Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welcome to Marburg!

Well guys, I’ve officially made it to Marburg, Germany! For those of you who don’t know, I spent those 8 weeks in Vienna working on my German so I could study in Marburg.  The university here is called Philipps Universität and is home to around 20,000 students.  During my time here, I’ll be taking German classes, history classes, and hopefully anthropology classes. Most of the classes here are in German so I’ll be attempting one or two classes auf Deutsch, which is pretty scary!  I’ve been here for a week and a half already so I’ve got a lot to update you all on.

 A little bit about the city of Marburg: Marburg is a small university city located in the German state Hessen and has a population of around 80,000 people.  It has been around since the Middle Ages and has two great pieces of gothic architecture: the Marburger Schloss and the Elizabethkirche.  The castle is literally located on the top of a giant hill so it’s hard to miss.  Also, when you walk into the city center, you literally feel like you’re walking into the Middle Ages!  All of the buildings have been beautifully restored and the paths are still cobblestone.  There are also tons of modern stores and buildings around the center too so everything you need is right there.  I really love the town already!

 I live in a newly renovated dorm here called the Dr. Carl Duisburg Haus.  It’s located in the Oberstadt, which is close to the Schloss and near the top of the giant hill.  This means I have a beautiful view of the entire city from my window, but that I have to climb about 340 steps to get there (yes I tried counting but kept losing track)!  My dorm’s pretty similar to the dorms in the States, but what’s really different for me, however, is the wash room.  In Germany, most people don’t use dryers at all and let their clothes air dry.  It’s definitely a great thing to do to help the environment, but it’s going to take some getting use to for me! 

Since coming to Marburg, I’ve mostly been doing a lot of shopping in order to settle in to my dorm.  Since the other BCA students and I can take any public transportation in the state of Hessen for free with our student ID’s, we decided to go to the IKEA in Frankfurt as a day trip to get stuff for our rooms.  It was a great idea and we did end up getting some good things at IKEA, but we had the worst luck with transportation.  There was a big soccer game in Frankfurt that day so the train ride there was crowded and then the main subway lines that we needed were closed for construction.  We had to take an S-Bahn (quick train), a bus, a subway line, and then another bus just to get there.  When heading back, we just barely made it onto one of the trains leaving for Marburg.  Turns out though, that there are two different types of trains leaving from Frankfurt in the direction of Marburg: one that goes directly to Marburg and one that stops at another city before Marburg and then towards a town called Dillenburg.  Turns out we were on the one to Dillenburg.  It wasn’t until we were almost at Dillenburg, though, until we realized this mistake!  We eventually did make it back to Marburg but had some interesting train rides with the very intoxicated fans from the soccer game.

Tomorrow I am off to Berlin for a small two-day visit with the BCA program!  I’m super excited to see all the history there and can’t wait to explore a bit.  Classes then start up on Monday for me.  I hopefully will post again after my first week of classes to let you all know about that!  Until next time =)

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