A passion to be at the forefront of Geographical oriented research has led me to pursue a master's in Geo-informatics at the University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany.

My interest in the field of Geography was instilled in me by my grandfather, a former marine engineer and sailor, who used to narrate a lot of stories about his travel experiences during my childhood days and this was later nurtured by the influence of my High School teacher's interludes.

With an interest already grounded, I pursued a course in Geography for my undergraduate degree and post-graduate degree. I later chose Germany as the destination for my studies as it is one of the leading countries in Geo-informatics research and also due to the International recognition. I am an awardee of the state scholarship of North-Rhine-Westphalian Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology.

Muenster is a city in the North-Western part of Germany. It was declared as “The World's Most Liveable City” in 2004, the first German city to get this title. It is known as “Student City” as it has more than 40,000 student inhabitants. It is better known as the “bicycle capital” of Germany. The whole place is interspersed with bicycle tracks and it is the most popular mode of transportation. It has both German and English courses at master's and doctoral level though bachelor courses are only available in German. The German academic year has October and April intake and the application details (http://www.uni-muenster.de/en/international_students/) and scholarship details (http://www.uni-muenster.de/en/international_students/financial_support /index.html) can be found here. Most departments provide student assistant jobs to assist student living expenses. Weekly assignments, team-work, exchange programmes, high research profile and required basic facilities make it one of the popular destinations for students of natural sciences, humanities, medicine, law and business administration.

The University Campus is not restricted to one place but scattered across the city. Students receive semester tickets in the NRW region which can be used to commute by buses and trains for free. German language is a pre-requisite for daily life here. The Language Centre at the university organises language programmes round the year which is a good place to start learning and meeting new people. “Tandem programmes” are also conducted where students in pairs teach each other a language in which they are well-versed.

The International Office caters to the needs of foreign students (international.office@uni-muenster.de). The “Die Brucke” translated as “The Bridge”, a part of the university's international office, advises foreign students, and provides support in matters of accommodation and everyday issues.

The “ Studentwerke” is the focal point for registration for accommodation by incoming students. Affordable accommodation depends on the size and furnishing of rooms. Student houses in most cases include basic furnishing, heating and water facilities, internet and cable connection. Generally three to six months prior registration for rooms is better since student houses are very much in demand due to the large student population in Muenster.

Divya Rajeswari Swaminathan

Master's in Geoinformatics, University of Muenster, Germany