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Orientation is done!

Trier, Germany

Today was our last day of the Einführungsseminar (orientation seminar). Or, rather, yesterday was - today we had our official Deutsch als Fremdsprache placement test to determine which level of German as a foreign language courses we could take. It was fairly easy, I think, but we'll see on Wednesday when the results get posted.

So classes start on Monday - EECK!!! I'm signed up for way too many right now, which is good in the end. As things get started I will get to pick and choose and drop as I will. I've already received a few emails from one professor who is doing a Seminar course I signed up for. The class sounds really intense anyway, and he wants us to show up to the Übung section on Monday, even if you're just in the Seminar, to get an introduction. I'm also supposed to watch a movie and read stuff for the first day of class...?

I guess I should vaguely explain the system here. Not vaguely because I don't want to go into a detailed rant, but vaguely because that is the best that I know anything.

Classes are split into three main groups: Vorlesung, Seminar, and Übung.

A Vorlesung is basically a strict lecture. The professor talks, the students listen, and everyone leaves. You can, however, sign up for classes that are a Vorlesung with a discussion section, or an übung section, etc. but strict Vorlesungen are also offered. It's one of the easier levels, because the studying and preparing is done independently and people can go at their own pace.

A Seminar is more of what a normal class is for me, I think. It is run by a professor, but people are given long term presentation assignments and expected to participate regularly. Proseminars are like Seminars, but easier.

I think an Übung is one in which you don't even really need a professor because everything is group work. Or something. I never really got a straight answer on that.

So this class I"m getting emails about is a regular Poli Sci class (meaning not designed for non-native speakers), a Seminar (which is one of the harder levels) and the guy is already expecting me to work before things really have gotten started. Eeck!

Right now I'm signed up for this seminar, China and its Neighbors, a Poli Sci Vorlesung entitled Intro to Political Economics (I know nothing about economics and thought it was something I should do... when it doesn't factor into my GPA), hopefully two DaF classes on intercultural communication and academic writing, two normal Germanistik courses on literature (one is about bohemians, artists, and people on the edges of society in 1900 ish lit and the other is called Oral Violence), a French lit course (my French is SO rusty, this could turn out poorly) and an art history course on gender throughout art. Something(s) will have to be dropped. I'm thinking the China course at least is out, but we'll have to see about the rest and how interesting they sound after the first week.

Other than that I'm just getting used to life here in Trier. My bus stop is a 2000 year old Roman gateway, which is pretty sweet. I don't know any of my hallmates very well (save the other Americans)... I'm working on it but I don't get the impression anyone really knows anyone else well. I do talk to one guy a fair amount, but all of our conversations revolve around how the Americans should speak in German and not let people speak English to them. Because the whole point of coming to Germany is to learn German. I don't know why he thinks he has to tell me this all of the time, considering a) I've been in Germany since August, b) I've lived with Germans and 3) I obviously make an effort to speak German. We have this conversation in German. Everything.

I can't wait for classes to start. I'm somewhat terrified about it - everything is going to be in German, and I don't know the system or how classes work or anything. But I'm ready to really learn again (I haven't actually been in a class of any kind since mid-December) and to be in a academic environment. Also I'd like to meet some new people - but that's kind of hard here.

Hopefully pictures will come soon. My internet connection here is EXCRUCIATINGLY slow and uploading pictures is quite the hassle. Hence the reason nothing is posted in pictures since I left Freiburg. Whoops.

permalink written by  lost_red_balloon on April 17, 2009 from Trier, Germany
from the travel blog: The Oldest City in Germany
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