Eryn Treherne at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany

Eryn Treherne

BCom International Business

Semester Exchange in the Second Semester, 2023 at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management




The initial planning for going to Germany involves plenty of organisation, especially for your visa application. The German Consulate provides a checklist of what is required on their website, most is fairly easy to gather, but the most challenging is to open a blocked account. This account is a requirement where you need to set aside around 900 euros per month and deposit into this account that will be paid out to you once you are there. I would recommend using Fintiba to do this, and they also have many other services to help you in your preparation. The easiest current account to set up would be with Revolut as you don’t need to have your registered address for this, as with any German bank account. I would also recommend booking your flights as soon as possible, as this will also work out cheaper for

Further, your accommodation also needs to be sorted out early, especially if you plan to stay in the student dorms. As soon as your acceptance comes through from FS, apply for this to ensure you can get a spot. There are other options as well, I would recommend places like Yugo. Finally, when you get the dates to register for your modules, you need to log on as the time opens so that you can get a spot in the classes you want to attend (some of them filled up for me within the first 5 minutes!).


Experience at the Host University:


My exchange semester at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management offered a unique experience quite different to the other options available, that are more traditional and quite larger. This smaller, private university had a mix of pros and cons. Frankfurt, which is a vibrant and growing city and home to one of Europe’s major airports, was an ideal place to stay if like me, you want to see as much of the area as possible. What also makes the travel convenient is that the university provides a Hessen state travel card, which can be upgraded for a small fee to the Deutschland ticket, allowing free travel on regional transport throughout Germany.
Beyond having the ability to travel easily, Frankfurt itself is a lovely city to live, rich in cultural activities with an impressive array of museums, offering many diverse and enriching experiences.


Christmas market in Frankfurt.


Arriving in Frankfurt is quite an experience when you don’t know the public transport system very well, and I did get lost on my way to my accommodation, but I did find my way eventually. The week before classes start there are two days of orientation which I would recommend attending to meet other exchange students (as it is easier to form relationships with the internationals more than the locals as they are also looking to meet new people). The university also arranges socials and parties during this week and throughout the semester which can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people and spend time with the friends that you have already made. Some of the activities included a boat party, pub crawls, or even a picnic in the park.


Eryn at the Boat Party.


As I mentioned, FS is a smaller university, with about 4000 students in total. I quite liked this because your classes are smaller and that makes it easier to meet and talk to people, but you will have to engage in the lectures more. The lectures are also scheduled differently to SU. For each module, there are 2 sessions a week either on the same day or on 2 consecutive days of 3 hours each (you will have to take 5 in total, split between 2 terms to make up the credits at SU). The change in length can be daunting, but it doesn’t take long to make that adjustment, and you are able to choose interesting modules not available at SU (for example, I did Healthcare Business).

Germany is an expensive country to live in. Rent can be quite pricey if you want to stay close to the university. There is also the health insurance cost to think about (compulsory), as well as liability insurance (optional but recommended). Groceries are slightly more expensive than South Africa, but mostly when it comes to meat (including chicken), so it’s always good to set up a meal plan for the week so that you know what you need to buy when you do go shopping. There are scholarships available as well. I received the Erasmus+ Scholarship, which is about 850 euros/month. This however is not enough to cover all your costs, for me it only covered my rent and my health insurance with a couple of euros to spare. With this scholarship they also cover your transport ticket that you receive from FS.

Also, depending on where you stay, you need to be aware of the extra things that you may need to buy, such as household cleaning equipment, crockery and cutlery (as a lot of places require you to provide your own), bedding, etc. My advice with this would be to head to an Ikea and get everything you need there, as there are plenty of cheap options. Overall, I would recommend sitting down with whoever will be funding your exchange and create a clear budget that accounts for the increased costs of being in a new country.


Return to Stellenbosch:


I returned to South Africa just before Christmas, which was really nice to be home and spend some holiday time with my family. As I start classes next week, I am sure there will be an adjustment coming back to SU. For one, my classes will be a lot shorter again, but I will be going back to class 5 days a week. The workload is also much more at SU so I know that I will need to be aware of getting back into my old study patterns. Coming back to Stellies is a really good thing, as you can catch up with friends that you haven’t seen for a while. While it will be easy to fall back into the old patterns of your life before exchange. I think it would be important to remember to keep what you have learned while being overseas and try to incorporate those changes into your life back at home.