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German here who also studied abroad for a year (US state college). Overall, there are many similarities, but also differences.

I was surprised how freaking EASY everything was in the US university, compared to Germany. Multiple-choice tests, not much background knowledge assumed. Very school-like system (instead of assuming students will learn some of the necessary background at home).

I've seen different German universities, and indeed some of them might not offer a gym or on-campus dorms. In fact, often at least a few university buildings are spread out throughout the city, instead of being in a single connected campus area.

My German university had some subsidized housing though, and there were also private student dorms and they were very cheap, unlike the US dorm which was IMHO quite expensive. I also had a small but nice gym at my German uni.

Probably every German uni has a restaurant ("Mensa") which is often very cheap because of subsidies. Again, in the USA we had to buy expensive meal plans and overall it wasn't cheap at all.

But I loved the connectedness of the US campus, the atmosphere, the greens. The whole campus culture gives you the opportunity to either have a great partying time or a great studying time - I've had a bit of both. But overall, in Germany I learned MUCH more of the technical stuff.

Buildings spread out through the city seems to be a product of having older universities. The oldest Dutch universities have that too, whereas newer universities tend to have most buildings concentrated on a campus. I know of only one that has on-site dorms (TU Twente), but most do have affordable student housing in the vicinity (though never enough for all students). There's usually a cheap, student-oriented sport center connected to the university.

University restaurants (also called "mensa" here) are pretty cheap, but quality is mediocre. Better cook your own dinner.

Hm, I've heard many complain about the food quality at our mensa, and many never ate there, but overall my experience wasn't bad. No fancy restaurant quality, but better than typical prepared/frozen meals and not at all bad.

I used to joke that they had a big can of "mensa spices" that they put in everything, making it all taste the same, no matter what it was originally.

>I was surprised how freaking EASY everything was in the US university

What did you study? Either you're exceptional, you've never been to an engineering school in the US, or you were taking particularly easy classes.

Well, it was a state college, I'm actually really good, and we couldn't pick graduate classes in the US, even though I was a senior already, and if you compare standards that basically means graduate. But most likely it just wasn't an engineering school.

I've also had other classes, though (languages, marketing ...), and those were really easy as well.

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