‘Student life in Aachen is easy and a lot of fun’

Get The Local flavour of Germany with our series where insiders offer a personal take on their hometown. This week, Xueyao Jiang shares her tips about Aachen.

'Student life in Aachen is easy and a lot of fun'
Photo: Private

Originally from Dalian, China, Xueyao Jiang has been living in Germany since 2009. She came to Aachen to study computer science and is currently working on her thesis.

What brought you to Aachen?

I came to Germany in September 2009 to pursue my Master’s degree at the RWTH Aachen University after I obtained a bachelor degree of computer science in China. RWTH Aachen University is one of the best universities in Germany. It offers high quality education yet inexpensive and excellent academic research opportunities, which is very attractive for foreign students.

What do you love about Aachen?

Aachen is a small city packed with historic attractions. The city is full of enthusiasm as there are a lot of students here. As a student in Aachen life is easy and a lot of fun. The city has affordable cafés, bars, restaurants, and very good sport facilities. Aachen also has beautiful parks. The best part is that Aachen shares it borders with Netherlands and Belgium. I can hop on a bus and be at the fish market in Netherlands in 20 minutes to buy fresh sea food or go shopping in a Belgian liquor store for Kwak beer.

What is the one thing that a tourist has to see there?

Anybody coming to Aachen can’t miss a visit to the stunning cathedral, which is the landmark of the city. The cathedral plays an important role in the history of the city and is the memorial and resting place of Emperor Charlemagne.

What is the food like in Aachen?

You can find many different kinds of cuisines in Aachen, from traditional German food to exotic ones. I like to go to Pontstraße for light meals, such as warps, noodle, Pizza and any kind of Chinese food. My favorite restaurant is a Chinese one called “City Garden”. They offer delicious and authentic Chinese food which is very spicy. On a hot summer day I go to Del Negro, it offers the best ice cream in town.

What do you do on a typical weekend?

Hang out with friends in Café Kittel or Middelberg, Join a guitar jamming session. I sometimes go swimming in the Elisabethalle, this swimming pool has a history over 100 years and is the most beautiful decorated swimming pool I have even seen. I also love going for a walk around the small mountain Lousberg.

What is the one thing you don’t like about Aachen?

The Rain. It rains all the time in Aachen, I wish we could have more sunshine and less rain.

Is the city friendly to foreigners?

Yes, it definitely is. The stereotype of the German people is that they are cold and distant, however the people that I have met in Aachen are very international, easy-going and open-minded. Many people, for example, shop assistants and bar tenders, can speak good English so it’s a relief for foreigners.

What do you miss about home?

My family. In China most children grow up with a strong bond to their parents. I miss our dog. And like most foreigners, I miss the food. There are some vegetables that I can easily find in China which are not available in Germany. But, otherwise the supermarkets here offer a huge range of choices.

Interview conducted by Roma Rajpal

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.