Monday, October 15, 2012

The beginning of University, Dresden...

First off, I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts in the past 2 weeks. If anything, I've been too busy being social and experiencing all the free moments I had before University started. But as I've acquired some kind of cold, I find it most appropriate to skip 'Montagskneipe', nurse myself back to health and finally let all my readers know what's been up.
I have divided up this post into the most important events from the last time I wrote.

The end of our Sprach und Orientierungskurs:
October 5th marked the end of the course that was supposed to prepare us for University in Leipzig. From my experience, it was a good review of basic grammar and practice with our speaking. I thought the program was really great in letting us learn about Leipzig. We often had trips to museums, activities and opportunities to hear lectures for exchange students and preparing for studying. I almost wish we had had more class time as I could always use some more practice with grammar (it always feels like a struggle). But when looking at the program as a whole, I would really like to emphasize how wonderful it was to get to know so many people before parting ways and the best part is, is that we all have a strong network of friends that I'm sure we'll all be hanging out with and meeting from time to time.
(I'm in the third row all the way on the left)

University and German classes so far:
So I've had a week of classes (though to be fair I haven't been to all of them, one was cancelled, and another the Professor simply didn't show up) and the best way to explain my experience could be that after each and every one, I've left with a headache. The system is very different, lectures and seminars are both 90 minutes long and each meet once a week. So technically you're in class less often than at Mount Holyoke for example but you have a lot more reading to do. It's an interesting system not to have assignments often but only exams and presentations or papers (it depends on the course) and I feel a lot more liberated. I have more time to read which is great as taking Politics and History courses here means that all I do is read. All of my classes are in German which right now means that I listen a lot, but have yet to say something in class. I keep telling myself that it'll come, but it all seems too slow for my hasty self.

Last Wednesday, October 9th marked the anniversary of Leipzigs peaceful revolution which took place October 9, 1989.
Taken from the city's website:
"The decisive event of the peaceful revolution was the large Monday demonstration on the 9th of October, 1989 in Leipzig. 70,000 demonstrators overcame their fears and faced the armed security forces with their chant “We are the people”. The peaceful revolution could no longer be held back. With their courage, the people of Leipzig contributed greatly to the fall of the GDR regime.People in many large cities and small towns demonstrated against the regime but Leipzig stands, perhaps more than any other place, as exemplary for the peaceful revolution in the minds of people in and beyond Germany. The 9th of October, 1989 became the day of decision for the democratic movement’s future.This is why the 9th of October is not only an important historical date for Leipzig’s city government but, rather, it sees itself more so as obligated to continue to create an audience for the spread of democracy, nonviolence and critique as well." 
The demonstration included people holding candles and at the end of the 'show' placing them on a large neon "89". The story of the DDR and the struggles encountered were demonstrated by an interpretive dance that lasted about 45 minutes. 

Yesterday, October 14th, I took a trip with the student group WILMA to Dresden (only 6 euros round trip!). I found Dresden to be wonderfully charming, the architecture outstanding and the sights breathtaking. We all started out with a tour around the city, but because we were taking too long for "picture brakes" my friends and I decided to go out on our own, and I'm pretty glad we made that decision. I can't wait to go back during the infamous "Christmas market" in December!

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