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  1. Hello all,   I came to Germany 4 years ago for work with my husband and two kids. Sadly, my husband left (we are divorcing) and I find myself alone, in my 40s, still not speaking German since I work in English (although I took German courses up to B1.1 level) & no close friends - my husband was my best friend for over 20 years and I thought it was enough to concentrate on work and my family.   I'm staying here in Germany because my kids are the only close family I have now and here I have a Job.    How do I meet new people without speaking German? I want to go out & have fun, talk to people, make friends, date, learn to actually speak German, have playdates for my dog. Are there any group meetings of forum members in the Heidelberg area? I don't have a car but can get to wherever the Tram #5 goes
  2. Hello good people of toytowngermany,    Im an american getting ready to give college another try after having a bad experience in america.  I live in germany permanently now but i suppose i will still be considered an international student for admissions purposes.  Anyway i have some random questions and observations and am soliciting the input of the community here to fill in the gaps of what to expect during the application process and hopefully attending school this coming semester. 1. language requirements:  it appears that to be admitted as a full student you need a c2 rating or the equivalent in another test like testdaf.  From what i read you can submit this with your application or opt for the university exam before classes start "Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH)"   questions:  is there a significant difference in difficulty between the Goethe-Zertifikat C2: GDS, testDAF, or DSH? there are obviously cost differences but which test is easiest to take to achieve admission? 2. mannheim or heidelberg uni:   after looking around their respective websites you can see there are some significant differences between the courses of study offered. I havent made up my mind yet about what i will study im equally open minded about either uni. My main goal is first to be able to actually be admitted, and secondly to choose a course of study that has relatively lax admissions requirements ( its my understanding that in addition to applying to the university you must also apply to the department as well). questions: what advantages does each university have that the other doesnt?  which uni offers international students a better range of experience and friendly environment? which university has more or better resources both for study and recreation? which uni has a more diverse student population?   3. departments, teachers and degrees:   im interested in perhaps starting my studies in one department or major and possibly switching later. Im also curious about which departments are known for their excellence, fun, overall positive experience. questions: can a person change majors at any point in their schooling?  in the american school system you can change your declared major or course of study pretty much whenever you want with little to no penalty, is this also true of german unis?  about teachers or departments...are there some that are known for being so good one should try to take a class from them for the value of the experience even if the subject isnt required for ones major course of study? for example a psychology professor/teacher thats too good to miss even if youre studying computer science.    4. Financing:   im too old (i think) for bafoeg assistance.  At this point i am not very well acquainted with all the funding possibilities for students in general and students over the age of 40 like myself.    questions:  what are the options for financial assistance in order of most to least desirable, i.e. repayment options, amount that can be received etc.  Also are there funding options like grants that do not need to be paid back, is there financing for older students, students who are married with kids or living with parents or friends? is there financing based on income and not based on income?   So this is just a few thoughts and questions, certainly not exhaustive.   Im especially interested in hearing from people who actually having either firsthand or secondhand experience navigating all the aspects of this process.   thanks for reading and for your time.