Frequently described as "the gateway to the world" by its proud citizens, the beautiful port city of Hamburg has long been a great place to study and be a student.
A vibrant, affluent city of 1.8 million people straddling the mighty Elbe River, Hamburg boasts 19 institutes of higher education. These include older traditional establishments such as the University of Hamburg, which, with over 40,000 students, is the third biggest university in Germany and offers a multitude of courses in subjects from ancient Greek to zoology, and smaller bespoke universities like Kühne Logistics University (KLU), with its specialised degree programs in logistics and supply chain management.
In total, almost 70,000 students resident in Hamburg, a large number of whom are international students and can choose to do bachelor degrees and complete post-graduate studies in English at some of the city's universities, including KLU, which teaches all its courses in English.
Unsurprisingly for Germany's second largest city and Europe's third largest port, Hamburg is also home to some of the country and the world's best-known and successful firms. Airbus employs some 12,000 people at its plant beside the Elbe while cosmetics giant Beiersdorf or transport firm Hapag Lloyd all have their headquarters in the city. Of course, firms such as these not only help fuel Hamburg's robust economy, but also offer a multitude of internships, training programs and employment opportunities to the city's students and graduates.
Not that living in Hamburg necessarily means a life of work and toil for its student population - quite the contrary in fact. Famous for its river and pair of beautiful inner city lakes - the Inner and Outer Alster, where sailing and rowing boats bob on warm, sunny days, the city is also known for its parks and trees, which line its inner city and suburban streets. Hamburg is also, for the most part, flat as a pancake, and its extensive network of dedicated cycle paths mean its incredibly bicycle friendly and easy to get around.
Despite being a large, sprawling city that covers about as much ground as Berlin, Hamburg feels a lot more compact and the centre of the city and many of its major attractions, such as the Alster lakes, the popular shopping streets of Mönckebergstrasse and Neuer Wall, and its rich collection of museums and galleries are an short cycle from both the KLU and the University of Hamburg.
Also within easy reach of both universities are the trendy inner city neighbourhoods of the Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli. Buzzing with cafés, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs and home to a colourful mix students, musicians, artists, and young professionals, these quarters are where the young of Hamburg flock on evenings and weekends to eat, drink and party.
Should the weather prove too cold or wet to walk or cycle, Hamburg's excellent public transport system of underground and overland trains and buses is a cheap, safe and reliable way to get from home to university to a one of the city's many attractions and back again.