"...no other university in Germany could boast a similar location"
(report of the Ducal University commission about the Jesuit residence, 29 October 1804)
The ground floor of the north section of the building, which were originally the kitchens and dining hall of the cloister, as well as the cellar with its vaulted stone ceiling, are now home to the extensive departmental library. Students appreciate the individual study desks scattered throughout the stacks on the lower level, especially in summer, when the cellar is not only quiet but cool. These hallowed halls are only disturbed a few times a year, when merrymakers pack the cellar at the annual Christmas Party and faculty and staff open the new semester with a traditional Sherry Party.
At the southern end of the ground floor, the Common Room offers a comfortable atmosphere for students to meet and relax. The student representatives host start/end of term breakfasts as well as weekly tea breaks here. In the evenings, it is not unusual to find thespians from the drama group rehearsing their next performance.
As the building contains a number of spacious rooms, most classes – with the exception of large lectures – meet right in the department. Most of the smaller seminar rooms are located on the second floor and several are outfitted with laptops and beamers. Faculty and staff as well as the departmental secretaries have a lovely view of the Jesuit Church or the Heidelberg castle from their offices on the third and fourth floors. The top floor has a comfortably furnished conference room as well as a computer lab with fourteen work stations and a printer for students to use.
The courtyard bordered by the English Studies Department, the Romance Languages Department and the Jesuit Church has been laid out as a garden in the Baroque style. It offers a quiet refuge from the bustle of the old city and students take advantage of its pleasant atmosphere to relax and study there when the weather permits. Often the only sounds to be heard are the gentle burble of the fountain and the muffled tones of the church organ, making it easy to imagine oneself at an Oxbridge college. At the end of the summer term, the departmental student council sponsors the annual Garden Party, a pot-luck barbeque where graduates and outstanding teachers are recognized and the traditional faculty vs. students football game takes place.
Across the courtyard, the Romance Languages Department houses the Romanischer Keller. This unique theater, with its stone walls and vaulted ceilings, is shared by the students of Romance Languages and English, who organize a wide range of performances throughout the year. The lion’s share are put on by the English Studies Department Drama group; founded in 1964, it is one of Germany’s oldest English-language theater groups. The number and quality of student productions is a source of great pride in the department. Faculty members integrate the plays performed into their course syllabi whenever possible and participation both on and off stage is rewarded with university credit.