Welcome to the Cognitive Science programs in Osnabrück!
Congratulations on being offered a spot in the Cognitive Science (aka CogSci) study program (winter term 2023/24). Here, you will get the most important information you need before the start of your first semester at the University of Osnabrück. This text is quite long but please read it thoroughly! It contains multiple links and we hope we got them all right. However, if something is not working, feel free to reach out to us.
You can find out more about the university here.
The Cognitive Science study programs are at home within the Institute of Cognitive Science. On the website, you can find information regarding the study programs, the research groups, and some other exciting things. If you would like to see what your fellow students are doing during their studies, you can have a look at the website of the CogSci Student Journal.
Student Mentoring Team
We are Alina, Elisa, and Zahra from Cognitive Science Mentoring, and are very happy to help you with any issues or uncertainties that might come up during your studies! If you want to put a face to the names, you can find out more about us here on our institute's website. For concerns of our international students, the best direct contact person is Zahra. Alina and Elisa are more familiar with general questions regarding your studies. We do not have fixed working times, but emails are usually answered within three business days. If you prefer to talk to us, you can drop by at our regular consultation hours. You can find the times and dates also here on our website. If you want to join online and need the link, just send us a short mail.
Before the semester starts
The semester officially starts on October 1st, but lectures will not start until mid-October. However, there are a bunch of exciting and important events before that and you might consider joining some of them.
Mathematics and Computer Science Pre-Courses
For those who want a head start in Mathematics and Computer Science, there are pre-courses for both of these. They are only offered in German. It is a good idea to attend them if you are already in Osnabrück and have the time, as mathematics and programming play a great role in the first semesters and, from our experience, can be a bit challenging for some students.
The mathematics pre-course takes place from September 25th to 29th, you can find more information here. If you want to participate, you need to register by September 21st.
The computer science pre-course takes place from October 4th to 6th, you can find more information here. Registration is not necessary.
Welcome Week by the International Office
For our international students, there will be a Welcome Week by the International Office. It starts on October 4th with the official arrival day. From October 5th to 10th there will be many different events where you get to know other international students. We highly recommend you visit these events, as it makes connecting to other students a lot easier. The international office will also help to find your way through the German bureaucracy and can help with questions such as how to open a bank account and how to get a residence permit. If you have any questions regarding this, feel free to contact Sabine Jones from the International Office via email@example.com. All information can also be found in the Welcome Hub which will be continuously updated within the next weeks.
In the past, there furthermore was an intercultural connection course called "IMcourse" which was organized by the International Office. We are not sure yet whether that will be offered again this winter semester, but if you are interested you can find more information and also contact info where you could indicate your interest here.
Freshie Week for Cognitive Science Students
The week before the start of lectures is traditionally reserved for the freshie week. The Cognitive Science Freshie Week, organized by the Mentoring Team and the CogSci student body, will be happening from October 9th - 13th. Here, you will meet your fellow freshies and students from higher semesters, learn everything there is to know about the Cognitive Science programs and have an overall great time. You will learn to use the various university online tools, will be advised on how the study regulation works, and how to find the right courses. There will also be an official welcome talk by our dean of studies, Dr. Dr. Gregor Hörzer.
You will receive emails with more detailed information regarding all the events when we get closer to the start of the semester, and we will also post updated information here.
The Freshie Week will start on Monday, 9th October at 10 am. There will be a program each day of the week, mostly organized by the student body, mentoring team, and other CogSci students. You can find a preliminary (!) schedule for the week here.
Important: We would like to get an overview of how many people will be joining which event. Therefore we ask you to indicate your interest in the individual events via this registration form. This is not binding and we will not check whether you were there or not! We would like to get a rough estimate of the numbers to make planning a lot easier for us. We are not yet sure whether we can offer the bouldering session, if yes, then there will be a separate mail where you can register for it. This will then be binding.
We know that some of you are struggling with the visa process or cannot be here in person for other reasons. We try to get you all the important information anyway, therefore some events will also take place online. Those events are marked with hybrid, meaning you can either choose to join in person or online. In detail, these events are
- the Welcome Talk (CogSci Student Body & Mentoring Team) on Monday, 10:00 - 12:00,
- the IKW Welcome Talk (Dr. Dr. Gregor Hörzer, Dean of Studies) on Tuesday, 10:00 - 12:00,
- the tutorials on Tuesday and Wednesday, both 14:00 - 16:00, and on Thursday 11:00 - 13:00, and
- the Mentoring Consultation Hour, Friday 13:00 - 14:00.
We are still figuring out the best way to give you online access to these events - we have options but want to give you the hopefully easiest solution. So more information regarding the exact way to join online will be shared in a future mail.
However, as the Freshie Week is one of your best shots to get to know your fellow students, we recommend you join in person if you can.
Freshie Week Events
We are currently putting together a booklet with all information regarding the individual events. Some event titles are self-explanatory, while others might need a bit more input. As that booklet is still very much a "work in progress", here are the most important takeaways for now:
- The first rule of Freshie Week is "Do not miss the tutorials!" (If you cannot make it however, let us know, and we will figure something out). The tutorials are the place to learn everything you need to know about the study program, from living in Osnabrück to how to choose your courses, to some information regarding student life in general. If any pressing questions could not be answered during the tutorials or that only came up later, there is also the opportunity to drop by at the Freshie Consultation Hour on Friday by the mentoring team.
- We will start the week on Monday with our traditional Welcome Talk. We will meet at 10 am in 35/E01. No idea where that is supposed to be? No worries! Our lovely Welcome Team will pick you up at the bus stations "Botanischer Garten" and "Campus Westerberg". Once you made your way there, simply look out for some kind-looking humans with big signs that say something like "CogSci Freshies".
- On Tuesday, our dean of studies, Dr. Dr. Gregor Hörzer, will welcome you to the university and our institute. You will learn about our history and about the people who are keeping the institute and your studies running (aka your lecturers and other important people).
- The university and our president, Prof. Dr. Susanne Menzel, will welcome you on Wednesday morning in the Osnabrückhalle. There will also be a fair where university offices and local groups and companies present themselves. There will also be lots of freebies! You can find information about this event here.
- In addition to all the welcome talks and information events, there will also be a bunch of exciting social events: Campus Rallye, Pub Crawl, two parties, and a board game afternoon!
- On Monday, you are welcome to join us for the OV Sneak Preview in the Cinema Arthouse. This is an established event where regularly 20-40 Coxis can be found. Please get your own tickets on the cinema's website.
Attendance at these events is not mandatory, but we highly recommend attending the Welcome Week by the International Office if you are an international student and the Freshie tutorials during the CogSci Freshie Week for all of you. The tutorials are the only proper way to get information on course selection and university procedure - they are essential for you to get the most up-to-date information.
If you already know that you will not be able to attend the Freshie Week, please contact us as soon as possible, so we can figure out how to set you up for a successful start to the new semester.
Lectures officially start on Monday, October 16th.
Freshie Weekend aka "Lohra"
The Coxi community organizes a fantastic weekend trip for all freshies and established Coxis every year. These trips have a long history in the Coxi-realm and are always a lot of fun. We get together at a castle called “Burg Lohra” in Thuringia. where the trip gets its nickname. On that castle, we cook and eat (mostly vegan) food together, we play games, we make and listen to music, we party and dance together, and there are a bunch of different workshops every year that you or the older Coxis are holding. This fall, we will be at the castle from October 27th to October 29th (Fri-Sun). There will be a separate mail with more info soon, so keep your eyes open!
Finding a place to live in a new city can be a struggle. Your most important resource is the Studentenwerk Osnabrück, which offers cheap housing in dorms. Get yourself on their lists as soon as possible.
Your other great resource is websites like wg-gesucht.de and kleinanzeigen.de where housing in private shared flats or houses is offered. The German term is "WG", which is short for "Wohngemeinschaft", which roughly translates to "flat share" and is the most common way of housing for students in Germany. The advertisements on these websites are either published by the flat/house owner or your potential new flatmates. Many ads are in German but do not hesitate to contact people in English. Most Germans know at least some basic English and especially students are very happy to communicate in English.
For the Erasmus and exchange students: Most of you have probably filled in your learning agreements by now. Nonetheless, we have attached a list of courses that we find especially suitable for exchange students to this mail. Adapting your learning agreements may still be possible, but please check with your local university!
For all: You have probably asked yourself "What are my courses?" and "How do I choose courses?". You can find a full list of all courses offered by our institute in the coming semester on our website. You sign up for courses in our university system "Stud.IP" which you will get access to after enrollment. If you want to, you can already sign up for courses. But be aware: Cognitive Science is highly individual, so while there are certain courses that are recommended, especially for our Bachelor Freshies, there is no given schedule. Your Freshie tutors will guide you through the courses in your Freshie week. You are probably really excited and want to choose courses as early as possible and you are free to do so. But please refrain from asking questions regarding this both to us and in the Telegram groups - we are happy to help you during the Freshie week and are confident that all your questions will find answers there. (If you cannot attend the Freshie week, we will try to find another solution. In this case, please contact us as early as possible.)
Student communication channels
Up until October 9th, you will get all necessary information via mail (just as we are doing with this info mail) and on the IKW website.
During the Freshie Week, you will find the slides of all the talks and maybe some other information on Stud.IP, our university's system where you also sign up for your courses. If you already logged into your Stud.IP account: You can find the event there by searching for "Einführungsveranstaltung: Erstsemesterwoche Cognitive Science WS 23/24 (WiSe 2023/24)".
For official communication from the faculty members, we use mailing lists.
Bachelor students: Sign up
Master students: Sign up
All students should sign up for the corresponding mailing list to receive official announcements about the course of studies, announcements of relevant job opportunities (e.g. teaching or research assistants), and announcements about research projects looking for test subjects, among other things.
For communication among students within our study programs, we mostly use Telegram. We made a Telegram group for all new Freshies and the Freshie tutors. Here, you are welcome to ask whatever questions come to your mind. There are no stupid or annoying questions - and often, someone else will have had the same question.
There is also "CogSci: The Intergenerational Chat", one giant group with almost 900 CogSci students and alumni and one group specifically for our international CogScis. For both of these groups, you are very welcome to ask questions, but please refrain from spamming. As the groups already exist for quite some time, many answers can be found by using the search function.
There is also a channel by the CogSci student body where they will inform of any upcoming meetings or exciting events. Only admins can write here, so there won't be many redundant messages. Please join if you want to stay up-to-date with the amazing work our student body does.
Note: Even if you are very motivated, we would like to ask you to not join any group that has the word "Orga" in its name. Despite our appreciation of your motivation, the organization of the Freshie Week or Freshie weekend trip should not be laid on your shoulders and we also do not want to spoil the surprise!
If you did not receive the links to the telegram groups by email and would like to join them, please get in touch with us by email.
A general note: Do not hesitate to ask questions, or talk to your fellow students and lecturers. We know that moving to a new city or even a new country is a big step, and it is very normal that you may need a while to get comfortable with your new situation. Do not stress yourself, if things are not going as you expected, be kind to yourself and others, and ask for help!
And a more special note to our international students: We are all very happy to speak English, not least because our study programs are in English. So please do not hesitate to speak to your fellow students, your tutors, and your lecturers!
That's it! You're not alone, we're here for you. This is an exciting time, but we totally get that studying in a new city or even a new country can be stressful - we have been there ourselves. We know that this can bring a lot of unknowns and new experiences, and are very happy to do whatever we can to smooth the process for you.
With this being said, we are very much looking forward to meeting you soon!
Alina, Elisa, Merri, and Zahra from the mentoring team,
Peter, Hannah, Chantal, Johanna, Frieda, Maxine, and Joshua from the student body,
and all the other lovely helpful Coxis.