The roughly eight hour flight over to Germany literally flew by (no pun intended), even with the layover in Iceland. Once I arrived in Frankfurt, I met up the other two students from my home university and we split a cab over to Heidelberg University, where we received our housing information and the information we needed to survive the next few days.
After an awkward encounter with a non-english speaking bus driver, I was on my way to my new home for the next five months — a “Wohnung”(shared apartment) in Neuenheimer Feld. This would be the first time that I have ever lived in an apartment instead of a dorm or with my parents. The apartment is set up with an entrance way with a bathroom then a door to a kitchen with a small table and a hallway with two bedrooms, both of which are relatively large.
After taking some time to unpack and explore my new space, I met up once again with a student from my home university to go to a welcome night hosted by two of the most prominent exchange student groups at the university. We all went to a small college bar together and played an icebreaker game to help us meet new people, which worked out really well as everyone was fairly excited (read desperate) to meet people and have easy conversation starters. I met a few really interesting people and was introduced to the two groups that continue to provide inexpensive fun trips and activities that I participate in.
So my advice for anyone coming is that the first night (while not crazy important or anything) can be a good time to go out and meet people and may be worth sacrificing much needed sleep for. I met one of my closest friends here in Heidelberg that night and knowing at least one other person from the start has made a huge difference for me in terms of feeling less homesick and more welcome here in this new city.