So, I know just the other day I complained about how dull Sundays are in Germany. However, as of right now, my feelings on the subject matter have changed completely. Bring on sleep and watching The Office reruns online.
Ich bin ein bisschen gestresst.
Okay, so ‘a little stressed’ may be a slight understatement, but I’ll manage to make everything work out. I always do. Yet, for some unknown reason I always end up wanting to pull my hair out when it comes to planning classes to take and make semester plans. Maybe I just have some not-so-secret internalized fear that I know planning ahead means that I’m getting closer to graduation. Eek.
Regardless of whether or not I want it to be true, my final semester of my junior year is now figured out and finalized. Well, almost finalized. In Germany students aren’t confined to the lovely four year graduation plan, nor do they really have to sign up for classes. Here students are encouraged to ‘try out’ courses to see what they enjoy and what best fits their learning style. If you want to drop a class, no money wasted and no penalties.
Oh, and did I fail to mention that the government pays for their entire education, minus a small annual fee of less than $1000?
(Feel free to cover your ears while I, along with the other American Exchange Students scream a long line of profanities.)
The options that students have here is amazing. For the first time in my college career my academic advisers are asking me what I want to do and which classes I am interested in taking, rather than having to fight for a place in a class or being confined to a small selection of courses that will fulfill a specific requirement that isn’t marked as finished on my transcript.
I have selected my courses with this newly found freedom in mind, and although I was a little nervous about the uncertainty of solidifying my class schedule, I think I will be happy with what I have chosen. I will be taking two journalism classes about American Politics and Journalism, two literature courses, three gender/sexuality studies courses (all in English) and one German history course taught in German.
Yeah, yeah, I know. So much for taking classes all auf Deutsch.
I swear I’m not copping out. I just am not that confident that I would be able to do well in my courses if class instruction/assignments/papers were all expected to be completed in German. At least I will still improve my German by working with children at a local school teaching English (and learning back from them). I have also chosen to move to another part of the city to live with my friend Doro.
I think she’ll help me to get the full experience here in Dortmund.
After all, she introduced me to the sights, taught me a bit about the German culture, has taken me shopping, shown me German film/books and most importantly: led me to experience my first ’spaghetti-eis’ (Ice cream sundae that looks like a plate of spaghetti) today. Just look at that monster of a sundae!
It’s still gray outside, and I’m still having a little anxiety, but each day I’m realizing more and more that Germany is friggin’ sweet.