Hi everyone! I am been very busy with the primary aim for coming here. Yeah right! Studying!
I would like to talk more about the things I personally find “atypical” or unusual here in Germany.
The sun. It does not set until 9:30 – 10 PM at night. Yeah! That is absolutely strange. I mean, the sun rises as early as 4AM sometimes, which is typical summer in Germany. I find it so strange till now. I mean, how do you sleep when the sun is shining so bright as early as 4AM. You end up hanging out till very late in the night cos the sun tricks you. This might sound unbelievable, until you actually experience it. Seeing they say, is believing.
Another thing! The use of 24hour time (or military time) is very usual in Germany. lectures, seminars, advertisements, restaurants, supermarkets etc all use the military time. I guess it is to ensure there are no miscommunications.
Eating outside is quite affordable here. Of course, only if you know the right places to go to. Aside eating at the Mensa**, you can find affordable restaurants where you can spend about ca. 10 Euro on a very decent meal. Some of my favorite foods are Döner and turkish pizza. Döner is the food that I would very much miss when I return to Olemiss. I eat Döner at least twice weekly. I know the very good joints in Potsdam and a few in Berlin.
The classes are held once weekly. Yeah! You actually decide if you need 2, 3, 4 credit hours or more in any class you are taking. Irrespective of the credit hours you want in a course, you only meet once weekly. The tasks you have to do (writing paper, taking a final exam, creating a portfolio or poster, making a presentation etc) are determined by effort you decide to put into such course. Although some classes only meet every other week, but en bloc. You have a single class of 6 hours on a Saturday or Sunday and not meet again till after 2 weeks. By selecting the correct classes for the correct time, you can easily decide how much free days you will have in a week. I have already gotten my final score in a 3 credit hours course I took after fulfilling the requirements for it. 1 course down! Even at the middle of the semester.
The classes last for 90 minutes at the minimum. It usually stays on the timetable as 8:00 to 10:00, but the class would begin 15 minutes after the first hour and end 15 minutes before the official hour. It gives enough time to come or go to the next class (at another location or campus) while disallowing lateness on the path of the student.
You will see a lot of people riding their bicycles around here. I personally think the best way to discover Potsdam and a lot of cities in Germany is to ride a bicycle. I got one from the house master. Exchange students usually leave their bicycles behind or sell them. I picked one, oiled it, pumped the tires and voila! I have been to so many places with my bicycle. So long you use your lights at night and stick to the dedicated lane for bicycles, you are safe and secure.
If you wish, you can easily get a student job in Germany. Most students I know (Germans and internationals) usually work 1 or 2 jobs. From IT, to customer service jobs, you will get something to do if you have lecture-free days and are willing to earn some extra cash.
Needless to say, you find Americans everywhere. I mean, I no longer get surprised whenever I see people speaking German without accent and after 2 minutes, switch to (American English). Do not the surprised, they are Americans who are on holiday in Germany. I have personally observed Germans loooove America(ns). I personal thing more Germans visit the US than vice versa. I guess the language barrier might be the little glitch.
I made lists of very exciting places and people I would be visiting. Including the house Albert Einstein lived in Potsdam here and the countless beautiful and historical sites in Berlin and other cities in Germany and other neighboring countries. Do look forward!
*** Mensa –Student cafeteria.
***Döner Kebab : roasted meat dish (beef, chicken or lamb), originally from Turkey. It is one of the biggest fast foods in Germany, generating more than €2.5 billion yearly.