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Trier, Germany

It's been a few weeks since I've written. This is mostly because NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. Overall, Trier isn't a terribly exciting place. Don't get me wrong, I love it here. It's really nice to just sit back and get things done without all sorts of other things going on. I'm starting to discover my favorite places to go for various things (I have an ice cream place, a pizzeria, an Italian restaurant, grocery stores, and my all-time favorite bakery with the sweetest women I've ever met).

German universities are still crazy. There is no getting around this. I'm still trying to figure out what I need to do in all of my classes because some students don't need to do research papers, and some do, and some need oral presentations, and some don't, and I have no idea where I fit into all of this. So I've been frantically emailing people at SU trying to make sure everything I'm doing will count for something because, really, if it doesn't, I can't graduate with an international studies degree because I was... ahem... studying. Internationally. Yup. My only other rant along these lines is how ridiculous I think it is that Southwestern wants me to pay $1350 to do my own research in Germany for my capstone. I want to do an Honors capstone, which is a two semester program, and figured that I would be researching in Germany for it anyway (German capstone, German country... it makes sense, right?) and thought it would be nice to get one of the semester's credit for that. Apparently, though, this is not how things work. UGH. I will refrain from the rant that builds up EVERY SINGLE TIME about how much I don't like the money-drive behind education that is building up. I'm watching this develop now in Germany, too, which is big on public education (which means ridiculously low tuitions). I understand that resources cost something for the school - that in general I get very small classes, one-on-one opportunities with professors, good access to other academic resources, etc. but that this all costs money to the school so I'm going to have to pay some. But still, independent research in another country is a completely different thing. I can't afford $1350 for two extra words on my diploma.

ANYWAY, I'm getting through things. My class list for this semester is:

Pictures of Germany in Literature and Film (German as a foreign language course)
French Postcolonial Literature (in French)
Oral Violence
Academic Writing (German as a foreign language course)
Introduction to Political Economics
Art and Archaeology of the Greek World
Intercultural Communication (German as a foreign language course)
Gypsies, Vagabonds, Artists and Bohemians: Border-existence in the literature of 1900

Woot! On top of that I'm researching for my capstone. The theme I'm going with (I have yet to develop a specific research question) is an examination of how the stresses of immigration/integration in Germany are expressed through German language immigrant-based literature. It sounds more eloquent in German.

Um... I went to Paris again last weekend. It was mostly really fun, but I was with a bunch of people who'd never been so a lot of it was stuff I've already kind of seen (e.g. Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, etc.) but the group was entertaining. A bit stressful towards the end, but... well... nothing you can do. I did get to go to this flea market I've been trying to go to for ages now (mostly I tried to go in 2006 with my mother but we got there and it was closed, and I tried last semester and just got lost in Parisien banlieues/ghettos) and I finally made it!! Parts of it are just booths selling knock-offs of brands or cheap-ish clothing, which Rob described as having "fallen off of trucks." The quotation marks were his as well. But you also get some pretty cool stuff. THe area is mainly an immigrant-populated area, so you can get a lot of stuff from Africa, the Middle East, India, etc. that is shipped in or, in the case of more arts-and-crafts-y things, made by the people now living in Paris. It was a lot of fun. I bought a bracelet made out of a fork (it looks better than it sounds, promise).

That's uh... pretty much it. I'll check in later!

permalink written by  lost_red_balloon on May 12, 2009 from Trier, Germany
from the travel blog: The Oldest City in Germany
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