WHAT TO BRING, WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME
Depending on the planned duration of your Fellowship, packing can be a challenge. Below, we collected some useful tips for packing:
Clothes and climate
For packing the right clothes, take into account that the climate in the Delmenhorst area may be very different from your home country! The region has a maritime climate. Average temperatures range from 0 to 8 degrees Celsius (32 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter, and 21 to 23 C (69 to 73 F) in summer. Spring and autumn are generally comfortable. Rain is common year-round with monthly averages ranging from 126 mm (4.9 inches) in May to 207 mm (8.1 inches) in October. Snow is relatively rare and usually light, although the winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 were quite harsh with long frost periods and a lot of snow. Because of its proximity to the ocean and its maritime climate, humidity in the Bremen-Oldenburg region can range anywhere from 40 to 95 percent, changing drastically from day to day. Humidity tends to be highest in the summer months, but is common year-round. Wind is also common and typically hovers around 10 mph. Gusting is known to occur, particularly by the ocean, rivers, and canals. Check the section on weather to find out more. Thus it is highly recommended to bring rain-proof and warm clothes and shoes and also a jacket that protects you against the wind, e.g. an outdoor jacket.
Bed linen and towels
No need to bring linen and towels: Three sets of towels are provided, and bed linen will be changed every week when your apartment is cleaned. Check the section "About your apartment" to find out more about the equipment provided in your apartment on campus.
Most appliances are provided in your apartment (please see section "About your apartment" for details), e.g. a TV set, kitchen equipment and so on. If you want to bring additional electric equipment, please make sure
- to bring the correct plug adapter for Germany (see pictures above). A German plug has two round prongs, and a German electrical outlet has two round holes with no extra hole for the ground. Please note that within Germany, you will not be able to get plug adapters for Germany, but these must be ordered via international internet shops - which may take several days for delivery!
- if applicable: to bring a voltage converter in case your equipment runs on a lower voltage (e.g. in the USA/ Northern America, most appliances run on 110-120V, while in continental Europe, electrical outlets provide 220-240V!) Running electrical equipment designed for lower voltage without a voltage converter is not only dangerous but it usually also destroys the equipment! Rechargeable electronics (laptop computers, cameras, iPods, etc.) usually present no problems, but do check the user instructions if in doubt!
Equipment for babies and young children
The HWK provides a limited amount of items for the use of young families, e.g. baby's high chairs, bath tubs and so on. Please check the specific section of this handbook for detailed information.
Work-related items and books
While there are certainly some items you will need to bring for your work, please make sure that you do not bring too much: space in the apartments is limited! Double check the information on your work space in the apartment and what the institute provides in terms of the work environment to avoid taking too much with you! It may also be a good idea to ask your host (if you are collaborating with a regional university) about the equipment of the lab and office provided by them.
Most books you may need for your project may either be available in the HWK Library or can be taken from the Bremen or Oldenburg University Libraries or the HWK can order books from libraries all over the country (interlibrary loan).
Administration at the HWK is efficient, taking much less time to get things moving than you may be used to from most larger academic institutions, still it might need some days until a bank account is set up and your stipend or external funding is available. Do take some cash (Euro) with you, e.g. to pay for the taxi from the airport to the HWK (approximately 40 EUR) or for doing some basic shopping. Please ask your bank at home to provide small bills (ideally 50 EUR or smaller) because you might have difficulties getting change for larger bills (200 EUR). Also take into account that there may be less ATMs/ cash dispensers in Delmenhorst than for example in a city of the same size in the USA and that you might be charged high fees for drawing money from your account at home when using an ATM/ cash dispenser of a German bank! Also, payment by check is not possible, and not all shops, including supermarkets, accept credit cards. Most Germans either pay cash or use the so-called "EC Card", a debit card that comes with your bank account.
If you have to take medication permanently, e.g. due to a chronic health condition, please note that you may bring the medication with you upon entering Germany (carrying proof by a doctor declaring that this is for your own use only is advisable in case of a customs control). However, shipping the medication or having another person carry the medication for you are illegal! Hence,get in touch with the health insurance in your home country before you leave and make sure to take a sufficient amount with you. If you are not employed by your host institution and thus take any private insurance (like the Hanse Merkur contract offered through the HWK), please note that they do not cover chronic conditions, and you will have to get the medication from a German doctor and pay out of pocket which can incur high costs!