(That kind of almost rhymes if you pronounce “unterwegs” properly… almost.)
It’s been a relatively busy 2 days.
If you’ve seen me or talked to me in the past 2-4 weeks, you know that it’s been a heck of a ride trying to actually be accepted to the university here.
First, I needed to find new advisors; then, I got the application after the application deadline had already passed; then, it seems that my documents got lost in the mail.
Then I learned about the issue where the requirement for my scholarship was to have obtained my bachelor’s degree already, but the requirement at the university to enroll as a foreign student is to be concurrently enrolled at an American university.
Say what now?
In any case, I NEEDED to talk to a real, live university employee in person to
force them to enroll me have a reasoned discussion of why this shouldn’t be an issue.
So off I went to the International Office (Ausländisches Amt), just a short (40+ minute) bus-ride-and-walk away. I was the 4th person in line, and the woman answered all my questions: yes, they finally have all my papers, minus one, which I was then able to give her; hopefully the people in the special Scholarship Office (which I did not know existed) will e-mail me by Monday.
Why is this so important? Well. First, I have to get my acceptance letter; with this letter, I will be allowed to matriculate. Everything depends on matriculation. While I still haven’t matriculated, I am unable to: register with the city, get my visa, get a student ID, start getting paid for my scholarship, get a new bank card (I forget my PIN from 2 years ago…), buy a student pass for the buses and trams, or take advantage of discounts at the Mensa and museums. It’s important, yo. But hopefully it’s coming soon.
After this promising meeting, I walked to the actual university 2ish km away. It’s a really large and beautiful campus with lots of old buildings. There was one particularly striking one (the photography building, as it would happen) that was red brick and covered in green, orange, and red ivy, but I couldn’t take a picture when I passed it.
One thing worth mentioning about this walk is that I was sweating like CRAZY because, after being pretty cold the previous 2 days, I had way overdressed. I was wearing my fleece-lined tights under jeans, 3 layers of shirts plus my raincoat, and boots. I was super miserableSo when I reached the Geographie building, first I found a bathroom and removed all unnecessary clothing. (At least now I know that I have the clothes to handle temperatures like 20 degrees south of the weather now.)
In the Geographie building, I met with a lecturer, Cindy, from the department who had volunteered to give me a tour and to tell me a little bit about the department where I’ll be studying. She was very nice, and she is taking an English course currently so we switched back and forth between English and German… it was interesting. She showed me a lot of features on the website that have proven very useful, including the course offerings.
The tour included the library, the Mensa/cafeteria/dining hall, and some general places of interest around campus (the nearest tram/bus stops, etc.). By this time, my feet hurt like no other, so I decided to call it a day and go home.
The course offering site that Cindy showed me really piqued my interest, so I stayed up till 12:30 coming up with different timetables for my semester (some things never change). I’ve found about 12 courses I’d take in a heartbeat, just from within the departments of geographical and hydrological science. Watershed management, the geography of cities and settlements, limnology, urban water…. how can one choose?
I sometimes take my interest in these things for granted, only to be reminded that not everyone is super interested in water and rivers as I am…. I told Daniel about them and he just kind of laughed and said he was glad that someone is interested enough to study wastewater or whatever. (You mean, everyone doesn’t think that river catchments are super fascinating?)
(Daniel is my boyfriend, and he’s coming to Spain in/around February, when he will hopefully become a more regular feature on the blog because of our European adventures!)
Also: I might be able to have a schedule with only Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday classes. Schööön.
This afternoon, at the suggestion of my host parents, I headed to the Stadtmuseum (City Museum) because it is free on Friday after noon. It was raining, so therefore a perfect museum day.
The first floor of the museum had 2 art galleries, so I was worried for a second that the whole thing was an art museum… not that that would be terrible, but art museums, to me, are not as interesting as history museums. Which this museum, as I had thought, turned out to be! As close to a comprehensive history of Dresden as you can get, I think.
The 3rd floor (the 2nd is under construction) was about the 19th and 20th centuries, my favorite 2 time periods if I had to choose. The 20th century was such a turbulent and dynamic time in Germany that it’s easy to forget the 1800s, which themselves were full of growth and strife!
This floor, and the 4th floor (13th-18th centuries), were organized in a really interesting way: topically! There was one room about “Words and Weapons” (religious reform and the violence that resulted), one hall about a particular uprising in Dresden in 1848, one section devoted to the medieval justice system, one about the growth of cottage industries in the 19th century. Fascinating.
In the section about the 2nd World War and the DDR-Zeit, it was very interesting to see everything through a particularly-Dresdner lens. I’ve learned so much in my German and history classes about the 2nd half of the 20th century, but of course every city, region, and country experienced these events differently.
After I was done at the museum, I decided to walk around the neighborhood a little bit and discovered that I was only 2 blocks from the Frauen Kirche and the rest of the main square! (I’m just learning the layout of the city.)
I went in the Frauen Kirche (beautiful!) and the Katholische Hofkirche (also beautiful, but with an interesting feel to it that I’ll have to get used to). I walked around a bit, bought some postcards and a Bratwurst, and headed back to the tram when it started raining a bit.
It’s nice to get out a bit and see different parts of the city. Tomorrow I’ll make it 3 days in a row, as I’m going to see my future apartment and then shopping with my roommate. This city is quite a bit bigger than Freiburg, so I have to take it in bite-sized chunks.
For now, I’m drinking wine and watching German Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. If you want to be humbled in your language skills, watch a trivia show! 😉