BIGS-DR coordination team
Dr. Günther Manske
Ms. Maike Retat-Amin


Location, location, location

Bonn has slightly more than 300,000 inhabitants who live in and around the city center. It is located right along the banks of the Rhine river, the entrance to the Middle Rhine Valley, an area filled with a cultural landscape shaped by history (and wine!).

Traveling around Bonn and surrouding cities is simple. Cologne is located just 25 minutes north of Bonn via the regional trains, and Frankfurt is 1.5 hours south via the InterCity Express trains. The closest airports to Bonn are the Cologne-Bonn International Airport and the Düsseldorf International Airport.

BIGS-DR and ZEF are part of the University of Bonn, a nationally and internationally recognized public research institution. The University of Bonn supports a growing body of international researchers affiliated with several research institutions in the area. Most of our doctoral students obtain their doctoral degree from one of the university's leading academic faculties.

International hub

BIGS-DR and ZEF are located in Bonn. Bonn is home to a number of international research institutions, UN agencies (UNU-EHS, UNCCD, UNFCCC), and national actors in the field of development cooperation and policy, such as the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation, the German Development Institute (DIE), and many others.

In addition, global companies and service leaders are situated in the city as well, such as Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile (telecommunications), and Deutsche Post (DHL and logistics group).

Welcome events

It may take some time for the new arrivals to get settled in Bonn. BIGS-DR has several orientation events in the very beginning of the semester for new students to get to know the city, the institute, and each other. Students are typically encouraged to arrive a few weeks to a month before the beginning of courses so that they can complete the necessary bureaucratic steps and familiarize themselves with the city.

  • Before the courses begins, ZEF throws an institute-wide sustainable BBQ party in its courtyard where the new students are introduced.

  • The first day of orientation at BIGS-DR takes place during the first week of October. Students will be introduced to the course structure and study rules.

  • During the semester, BIGS-DR has another international dinner event hosted by the new students where they each bring a regional dish to share.

  • Throughout the semester, BIGS-DR and ZEF organizes workshops, excursions and events were students are introduced to the region and local cultural specialties.

Useful information for students about living and studying in Germany can be found on the DAAD website the Higher Education Compass.