I finally got to select my courses this week! I had an orientation with my department where we talked about the process of class selection and registration. There are four-ish (I'll explain later) different types of courses offered at the University of Tübingen...
Just like lectures at Manoa, these take place in a big hall usually with 100+ students. There usually isn't going to be much discussion between the professor and the class. Lectures do not require course registration and attendance is not taken. However, your final grade depends on just one big exam. So it's best you go.
Blocked lectures are the "-ish" that I mentioned in the introduction to this post. They are just like regular lectures, but they are taught by a visiting professor who is at Tübingen for a limited amount of time. This means that instead of being taught for 2-3 hours a week over the course of a semester, it is taught for 10-12 hours every day over the course of 3-5 days.
These are paired with a lecture and similar to what we call a lab or a discussion section at Manoa. This is time for students to get any clarification from the lecture and require a lot more participation. Most exercises don't require course registration either.
Seminars are smaller classes (usually 15-20 students) and require active discussion and participation. There is usually a long paper (called Hausarbeit) in place of an exam and attendance is mandatory. Seminars require early registration and exchange students are not permitted to take them unless they are there for the full academic year or longer. This is because they are generally geared towards students preparing to write their bachelor thesis.
I will be taking four classes while I'm here.
I submitted course petitions through OSAS before I left, but since I wasn't able to arrange my classes until this week there have been some adjustments to what I thought I was going to take. Therefore, I will have to submit two more course petitions and hope that they come back with equivalents. Fingers crossed! I'm just glad to have my courses chosen. I start classes this week, so I'll update next week with how everything went. Bis bald!
I've spent the past couple weeks getting to know the city and trying to orient myself in this new place. I've made a solid group of friends who have been really great about showing me around the town. Here are some photos from the past weeks adventures.
I'm glad I arrived in Germany so early because I've really gotten to know the town before the craziness of classes sets in. I had a quick orientation with my department last week, but since I've already been here for about three weeks I had already finished almost all the things we were told to do and I knew where everything was on the tour. I have another orientation next week as well as a welcome event, which is when I'll finally get to select my classes. I'll be sure to update here once I'm all enrolled.
Talk to you soon!
Last week, I got the super special opportunity to travel to Munich with my boyfriend, Jun. He flew in from New York and we got to visit the beautiful historic city for 5 days. Here are some photos from the quick trip!
I'm so glad I was able to make it to Munich and share the experience with Jun. We ate so much good food, went to a ton of museums, and we got to visit the Dachau concentration camp memorial. I had to take four trains from Tübingen, which took me 3.5 hours. At one point, I accidentally got on the wrong car and was sitting in first class, so I pretended to be asleep every time they came around to check tickets. It was the most nerve-racking hour of my life.
Next week Friday, I have an orientation with the school of business and social sciences where I'll get to tour the campus and meet other international students in the same program (here, it's called a faculty) though I won't register for classes until the following week. I've already met some really great people through the international student Facebook page, except most of them are masters students or post-grad researchers in science and medicine. It's really nice to be able to speak English with them, since I'm not proficient in conversational German.
I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I need to remember to stock up on food before Sunday since everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is closed for the entirety of Sunday. It was a bit of a shock my first Sunday here when I couldn't even go out to buy food. I'll see you next week! Bis bald!
Greetings from my dorm room where I still don't have wifi, but thankfully have an ethernet cable! I moved in a week ago and I love my room. I get my own bathroom, the bedroom is really spacious, the kitchen is right down the hall, and there's a bus stop that goes pretty much anywhere just 3 minutes from my building. When I moved in on Monday I knew I had to get settled in really quickly so that I could start the matriculation process. I talk a little bit about it here, but basically I had to apply for temporary residency in Tübingen instead of getting a student Visa. I knew I had to do this within the first 2 weeks of my arrival, and I also knew I was going on a 5-day trip to Munich that Thursday, so I had 3 days to get it all done. No problem right? 3 whole days? What I didn't know is that basically every office in Germany closes at noon. Not even just for lunch. After 12PM all the offices I needed to go to would be closed for the rest of the day. So here's what I did to finish everything in time...
I made sure to set up my health insurance while I was still back in Hawaii, because I knew I would need proof of insurance in order to matriculate. I talk about it here. I am insured with Techniker Krankenhaus, and I applied over email and they sent me the letter I needed. I just have to go into their office now that I'm in Germany to fill out paperwork. But make sure you do this ahead of time! It will make your life much easier when trying to matriculate.
Day 1 (Monday)
I went to the Office for International Student Affairs and met with my advisor, Simone Hahne, to get all of my matriculation documents. She helped me complete some of the forms and gave me a useful little cheat sheet with a map of the town and the locations of all the offices and steps in the process.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
Next I had to go to the Registration Office for Foreigners in Tübingen (aka Ausländerabteilung) to apply for my temporary residence permit. I took all of the paperwork I had gotten the day before, as well as other important documents that I had scanned and printed at home. It took me forever to find the office, so by the time I was done with this step, I couldn't do anything else that day.
Day 3 (Wednesday, AKA crunch time)
I woke up bright and early to go and pay my student dues of 83.80€ at the Universitätskasse. This was really quick so I was able to quickly move on to the next step, which was taking all of my completed matriculation documents to the Student Office (aka Studentensekretariat). I dropped everything off and now I'm all set! I just have to wait for my residence permit and student ID in the mail, but I've done all that I can do on my end. I also had an appointment with Deutsche Bank to open up a checking account so I can pay my rent and insurance via direct deposit. I had gone to two other banks and they were incredibly not helpful, so I asked another international student who he banks with. Deutsche Bank has ties to Bank of America, so everyone that works there speaks really good English and it's free to transfer money from your account back home if you use Bank of America.
I'm glad I finished everything before my trip to Munich, because I got to fully enjoy my visit without stressing about having to complete more steps when I got home the next week. Munich was amazing, but that'll be a separate blog post. For now, I'm off to find dinner. Bis bald!
I finally made it! After 30 hours of traveling and a decent amount of getting lost, I am in my hostel for the weekend before I check into my dorm on Monday. I took three planes, a train, a bus, and a decently long, hilly walk with all my luggage to get here. It's safe to say that I have never been this tired in my life. The time difference between Germany and Hawaii is 11 hours so when I'm waking up here, I would be going to bed in Hawaii. I've heard that the trick is to just eat at normal times and that'll speed up the elimination of jet lag. We'll see. Here's some photos from my time here so far...
All of these photos were from today. My whole goal for the day was to find pajamas because that's something I forgot to pack. Luckily I got some at the weird grocery/department/perfume hybrid store. About an hour into my exploring, it started to rain super hard and it was also 40 degrees so I packed it in and headed back to the hostel which is where I'm writing to you now. Next time I check in, I will hopefully be settled in my dorm. I'm gonna go and try to find my dorm tomorrow (Sunday) before I actually have to go there on Monday hauling all my stuff with me. We'll see how that goes. I don't have wifi in a lot of places so I've been relying on strangers to help me figure out where to go.
I hope to do a lot more exploring but honestly I'm still super tired and it's also gonna take a bit of adjustment being in a new place where people don't speak your language. It's nice because most Germans learn English in school, but it's also not the first language they choose to speak. So walking on the streets or sitting in a cafe is kinda lonely, in a way, since I can't understand big chunks of what's being said. If I start speaking English first, 98% of people have been able to respond to me in English. But it's still weird being surrounded by so many people who I can't fully understand. It'll take some adjustment but I'll get there!!!! I'll talk at you guys soon-- I'm off to find dinner now. Tschüss!