- Arne Ilse
„Magdeburg? Where the hell is that...?“ - You get to hear this question quite often when you tell people you study here. But the capital of Saxony-Anhalt has a lot to offer, also to medical students. In this article you will get to know what that is.
Numbers, Dates, Facts
- Inhabitants: 230,000
- Students: 18,500 (14,000 at the Otto-von-Guericke University)
- Medical students: 1,300
- University founded: 1993
- Medical faculty founded: 1954
- University clinic with 1100 beds and 4100 employees
- Research focus: Immunology and Neuroscience
Contrary to its relatively young university, Magdeburg has a long history. Firstly mentioned in the records of history in 805 it gained a strong impact in 968, when Otto the Great made Magdeburg an archdiocese. Otto the Great is one reason why Magdeburg is called „Ottostadt“, which is a composite of the name Otto and the german word for city (Stadt). The other reason is Otto von Guericke, after whom the university was named and who was mayor of the city in the 17th century and inventor of the air-pump.
But Magdeburg has a turbulent history as well. It burned down several times and had to be rebuilt completely, the last time during World War II, when 90 percent of the city was destroyed. Consequently, it is not astonishing that Magdeburg does not really have much of a historical city centre. Nevertheless, Magdeburg has an impressive architecture: You will find plain concrete tower blocks next to socialistic classicism and houses in Wilhelminian style.
Moreover, Magdeburg has a cathedral, in fact the oldest Gothic style building in Germany, as well as the „Green citadel“ (the façade of which is not green at all, as you can see in the picture), which is the last building of the famous artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. And Magdeburg is constantly evolving: In 2015, the magazine „Die Zeit“ rated Magdeburg to be one of the most dynamic cities in Germany.
Living in Magdeburg
Magdeburg has a lot to offer for students as well. Not only are the many bars around the Wilhelminian style Hasselbachplatz perfect to hang out, but also can one spend time in one of the many parks: In Germany's second greenest city you can walk along the river Elbe, jog through the Rotehornpark or keep yourself fit on the fitness trail in the Elbauenpark.
Magdeburg also offers a range of cultural activities: There is an opera, a theatre, a large open air stage, where every year during summer they show a big play, there are cabarets and there is the Moritzhof, where not only independent movies are played but which is also a small playhouse.
For those fond of nightlife Magdeburg has a variety of different clubs, of which the „Studentenclub Kiste e.V.“ is definitely worth mentioning. It is run voluntarily by medical students and its legendary parties are known far and wide, even beyond the borders of the medical faculty.
As the city is not too big, most of the places are within cycling distance. Furthermore, together with the university fees also comes a ticket with which one can use trams and buses.
Studying medicine in Magdeburg
The medical faculty in Magdeburg has a comparatively short history. Founded in 1954 as „Medizinische Akademie“, in 1993 it was merged together with the technical university and the school of pedagogics to the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg.
In Magdeburg the courses are organised according to the regular German system („Regelstudiengang“ in German). The first phase begins with preclinical subjects such as anatomy, chemistry, physiology and medical psychology. This phase ends after two years with a first state examination, the „Physikum“, which includes all subjects from the preceding two years. After this begins the clinical phase, which lasts three years and ends with the written part of a second state examination. Then starts the practical year which is followed by an oral state examination.
Courses are divided into lectures, laboratory exercises, seminars and bedside teaching. In the latter one, students can master the contents of the courses through hands-on training with patients.
Magdeburg has, alongside many other medical faculties, a SkillsLab where students can gain practical expertise, for example in patient exploration, sonography, taking blood and first aid.
For those who have a penchant for traveling, the faculty offers a number of different exchange programmes in countries like France, Turkey, Chile, Japan or the USA. You can find more information on this topic in German in this article or on the webpage of the international office.
Another great thing about this campus is that every institute and clinic except for gynaecology and obstetrics and child and adolescent psychiatry lies within walking distance. And the campus is, like the city, really green – here you can have a closer look at it.
If you want to visit the university clinic in person, it is a good idea to come to the annual Campus Day, where you can listen to lectures, talk to professors, the office of student affairs and to students. The Campus Day usually takes place in May.
If you had already applied and got accepted, you can also read this article in German, where you will get useful information about being a fresher in Magdeburg.