Jena is a quiet city in the former East Germany. We haven’t had the chance to visit the city yet, so I’m sharing the information I’ve gathered from my research. Jena has a population of only 111.000 and approximately 22.000 students studying in the city. It is the second largest city in the state of Thuringia and one out of every five people you meet on the street is probably a university student. As such, the young population from outside the city makes Jena cool and modern. Unlike the cosmopolitan big cities, Jena is a city where you will often meet your friends and acquaintances in the compact city center and adopt them as locals. (Maybe it’s better to call it a town. But the general opinion of many of the foreign students studying there is that it is warm and livable)
The world-renowned Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) and Ernst Abbe University (EAH) are two of the reasons why studying in Jena is so attractive. Jena is an example of a science and university city. It is said that one out of every three people in the city is either studying or working at a university. It can be said that everything is carefully designed for students. Due to its geographical location, it is far from big cities, which has shaped the compact structure of the city.
Since it is far from big cities, the most logical transportation will be via Leipzig. From there, an additional 1.5 hour journey by train is required. If you want to go by car, it will take 2 hours. You can also reach the city via Berlin or Hanover with a slightly longer train ride (roughly 3 hours).
The Saale river runs through the center of the city and adds a different beauty. In Jena you can expect cold and snowy winters and sunny and hot summers. There are many sports opportunities in the greenery surrounding the city and they are very popular. I got the impression from students’ comments on different platforms that they love the city. It seems that social activities outside education are always lively. Weimar, 15 minutes away from the city, offers many alternatives for culture, art and music lovers.
LIFE IN JENA
Unlike well-known student cities like Heidelberg or Münster, other cities in East Germany are still a bit cheaper. However, Jena is very popular due to the popularity of its university and science center, and the housing market is shaped accordingly. It can be quite difficult to find a place even in shared apartments. In my research, I could not find many options despite the pandemic period. Even in the 500-700 Euro band, I could only find 20 empty apartment alternatives.
However, on the positive side, there is no place in Jena where students are concentrated or where you cannot live there. You can choose wherever fits your budget. You will definitely have student neighbors, cafes to hang out in and shopping opportunities. Since the city is small, it is very easy to get everywhere. Weimar, 15 minutes from the city, or Neulobeda in the south could be an alternative. The Thuringian Student Association provides accommodation for 3150 people in 30 housing complexes in the city. But as I always say, it is better to apply early.
Studentenwerk Jena Dormitories
JENA BY THE NUMBERS
|Number of Students
|Number of beds provided by Studierendenwerk
|Rents for accommodation provided by Studierendenwerk
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