The hard-to-resist smell of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread will welcome you to the market and the charming lights display will keep you glued to the place.


Situated on the banks of River Neckar, Esslingen is only 14 kilometers away from Stuttgart. Founded more than 1,200 years ago, the city boasts hundreds of historic buildings, winding cobbled lanes and several museums.

One of the most famous landmarks of the city is the Esslingen Burg –  a castle built by the citizens as a town fortification and was never used by a member of the nobility. Today, the place provides sweeping views of the city and makes a great spot to just sit back and relax.

Of its numerous museums, the Stadtmuseum in Gelben Haus, JF Schreiber Museum and Museum St Dionys will take you down memory lane with its stories of glorious past. On the other hand, the city has a handful of galleries as well which display contemporary art.

With its several hundred years of history, the city is bound to have many myths and legends. And if you are interested, there are many ghost tours which you can enjoy if you have a heart for murders, executions and witchcraft.


Tübingen is where the past and present meet in the most beautiful ways; while on one hand, the city has its charming marketplace with stunning old structures such as its Rathaus, on the other hand, it is a cosmopolitan city of young students.

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Just 30 kilometres away from Stuttgart, Tübingen can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. A boat ride down River Neckar for a peaceful getaway; a walk through the old town to marvel at the architecture of a bygone era or a visit to Alter Botanischer Garten to admire the tulips and tropical plants.

The Cistercian Monastery of Tübingen is also very popular among visitors as it is one of the oldest monasteries in entire Europe. Its stunning building and calm courtyard make up not just a historic site but also a residence for more than 90 monks.

Württemberg Hill

If you are a fan of viewpoints, there’s another spot you would enjoy – the chapel on Württemberg Hill. A monument of eternal love, the chapel was built on the orders of King Wilhelm I in the memory of his beloved wife Katharina, who died at a young age. Constructed between 1820 and 1824, the chapel overlooks the Neckar Valley and is situated on the site of the former family residence of the dukes of Württemberg which was also the queen’s favourite place.

Inspired by Pantheon in Rome, the chapel is a burial place for not just Queen Katharina but King Wilhelm himself and their daughter Marie Friederike Charlotte.

End your trip to the chapel by taking a walk through the lush vineyards that surround the area; smell of fresh grapes and sight of green climbing plants will keep you enthralled as long as you stroll through the area.


It would be a shame if you live in Stuttgart (or anywhere in Baden-Württemberg) and don’t visit the Black Forest. And so for this very reason, you should head to Tribery – a little town tucked in the Black Forest with everything a German postcard is made of: lederhosen and dirndls, traditional German food and dense forests.

Photo on Unsplash.

Home to Germany’s highest waterfall – the Triberger Wasserfälle, Triberg is a treat for anyone wanting to hike or just sit and stare into nothingness. This is also the place where you must try the world famous Black Forest cake (yes, this is where the cake gets its name from); soaked in cherry water and laden with fluffy cream, the cake is any dessert-loving person’s dream come true.

The forest is also known for its cuckoo clocks and you can explore a collection of them from last few centuries at the Triberg Black Forest Museum. If interested to buy them as souvenirs, you can head to many shops that sell them in this quaint town.


Famous people who studied at University of Stuttgart

Famous people who studied at University of Stuttgart

Bildnachweis: estherm /

If you study or are planning to study at the University of Stuttgart and want to find out why this is a brilliant institution to be associated with, here’s a list of its past students who made a name for themselves and their university around the world. Get inspired!

Gottlieb Daimler

Probably the most famous alumnus of University of Stuttgart to this date, Gottlieb Daimler was the inventor of motor engine – an invention which revolutionised mobility in ways never imagined before. Born in Schorndorf in 1834, Daimler took technical drawing classes and worked as a gunmaker before he acquired technical knowledge which led to his great invention. He gained practical experience in mechanical engineering in France and attended university in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859.

Gottlieb Daimler

During his tenure as a workshop inspector at the engineering factory of Bruderhaus Reutlingen (an institution for the socially disadvantaged), Daimler met Wilhelm Maybach who will go on to become his business partner and friend for years to come.

With relevant work experience in France, England and Germany, Daimler bought a villa in Cannstatt in 1882 and set up a workshop in its garden to work on his idea of building a motor engine which could move people on earth, water and air.

Wilhelm Maybach

As introduced above, Wilhelm Maybach was a lifelong business partner of Daimler who shared the same goal as his friend of creating small, high-speed engines to be fitted in locomotion device. Internationally known as the King of Designers in the 1890s, Maybach was born in Heilbronn in 1846 and trained at Bruderhaus Reutlingen for technical skills.

In 1882, Maybach followed Daimler to Cannstatt to work on the idea of a lightweight, high-speed internal combustion engine. A year later, he developed the first experimental horizontal engine and then the Grandfather Clock engine with a vertical cylinder. With the ambition to work beyond simple coaches, Maybach developed steel-wheeled car with gear wheel transmission – a design which was introduced to the world at the 1889 World Fair in Paris, making Maybach partly responsible for developing French motor industry.

Maybach was appointed as chief engineer when Daimler founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890. Despite on and off association with the company, Maybach developed the tubular radiator, the honeycomb radiator and the first four-cylinder automotive engine. His design for the first Mercedes caused a stir at the Nice Week, changing radically how cars were made.

Due to his world famous achievements, Maybach was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Stuttgart in 1916.

Ulf Merbold

Ulf Merbold. Er war als einziger Deutscher dreimal im All.

Born in Greiz in 1941, Merbold was the second German native to fly into space (second to Sigmund Jähn). He was also the first European Space Agency astronaut to go into space aboard a US flight in 1983 and to Russian space station Mir in 1994.

Merbold received a diploma in Physics from the Stuttgart University in 1968 and a doctorate in Sciences 1976. He then went on to join the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart to study solid state physics and low temperature physics.

For his outstanding work, Merbold has been granted with numerous awards such as the First Class Order of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of the States of Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Haley Space Flight Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Horst Störmer

A Nobel laureate for his achievements in the field of physics, Horst Störmer was born in Frankfurt in 1949. Coming from the family of carpenters, farmers and blacksmiths, Störmer struggled with English and German in school but excelled in science subjects. At the university level, he dabbled with design and architecture before moving completely to physics and mathematics education.

Störmer received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart in 1977 for his thesis on the properties of electron hole droplets in high magnetic fields. After finishing his PhD in two years, Störmer moved to United States to work for Bell Labs –  the research arm of American Telephone and Telegraph and the mecca of solid state research. This is where his research work on discovery of a new form of quantum fluid, in collaboration with Daniel Tsui and Robert Laughlin, brought him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

With a passion for teaching, Störmer left Bell Labs after 20 years of service and became the professor of physics and applied physics at Columbia University in New York City.

Gustav Bauernfeind

One of the most notable painters of the Eastern world, Gustav Bauernfeind was born in 1848 in Sulz am Neckar but soon moved to Stuttgart most likely to escape his father’s political past.

Bauernfeind completed his architecture studies between 1864 and 1869 at the University of Stuttgart and soon began his career as an architect. However, he wasn’t fully satisfied with the jobs and projects he undertook and then in 1881, he finally took his first journey to the East.

The work of Bauernfeind is a beautiful amalgamation of elements f

rom Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures, making the painter famous among art lovers of the Middle East but also Europe and America and achieving sales in seven-digit range. However, during his lifetime, Bauernfeind struggled with selling his art and was often plagued with self-doubt. He was quickly forgotten after his death and only became known to the world when a citizen of the town of Sulz am Neckar, Hugo Schmid, rediscovered his art in the 70s and wrote a biography.    

Achilles Papapetrou

Born in 1907, Greek physicist Achilles Papapetrou was a leading researcher in the field of general relativity for more 50 years. He is known for the Mathisson–Papapetrou–Dixon equations, the Majumdar–Papapetrou solution, and the Weyl−Lewis−Papapetrou coordinates of gravity theory.

After studying mechanical and electrical engineering in Athens between 1925 and 1930, Papapetrou moved to Germany for his doctorate studies at the University of Stuttgart in 1934. Later, Papapetrou went back to Athens to teach electrical engineering and took part in Greek resistance to German occupation. He then worked as a researcher in Dublin and Manchester before moving to East Berlin where he trained young physicists and conducted research on gravitational shock waves and equations of motion.

In addition to his groundbreaking research work and training of the young generation of scientists, Papapetrou wrote over a hundred articles and two highly regarded textbooks, one on special relativity in German and one on general relativity in English.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer

Foto: CERN/Maximilien Brice –

German physicist Rolf-Dieter Heuer headed CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics near Geneva, as its director-general from 2009 to 2015. He studied physics at the University of Stuttgart and worked as a staff member at CERN from 1984 to 1998. For most part, he worked on the construction and operation of large particle detector systems for studying electron-positron collisions.

Heuer left CERN in 1998 and started teaching at the University of Hamburg, where he worked on preparations for experiments for possible future electron-positron linear collider. In 2009, he returned to CERN as its director general.

Heuer has been awarded with honourary degrees by several universities such as University of Birmingham and University of Liverpool. He was also awarded with German Order of Merit and  UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal as well as appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Martin Jetter

Joining IBM in 1986 as application engineer in an industrial branch office, today Martin Jetter is Senior Vice President of IBM Global Technology Services. Jetter studied mechanical engineering with special focus on field automation at the University of Stuttgart.

Jetter held several position at IBM before becoming the senior vice president such as General Manager and President of IBM Japan, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at IBM Corporation as well General Manager of IBM Germany.



Ready, steady, cook: Around the world in 12 recipes

Ready, steady, cook: Around the world in 12 recipes

As a student, one is always looking for the nearly impossible combination of good food that is easy to make and light on pocket. But miracles do happen. Below is a list of mouth-watering meals from around the world which you can easily cook in your student dorm to enjoy the taste of globalisation.

Photo on Unsplash.

Ratatouille – France

Sauté chopped onions, garlic, and bell peppers in olive oil; add salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes and basil and cook until it all turns into a smooth paste. Slice eggplants, zucchinis and tomatoes and layer them alternatively on top of the tomato paste in a baking pan. Bake for one hour and eat while hot.   

Pulao – Pakistan/India

Marinate chicken in yogurt, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and ginger-garlic paste for one hour. Sauté cumin seeds, star anise, cinnamon stick, green and black cardamom and bay leaf in a pot; then add fried onions and marinated chicken. Mix a little and add soaked basmati rice. Add water and cook until the rice and chicken are cooked.  

Pizza – Italy

Use readymade dough or make your own (mix flour, salt, yeast and  water into dough and leave it overnight) for the crust. Mix tomato paste, parmesan cheese, seasonings of your preference and a splash of maple syrup to make the first layer on top of your crust. Add any topping you like – from sliced mushrooms, sausages to bell peppers – and finish it off with cheese. Bake it for 10 minutes and enjoy your heart out.

Shepherd’s pie – British

Sauté chopped onions and carrots in olive oil. Add minced meat, tomato puree, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and Worcester sauce and cook until the meat is tender. Transfer this into a baking pan and put a layer of mashed potatoes on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes till the top is slightly golden and crispy.

Chicken Fajita – Mexico

Season chicken breasts with chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Put them in a slow cooker (or a non-stick pan) along with sliced bell peppers, onions, chopped garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice and let them cook on slow heat for 3 hours. Take the chicken out and shred the meat; mix it back with the vegetables and then wrap in tortillas.

Chicken corn soup – China

Photo on Unsplash.

Boil chicken (preferably parts with bones) for a few hours to make stock. Take chicken out and remove the meat; throw the bones and add the meat to the stock. Lightly blend canned corn and add to the stock along with salt and pepper. Thicken the soup with cornstarch and add beaten egg while constantly mixing the soup. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions and enjoy.  

Hummus – Middle East

Mix chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and seasonings in a blender. While blending, slowly add olive oil and water until hummus is creamy and smooth. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy it with flatbread or fresh vegetables.   

Kumpir – Turkey

Find the biggest potato and bake it for an hour. Cut it into half, scoop out the inside and mix it with salt and parmesan cheese. Stuff it back into the potato skin and top it with assortments of your choice – peas, olives, sausages or corn.

Beef Goulash – Hungary

Sauté cubed beef in a pan until they turn nice golden brown. Move the meat to another dish and sauté chopped onions and green bell peppers in the pan. Add the beef again and mix everything with salt, paprika, tomatoes and oregano. Cook for two hours until the meat is tender and the gravy is thick. Eat it with boiled rice or baked potatoes.

Tortilla de Patatas – Spain

Deep fry thinly sliced onions till they are slightly caramalised and potatoes until they are fully cooked. Break eggs in a bowl and add the fried onions, potatoes and salt to it. Mix (not whisk) everything together slowly and leave it for 5-10 minutes. Put the mixture in a pan on low heat and cook until the side turns light brown. Turn it and cook the other side the same way.

Photo on Unsplash.

Poutine – Canada

Fry or bake potatoes to make french fries. Season them with salt and pepper when hot. Make gravy by cooking stock of your choice with butter and flour for thickening. Put fries in a pan, add cheese curd (or mozzarella cheese) and drizzle the gravy on top.

Jollof Rice – Nigeria (and many West African countries)

Blend tomatoes, red bell peppers, scotch bonnet peppers (if available) and onions into a paste. In a separate pan, fry chopped onions and tomato puree until it is cooked nicely. Add the tomato-pepper paste to the pan as well as bay leaves, dried thyme, salt and chicken stock cubes. Cook for 15 minutes and then add rice (washed several times to get rid of the starch). Add water, cover and cook until the rice are fully cooked.



Aside from your major, what university life really teaches you

Aside from your major, what university life really teaches you

For many, going to a university is their first step into adulthood. And while we learn the fine details of quantum physics, Da Vinci’s art and trickle-down theory in the classrooms, university life teaches us more than the courses we register for; lessons of friendship, compromise and hardwork. Below, we take a look at what university life really teaches us.


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Three assignments, one paper and five hangout plans with friends; university life is all about making and honouring commitments, and when you are pressed for time  – which is usually the case – you have to make choices and prioritize according to your needs and wishes. It might be tough at the beginning but after the first semester, you will master the art of managing your time efficiently and doing what matters the most first.      

Living with others

Growing up in your hometown, studying with the people you know and having the same circle of friends since childhood are the comforts you leave behind when you move to a university for higher education. And as overwhelming as it may seem in the first few months, you soon learn to live with new people – new classmates, new locals and new roommates; you learn to invite new people into your life and live with them.

Grocery shopping

At home, the only thing you had to worry about was getting to the dinner table when the food was ready. You didn’t know (or care) how and when the vegetables, bread and meat arrived in your kitchen. And even if you had a little idea of the concept of grocery shopping, you didn’t know the extent of it; butter or margarine, paper towel or napkins, liquid soap or bar? Well, all of that changes when you start your university life; from knowing the price of 1kg potatoes to the right amount of toilet papers, you learn it all.   

Paying bills

The economic system we live in, everything comes with a price tag and while living with your family you take basic necessities for granted, as an independent university student you soon realise that you have to pay for the water that runs in your tap and the electricity that powers your laptop. More importantly, you learn that you have to be punctual with the bills or else you could be making that really important phone call and realise that the connection has been suspended because of unpaid dues.

Managing money

It is true that no amount of money will ever be enough for humans to say that have as much as they want. But shortage of money is genuine and heartbreaking when you are a student; do you pay the rent or buy the textbook you need for the upcoming exam or you sit and regret why you went out three nights straight. After a few hiccups, you soon learn how to use your money wisely to live, study and graduate.

Socialising and making friends

Photo on Unsplash.

It is easy to drown yourself in studies and get stuck in the classroom-dorm-library routine but to live a healthy life, you have to have a social circle. Meeting strangers and making friends as an adult can be a daunting task but with a little effort and some trial and error, you teach yourself to attract good company and build healthy relationships.

Inventing recipes

You may be craving your mom’s famous pasta for dinner but you don’t have the time and ingredients to create that masterpiece. So you make do; you mix what you have in the pantry with a pinch of memories of home and a slice of mama’s love. Wallah! You have got yourself your own recipe which tastes great, is economical and easy to make. Your university life will be filled with such landmark events.

DIY skills

Necessity is the mother of invention and so when you finish your ice cream tub, you immediately know you will make a few holes at the bottom and use the container to plant your avocado seeds in it. Pickle jar as a toothbrush holder, bags made out of newspapers and Amazon boxes for storage under the bed – you learn to recycle and build your own stuff when you live independently on a tight budget.

House chores

One of the major realisations when you step into the adult life is that the dishes don’t do themselves and the garbage doesn’t get to the dumpster by magic. From doing laundry, cleaning your room to cooking three meals a day, university life teaches you how to run a household while you also study and work.


Photo on Unsplash.

Your parents and friends may tolerate (or even accept) your struggle with time but your professors and classmates won’t. Being on time for the 8:30am class, meeting for group assignments on the weekend and sending birthday wishes before it is late are steps towards becoming a more punctual person with each passing semester.





Out of the ‘Classroom’ ways to learn German

Out of the ‘Classroom’ ways to learn German

There usually are three kinds of people. Those who plan everything beforehand and pretty much hold on to the plans. Those who do not, whatsoever and leave it to the ‘gods’. And those who transit between the two cases. While I plan a lot of things, although not to the ‘German detail’, there are quite a few things I just do not. Or rather, let the time decide on my behalf. As it turns out, it works sometimes and for obvious reasons, sometimes, it doesn’t. I did not think twice before applying to an international master’s program in Germany. I did it, got admitted and then the question eventually arrived. Although quite late, it more or less punched right on the face. How are you planning to survive Germany without German? The brave me said: we’ll make it through, stop panicking. While the sensible and objective me reminded me of the seriousness of the situation and also reminded of the task in question was to learn a language. Of all, German.

Although my course was in English, there is no challenging the fact that in order for one to keep afloat, knowing the local language is indispensable. The blank stares do not work for too long you see? Or, at some point, you have to let go off your dictionary application to check for the allergic ingredients in your groceries.

There is no overseeing the boon the classroom German lessons have been. Nevertheless, as a student, it’s quite often the case that you can’t afford either of the two things: Money and time. And, sometimes, to make things worse, both. When we face a situation of the sorts, we have two options. 1. Whine about things you lack and daydream of how the world would turn around had you had all these things and 2. Make things happen. No matter what. In my opinion, true intention and perseverance is all it takes for you to get anywhere you want. Let’s stall the philosophy and cut to the chase right away.

Internet and intention

I’m of the opinion that if you have got internet and the intention to learn something, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. There literally are a thousand ways to get you home. Online courses are a big-time favorite of mine. These days, with the ever-expanding internet, there are handsome choices available. If you are looking for a structured online course, websites like lingoda offer a great deal. There are courses depending on your level and also, you can get a valid certificate after completion. Although the certified courses are as expensive as the intensive courses, the selling point is the flexibility. Not to forget, the free courses offered on Deutsche Welle are of great quality and structured and interesting as well. So, all that you pay is your time.

Of course, YouTube also has some nice lessons from various teachers who do a great job. My favorite is “learn Deutsch mit Anja”. Although they are quite helpful, the problem lies in them not being structured. You may have to figure out a way to get through them. I tried following the specific playlists according to the level and also at times when I had a particular grammar issue, they helped. Also, with Netflix eating up our leisure time, changing the subtitles or the audio to German turns out to be a win-win. Who doesn’t like win-wins?

The mobile applications such as Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise, and others (that, I have no idea of) help in improving our vocabulary. As they can be accessed anytime and keep reminding us to keep learning, our vocab skyrockets if we bend to the notifications we receive. A productive distraction is not such a bad thing. Isn’t it?


Neither can you sit for straight hours in a classroom nor in front of a computer browsing lessons. You have to get out to the real world to learn how the real world interacts. My experience after living for more than 2 years now is that the people here are really friendly and welcoming. The only barrier, in my opinion, is to get out of the comfort zone in the beginning. Being an Indian, it was pretty difficult for the first few months as there was absolutely no way I could get out of my ‘Indian group’ as there were million mutual things to do and to relate to. But, it takes conscious efforts to get out of the group and hang out with the local people. The best way to do it is to find an activity or sports group and then swiftly slide into it.  Stuttgart being a city filled with expats, some groups regularly have a ‘’Sprachcafe” where you meet up with an intention to practice speaking with others.


If you are planning a long-term stay in Germany. Then, it is imperative to know the language with the culture. So, the only way to do that is to immerse. Let go off your virtual interaction bubble you have created for yourself. There are several ways and levels at which you can begin. The easiest and the fun way are the parties. You can easily sneak into one of those house parties that are not so rare to find. In the beginning, especially if you are new to German, you will not understand anything, but just go with the flow and you will slowly start understanding when coupled with some effort with vocabulary

Another classic way of immersing is by staying with a German family. Although I have not experienced this myself, I have seen a few of my friends do it and have found a significant success. You not only learn the local way of living, if you are lucky, you are also bound to find a home away from home. If living with a family sounds offbeat to you, a Wohngemeinschaft or as it is usually called, a WG, might have interesting propositions to you.

Although a lot of the above-mentioned ways might sound routine meddling, if learning German is what you want and your intentions are concrete, these tips will be of help. But, without love for the language, you can’t go as far as you otherwise would. If there are any other tips that have worked for you, don’t forget to leave them on the comments below. Of what help is knowledge when it doesn’t help another? Right?



The good, the bad and the ugly side of living in a student dorm

The good, the bad and the ugly side of living in a student dorm

If you are moving into a student dormitory and you have no clue what goes down there, this blog may give you some idea of the interesting world of shared living. While most of us have the experience of living with other people thanks to our family homes, living with strangers, that too from different backgrounds, is a different ballgame altogether. Here, I share with you the best, the not so great and some downright painful things about living in student dorms.


While travelling to a new country means you will be meeting people from different cultures, living in a dorm ensures you interact with them and learn how big and beautiful this world is. This can be an interesting experience of learning and appreciating things we have in common.



It is easier to get stuck in the bubble of your university friends and that’s where good relations with your flatmates can really pay off. Cooking and spending time with them allow you to interact with people who are not studying the same subject as you and most likely have more diverse background than your class.

Learning German

There would be at least one (most likely more than one) flatmate who speaks German. This presents you with a great opportunity to practise your language skills from the comfort of your home, quite literally. The routine talk in your dorm would ensure you know enough to hold a conversation in the streets.

Splitting cost

The best part about living in the dorm is that your get to split the bills for TV fee, kitchen supplies and other communal expenses. Who doesn’t want to pay only one-fifth of the total cost of the  toilet papers.

Shared material

If you are lucky to have decent human beings as flatmates who believe in sharing, moving into a dorm means you don’t have to buy a whole new set of kitchenware because there are already five frying pans and 23 spoons waiting to be used.

Different hygiene standards

Hair in the shower, overflowing trash cans and toilet seat tragedies are small (disgusting) battles you have to fight everyday. We all are brought up in different social context and this means we all have a slightly different understanding of cleanliness.

Stalemate situation

In apartments, where flatmates don’t get along very well, there are situations where people try to teach each other a lesson by not doing their assigned tasks because one of them is irresponsible. Leaving the dishes uncleaned, letting the garbage pile and not purchasing the shared supplies only intensify the crisis.

Smell of the food

While some of us have our mouth watering when we smell Indian curry or Nigerian fried fish, those not accustomed to diverse cuisines find it difficult to cope with the strong aromas. So, adjusting to the cooking of your flatmates could be a task in its own.

Taste in music

Pop music may be very popular but not everyone likes it; same is the case with heavy metal. But if your flatmate decides to blare their One Direction anthem through their room, there’s really not much you can do rather than singing along.

The WhatsApp group

Unlike old times, today you are connected with your flatmates even when you are not in the dorm. Thanks to smartphone apps, someone will confront you about not cleaning the toilets properly right away – with a text and a photo.

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Passive aggression

Long messages in group chats, post-it notes on the fridge and unclean dishes in the sink are typical passive aggressive moves that will be part of the dorm life drama.  

Doing laundry

In some dorms, the washing machines and dryers are located far away from the rooms, making it impossible to do laundry when needed. So you either own 13 pairs of socks or you keep wearing the two until the stink is unbearable.

Radiator-window combo

As simple as it may appear, not everyone understands the concept of keeping the windows shut when the radiator is on. This means there will be several occasions when your apartment would freeze you to the bone.


Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

In your already crowded dorm, you will meet many strangers in the first few weeks of moving in. Don’t worry; they are the partners of your flatmates and virtually live here. So get on with it and be friends with them because you will be seeing them often.  

Putz plan

Keeping the apartment clean is everyone’s responsibility and you usually have a meticulously designed cleaning schedule but there’s always one person who refuses to clean the kitchen because they don’t cook that often or someone who is lazy and only does their tasks five days later.



KSat: A Student’s way to ‘the beyond’

KSat: A Student’s way to ‘the beyond’

Let’s admit this. Space has been amongst the greatest myths of our times. From a generation which thought the constellations to be gods to having evolved to realize them to be just one of those celestial objects, we have come a far way. This journey of space exploration keeps getting interesting every day and as far as what lies beyond is concerned, there are numerous stories and endless prophecies. We are an explorative species. As humans, we have always wanted to explore and find out what lies beyond the boundary someone else has already marked. This explorative nature fuelled continental expeditions in the past and currently, over the past few decades, has got us reaching to space and understanding the nature outside our planet. We have gone so far that we are on the brink of being an interplanetary species. It is an exciting time to be alive and to be discovering the beyond.

The University of Stuttgart has been quite been on the top of the game as far as research in the aerospace arena is concerned. The students of the Institute for space systems have a group which conducts experiments and sends them right to space! You read it right! This group of students, named KSat e.V. with the tagline small satellite student society at the University of Stuttgart, launch their successful experiments into the intercosmic space. They sure sound interesting, don’t they? Let’s get straight to knowing more about them.

The way it all started

Participating in a competition by the European Space Agency, a student group from the University of Stuttgart built the propulsion system for one of the projects which got launched and turned out to be fairly successful. With the success backing them, the project team founded KSat. With just around 10 members to start with, the group now has around 60 active members who contribute to the projects taken up by the team. When I interviewed Maximilian Von Armin, who is the ‘Pressesprecher’ (Press officer) of KSat, he quoted the mission of the group something like this,

“Space is not far away. It is accessible even to the students”

With an astounding objective of giving the students an opportunity to create their own experiments and fly them to the outer space or space-like environments, this group has slowly yet firmly making an impact in scripting a student’s way into space. There is no better boost to a student’s confidence than to see his work serving the intended purpose and thereby, contributing to this awe-inspiring field of science.

So, what exactly do they do?

Fascinating stuff. Period. Their website boasts a wide range of projects that the team has formerly been a part of and of course the current projects as well. The members usually come up with an idea, and pitch the concept in one of the competitions by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and if it catches their attention, they lend their support and the team gets on with the project. The DLR gives them the launch opportunities, expert assistance and also turns out to be the major source of money as well. With Thales Alenia as their other major partner, The team gets some monetary support and also opportunities to test their projects in exposed environments.

With a major focus on ‘space’ related competitions happening across Europe, their success in the previous endeavors has kept them going. With 3 successful missions and 4 launched missions in the sack of the 9 planned missions, the platform this group provides for an aspiring student is amazing. In order for the freshmen to get hold of what is happening, they conduct a competition solely for them. The aim being to create an experiment that fits inside a small soft-drink tin, which is then dropped from an airplane, the newcomers get to test their experiments on the flight. While the competition encourages innovation, it sure draws the greenhorn to the team.

The way into space

Well, normally, I would have titled this section ‘Awards and Rewards’. A minor shift from the routine as my interaction with Maximilian revealed that what they deem to be a reward is making it to space. That is quite a big offset from the norm especially for a mundane species like me. As he puts it,

“Our real reward is to earn room in the suitcase of an astronaut who goes to the International Space Station”

Succinctly so, their mission ROACH which will be launched in March 2018 is a robot which autonomously detects and repairs small damages on the spacecraft made by space debris or micro-meteorites. Another mission set to be launched in May 2018 is PAPELL. This experiment aims at pumping the ferrofluids (The fluids which develop magnetic properties in magnetic fields) without using any mechanical parts but just the nature of the liquid to transport them by manipulating the magnets.

As geeky as they sound, a slight shift in perception may lead you to note that they are the coolest form of geeks. As they prosper, their doors certainly are open to anyone who would like to be a part of the team. If you would like to know more about them and their activities, the first thing to do is to check out their website and their Facebook page. If the screen space doesn’t do enough to satiate your curiosity, reach out to them through an email or attend one of their meetings. Well, needless to mention the cool things you get to be a part of, what is also possible is publishing articles in scientific journals.

With a hope of having introduced this incredible group to you guys and expecting a few of you to find your way to the group, it’s now time to wrap. Space is not far from students. Don’t forget.



10 interesting facts to know about Stuttgart before moving here

10 interesting facts to know about Stuttgart before moving here

While Stuttgart doesn’t pop up on the mental map of most people when they think about Germany, the city has its unique world war history, an ambitious plan to become the heart of Europe and a global standing as a happy place. If you are moving here as a student and are curious to know about the city, this blog will help you get up to speed.


Stuttgart is the modern version of its older name Stuotgarten which means ‘a garden for the horses’. This name has its roots in the fact that the city was founded in the 10th century by Duke Liudolf of Swabia to breed war horses for his cavalry during the Hungarian invasion of Europe.

World War history

Photo by Rodrigo Rodriguez on Unsplash

As home to many military bases, crucial industrial infrastructure and centre of rail transportation in southwestern part of Germany, Stuttgart was in the crosshair of the Allies during the Second World War. The city was heavily bombed – around 142,000 bombs in 53 raids – between 1940 to 1945. More than 4,590 people were killed in these air attacks and 39,125 buildings were damaged or destroyed, creating 1.5 million cubic meters of rubble. Very few buildings were rebuilt and that is why one doesn’t see many old buildings in the city.

Least stressful city

In 2017, Stuttgart was named world’s least stressful city in a study. The high ranking was based on figures related to green spaces, family purchasing power and mental health of its citizens. Interestingly, of the 150 cities ranked, four out of the top ten most stress-free cities are in Germany: Stuttgart, Hannover, Munich and Hamburg.

Car industry

Stuttgart is home to the big car companies such as Mercedes Benz and Porsche. This is the place where the first car was created and the city continues to be dominated by the automobile industry.

Air pollution

Related to the car dominance is the fact that Stuttgart has the worst air quality in entire Germany. Due to the presence of scores of diesel-run automobiles on the road, the city suffers from a very polluted air with high levels of fine particulate. In 2016, the problem became so severe that the country had to issue its first air pollution alert, asking people to refrain from driving.

Stuttgart 21 project

The city is undertaking an ambitious railway and urban development project called Stuttgart 21, which aims to connect the city with major European

Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

centres by heavily redesigning its train terminals. The project has become a polarizing issue, with strong supporters and opponents in both public and political domains. Many of its critics have raised concerns over its cost, perceived benefits and environmental degradation.

Immigrant population

Stuttgart hosts a big migrant population, making it a very diverse German city. According to a New York Times article, “40% percent of Stuttgart’s 600,000 residents (or 60 percent of people under the age of 18) come from abroad, twice the national average. After the Second World War, foreign laborers rebuilt local industry: first Italians, then Greeks, Spaniards, Yugoslavians, Turks. And they’re still coming. Some 20,000 newcomers arrive annually, not counting the current wave of Syrians and others. Immigrants account for one of every three start-ups.”

Architecture studies

The city has a great reputation for architecture education. Two of its institutions, Stuttgart University and Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, are listed among the top ten architecture schools in the entire country.

Black Forest

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The famous Black Forest is just 160 km away from the city. The large forested mountain range in the south of Germany has pristine rivers, lakes and of course, dark dense trees. This is the place where the beloved black forest cake gets its name from but the region has so much more to offer such as cuckoo clocks, half-timber houses and twisting cobblestone streets.


The last day of the week in Stuttgart is for resting and no work. This means that almost all the stores are closed and you should plan ahead of time to ensure you have all the necessary supplies to survive the day. While it may appear annoying to those who are not familiar with this, having an absolutely free day is actually a great way to recharge for the coming week.



Make the most of job fairs

Make the most of job fairs

Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

During the freshman year, parties are far and away the most awaited events on a university campus. The stress busters that they are, the happening that they are, the cool that they are, the endless good reasons that they are. Life is a party. As long as you can afford the parties. As time goes by, things start getting a little serious and we kinda start our lookout for job fairs. This is the point when the job fairs take over the parties and things start getting serious. Although job searching has gone wildly internet, a chance to meet the recruiter face to face certainly has its advantages. While for the job seekers, it is the time to explore the opportunities they can tap from the market and know the companies in their field of study, for the job providers, it is an event to attract the best of the talents from the graduates and also the career prospects they have in offer and focus areas of their organization.

The University of Stuttgart hosts a few job fairs where many leading companies and research organizations in the region participate. Albeit, these fairs might not seem as rewarding at the outset, careful consideration and preparation may well land you a job and if lucky, a dream one. So, here are a few tips to help you add more to chances to your job hunt than just luck.

Do the homework

The moment you get to know about the job fair, google to check if they have a website to find out more details. Make sure to pre-register for the event if it demands one. Out of the list of the companies at the event which is usually made available either on the advertisements, make a list of the prospective employers suiting your profile. Go a step further and read about their focus areas and prepare some questions to start your conversation with them. This will show the recruiters that you are well informed and prepared.

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

The events that happen here usually have a desk with experts who will help you shape your résumé or CV or portfolio suiting the position you are applying for. Nevertheless, you have to prepare one beforehand for it to be altered and be molded. There are plenty of YouTube videos which will help you make the alpha version. Not to forget the profile photo, if you have one, good. If not, not bad. These events usually have a professional photographer who will click one free of cost. These photo sessions usually require pre-booking. Make sure you have an appointment in advance.

Sketch a plan; Have all bases covered

Quite often is the case that the fairs have a wide range of participating companies. Not all of them will have the kind of position you are looking for. Therefore, it makes sense only to visit the stalls of those companies that make it to your list. This will also make sure you don’t miss out on the possible opportunities. Since the recruiters are going to be around and the need for the first impression to be convincingly positive, prepare as you would for an interview. Make sure you sport an attire considered professional in the region the companies hail from.

It is recommended that you behave professional and not hang out with your friends in a way you would in any other fairs. My suggestion, go alone and follow your plan. There are chances that you may have an instant interview. Although the chances are less, there is no harm in being prepared. Since there will be many students at the fair, you can’t afford more than 5-8 minutes with one prospective employer. Make sure you have a ‘career pitch’ ready and communicate the same with enthusiasm. Plan a conversation time that would make an impression. Have a time plan and reap all that you can.

Build your network

There is no better networking opportunity than a job fair for the job seekers as well as for the employee seekers. From a student’s perspective, these fairs provide an opportunity to meet the recruiters in person. Make the most of this opportunity as the recruiters usually get hundreds of emails for the vacant positions advertised on the internet. Ask the right questions to the right people. Be careful not to ask the questions, the answers of which could easily be found by a simple search on the web.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Carry more copies of your portfolio than you think might be needed as there could be last minute registration of some companies. After every conversation you have, make sure of getting a business card from the person you socialize with. Not to forget, another group of people you ought to network with are the fellow job seekers themselves. As they could help you with some information on vacancies that suit your profile.

Follow up

This is a major step that we all fail to do and thereby, fail to make the most. After the days of preparation for the fair and meeting lot of people on the day of the fair, we tend to get tired of everything and eventually give up. Remember, you are the one in need of a job. Follow up with the contacts you made at the fair. Look for the recruiters on employment-oriented social networking sites like LinkedIn or Xing and connect to them.

If you could manage a good conversation with someone, follow it up with a thank you email. Which turns out to be a great professional habit as well as might remind the recruiter of your candidacy. Don’t forget to reiterate your interest for a second interview. The employers meet a lot of candidates on the day and it totally makes sense to remind them of your existence and interest. Don’t think you are pushing too hard. Meanwhile, someone else might just do that and land a job.

Nevertheless, while doing all that might seem like an uphill task in the beginning, you will realize that all of the preparation was worthwhile when you land a job. Wishing you all the best and great amount of luck with the job fairs and the hunt. As the law of attraction states, Ask; Believe; Receive.



Things I wish I had done differently during my stay in Stuttgart

Things I wish I had done differently during my stay in Stuttgart

Before I begin, I want to make sure of the fact that this is not a blog post meant in a contrite tone. Rather, this turns out to be a reflection of my stay in Stuttgart as a student for over 2 years now. Reflecting on what could have been better. Reflection on how better I could have made the most of my stay here. If you have already stayed abroad for your studies, a few of you may be able to relate to many things and a few of you may relate to fewer things. Subjective are the situations. And, so are the perceptions. Speaking of perceptions, there has been a major overhaul now after staying outside India for almost 3 years now. I look at the world way differently than how I used to a few years ago. This might change a few years later. But, as long as it is changing, I don’t mind. As I am certain of the fact that my thinking is evolving and rightly so.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Fortunate enough to have had a chance to study in Stuttgart and live in this beautiful city, undoubtedly, I have had a great time. Met a lot of people and made amazing friends. And, not to forget my travel across Europe. Did my time here hold on to the fantasy I thought it was before coming here? Well, I am unsure of being completely affirmative there. For my use of the word ‘Fantasy’ explains that. Nevertheless, with all the excitement fairly grounded now, there are certain things I wish I had done differently. Not that I repent, but, you know, would have been amazing had I done these things as well.

Started early with my German lessons

I sure did. The first lecture I attended, in fact, was an intensive German course. Would have made the difference had I realized how important this was going to be. I did have a world of new things to ground all my ardor. When you stare at the cashier at a supermarket blankly when he asks you ‘How would you like to pay?’ the realization strikes and it strikes hard. If you are here as a student, it is really necessary that you understand and speak a bit of German since you are likely to stay here for quite a decent period of time. However, I did take my own sweet time to realize the importance of speaking the local language and how I wish I had started a bit early.

Been more with locals

In the pursuit of getting our thoughts exactly the way we mean every time we speak to someone, we tend to hang out with those of our community quite often. Community could mean anything. Not listing it. In my case, the Indians being plentiful in Stuttgart, I used to hang out mostly with Indians for quite some time. Not that this is bad. But, again, unless you mingle with the locals, you would never understand how things work here. As long as you stay on the campus, it doesn’t matter, but, you eventually have to get out and face the world. When I did, I sensed a different world. Why? Well, I was getting out of my comfy cocoon and was quite not seasoned to confront the real world.

Hitchhiked and couch surfed

There are some things you can do only when you are young and independent. Hitchhiking and couch surfing, in my opinion, qualify as a couple on the list.

Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

The idea did seem quite strange to me and to date, I have only been wishing I had done it. While my preferences keep me from daring something of the kind, the bewilderment keeps any surprises at bay. If you have time and no preferences, pick a sleeping bag and get going. If you do not, express ‘how you wish you had done things’ (like I am doing) to your friends. Life today is nothing but organized uncertainties. I admit, at some point, we give in.

Made the most of Stuttgart’s nature

In a recent survey, Stuttgart was recently ranked as the least stressful city in the world. I am not sure I’d second that without any hesitation or bias. Nevertheless, one of the reasons Stuttgart made it to the top was because of the green cover in and around the city. I totally agree with this. Especially living in the beautiful Vaihingen campus with Pfaffenwald 100 meters from my room. Although, I started my jogging sessions through the forest last summer, How I wish I had started a little earlier. It is an amazing feeling to jog through the woods and breathe no harm into your lungs.

Made the most of my trips

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Travelling around is something that most of us make sure of when we are in Europe. Like most of us, I follow the same sequence. Decide on a place, book my tickets, get there and roam around with no idea of the history of the place, buy some souvenirs, get back, flaunt my travel with posts on social media and sleep. Travel is supposed to make you wise. But, trust me, that would make not make you any wiser. Such a plan would just make you tired. Instead, what I wish I had done was to read about a place in advance before visiting the place, understood more about the culture, tried the local cuisine and you know, did the local thing.

Been more vigilant of the opportunities

By opportunities, I do not just mean jobs here. I mean all those opportunities which would have made my life richer (again, not just in terms of money) and my stay more meaningful. Often were days when I did nothing but watched a couple of episodes of my favorite series and been a couch potato. I wish I had not lazed time and been more cautious of the ever-unforgiving clock.

Well, that is it. Excuse me if that sounded like whining about my enduring friendship with procrastination. Another thing above all of the above is that I wish I had started without any expectations. Really, mounted up expectations on anything that is about to happen does little good. End of the day, what matters is how content is your life in your perception. If you snatched the authority of making memories from your mind and surrendered it to your camera, give it a thought. Who are the pictures for?