Saturday, April 20, 2013

First Week of Class!!

Hello all! This past week was pretty exciting because it was my first week of actual college classes.  Philipps Universität’s entire educational system here is entirely different from those in the U.S. so I learned a ton about the way classes work here. I also had to go to the doctors for the first time while I’ve been abroad, making it a crazy and stressful week for me!  I’m feeling better now so don’t worry, but it definitely was an interesting experience.

There are so many differences between Etown and Philipps University that it’s hard to know where to start!  Well firstly, students here can take as many credits as they are able to handle.  This is good for the motivated, but a procrastination trap for those who aren’t.  Tests, finals, and papers can sometimes be scheduled for whenever a student wants so they can finish them weeks after a class is over.  Most classes usually only meet for two hours once every week. There are also four-hour seminars that occur every other week and even longer classes that happen only a couple times a semester.  Even though classes only meet once a week, most will also start and end 15 minutes late too!  This means that students have a ton more free time during the week, but it can also means more homework too.  Professors here are also much vaguer when it comes to homework.  They’d probably consider some of the professors back in the states to be spoon feeding their students.

My first class was entirely auf Deutsch.  It’s a course on the history and culture of the Sinti and Roma that I thought would be do-able for me in German.  All of my courses here transfer as either pass or fail so it takes a lot of the pressure off of me!  The entire class actually went really well even though I was terrified.  When the professors (there are two for this class) finished their lecture though, I was totally shocked when all of the students began to knock on the tables.  Apparently it’s like clapping for someone and it happened at the end of all my courses.  I’m going to have to get used to that one.  Another surprise happened to me in my course about the anthropology of anarchy: a student brought her newborn child into class with her!!  The professor didn’t even seem to notice! I’m entirely speechless on that one.

Of course during my first week of classes, my throat began to hurt and just got worse over time.  It hurt so much that by Friday, I decided I should see a doctor.  I didn’t have a clue what to do so I had to call my Resident Director here to find out.  Some doctors, like in the States, do appointments only, but many here in Marburg have “open speaking times” every day. They’re basically like walk-in hours that anyone can come to.  So I just found a random doctor in town that had these walk-in hours and literally just walked in.  It was really simple to see the doctor too.  I just had to give my name, address, and telephone and show them my insurance and then I could wait to see someone.  The hardest part was that my doctor did not speak English.  It was frustrating for me not to understand everything and to not be able to tell her more about my medical history.  I did get some medicine though and am already starting to feel better so it all worked out in the end!

There’s just one little thing I want to comment on before I end my post.  As I have gone throughout Europe, there is one thing that I have noticed that every European can do well: tie and wear scarves well!  Seriously, both the guys and girls here look like they were just born wearing them!  Meanwhile, I can only wear a scarf two different ways and look extremely awkward in them. Anyways, hopefully by the end of this trip I’ll be able to pull them off!  Danke for reading my blog! Until next time =)

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