Let’s Start School…next week
Monday was the first day of school for the Kettering student here and we had an interesting orientation day. After a short speech by Balder Veit (head of the international program here) we were told about how our classes were to work. After some confusion with the layout of the schedules we all determined the classes we were to be in I learned that two of my classes had been scheduled at the same time; physical chemistry and heat transfer.
Putting this issue aside for later I also learned that we were to be split into two groups, those that spoke no German and those that spoke some German. For those of us who did speak some we had a surprise placement exam for our language course levels. So while the rest of students went off to go have the Germany within Europe course explained 3 of us got to take a language test. It was quite a challenge and while I understood about 80% of what was being said I couldn’t come up with the correct responses for the questions. As such, I didn’t do that well, but it was enough to get me tested out of the base level German Language course and into the 1.5 level course so I won’t be completely bored with the class. It turned out that the other two girls that took the test with me were from St. Petersburg Russia. They knew quite a bit more German than I did and no doubt they got into the level 2 class. It was nice to meet them though. After the test we proceeded to change places with the rest of the group and go talk to the professor who will be teaching our Germany within Europe class about his class and school in general here. It turns out that classes don’t actually start here until next Monday and this week will simply be our language course and the social science course (Germany within Europe). After this we had to migrate to the international office to figure a few things out before being shooed away and regrouping at the Mensa or Cafeteria at noon for a complimentary lunch.
The food was quite good even though I couldn’t place most of it. I was told that normally it was 3 Euro for students to eat lunch there which is a pretty good deal so I may be frequenting that when I don’t feel like cooking or going into town.
Later we had to meet once more to take care of some paperwork. After that though we were free to go and my roommate and I headed down to the Penny Markt to buy some groceries for the room. It was a productive trip and I managed to find some good stuff to make for dinner so I wouldn’t have to eat our so much and to keep the cost down.
The following day was relatively uneventful as far as classes went. We had our first Germany within Europe class and it seems like it is going to be rather interesting. I guess the direction of the class is going to enlighten us on German culture today by teaching us the history of the country and the region to explain how the German country and people have gotten to this point. I’m looking forward to it since there is still strife in the country over the old separation of East and West. I guess this year is the 20th anniversary of the Berlin wall coming down so it’s a big deal for the German people. Also it should be very interesting to hear a German’s perspective on the issues WWI and WWII, specifically the Holocaust.
Anyway, moving on to lighter topics…Later that day we ventured out into the city to a store called Roller which is a home goods store. The best I can compare it to is a Target, but with more furniture. I finally got to pick up a few things we have been needing for the dorm such as a power strip, some towels, and a larger trash can. It was a good outing except they didn’t have the one thing we’ve been wanting the most; a light bulb. The one in our bathroom burned out a while ago and it’s become a pain in the early morning and at night to go in there in the dark and rely on the light from outside to see. They had the bulb we needed at Roller but it was only in the compact florescent style. I know those are better for the environment and all, and I would use them at home with no problem, but the thing is I don’t feel like I should have to pay for it, and with a price tag of 10 Euros I was not about to just buy one. We plan to have the hausmeister (landlord essentially) get us one, but he isn’t here until next week, just like the heat. It’s cold here and the radiator system isn’t going to be turned on until next week. So in short we are cold and have a dark bathroom.
Today was more or less a bust. I didn’t have any classes so I got to sleep in until noon. It would have been much more appreciated though if I hadn’t of had to deal with the construction going on right below us. I awoke several times from 8 am on to the sounds of drilling and hammering on the wall next to my head, not a great way to spend a lazy morning.
After getting my lazy butt out of bed I lounged around for a while before finally getting cleaned up and dressed to go to a meeting with Balder Veit about my class conflict. And while I did get to meet the Chemistry professor that would essentially serve as my adviser while here I didn’t get a solid answer on the issue. More or less the response was “Tell him the problem next week in class and if you need help come talk to me”. Also there was the fun news that my P Chem professor, Dr. Bell (not the awesome one from Kettering), had decided that he was no longer going to profess the class in English, and he was going to do it in German instead. I may speak enough German to get around as a Tourist fairly well I definitely don’t speak enough to take a complex chemistry class in it, so that just adds to the fun. All Professor Veit could offer was that I should raise my hand and announce, “I don’t understand!” when he begins in German then talk to Dr. Bell with Professor Veit there. It might be the solution to my problem though, if he wants to teach in German I just won’t go to that lecture time and go to Heat transfer instead. Apparently Dr. Bell hands out a packet of learning material anyway in English so it might not be the end of the world to just miss that lecture.
That brings us to tonight, I have done basically nothing, aside from write this entry, and I guess I’m OK with that. I didn’t really have anything else that I needed to do tonight anyway aside from scheduling some of my trip this weekend which I am doing on the computer anyway.
I know I had said in the vlog that I was going to do a bi-daily thing, but that seems like it’s not going to be realistic. I think it’s going to end up being more of a twice a week sort of thing. Early in the week will most likely be a report out on what I did/where I went over the weekend and the later in the week will be a catching up to speed on what was done during the week and maybe what I’m doing the next weekend.
Speaking of, this weekend is looking like I will be heading over to Munich on Saturday to check out the city and Oktoberfest for the day then jumping on the train and going up to Berlin explore on Sunday. I’m not what time I’m going to want to stay in Berlin until on Sunday. Since I don’t have class until 1pm on Monday I could easily spend Sunday night in Berlin and use the entire day to explore then train back on the first train in the Morning. That’s the big advantage of trains over cars, I can sleep on the train, I can’t sleep while I’m driving somewhere. As long as I use my phone alarm to wake myself for the connections it will be a good way to catch up on some sleep. Either way it looks like it’s going to be a fun weekend.
Well, that’s all for now, I’ll be sure to try to keep up this on a fairly regular basis so some of you can continue to live vicariously through me. Signing off from Deutschland! Tschüss!