Germany Thus Far: Four Months In

In this past month, we’ve welcomed a new year, and with it, I’ve welcome the next stage of my studies. As some of you may know, Germany has a “year-round” school schedule. Currently, I’m approaching the end of my first semester. After this week, I only have two more weeks of lectures until the exam period starts. Forgive me for not writing more, but a student’s gotta study!

neues Jahr

Travel

Since I’ve mostly been working on school work, having melt-downs about extraneous life issues, and embarking on a new project I have not had the time to travel as I would like. My travel outside of Konstanz has basically been the return trip from Christmas and a quick weekend getaway to relax with friends before the exam pressure was really on.

This new project, I guess we can call it travel… Travel across town to my new job! Yes, I have managed to find a mini-job in Konstanz that fits nicely within my residence permit limitations. I’m working for a small HR company that lets me put my native-speaker English to good use. I’m enjoying it so far and find that it’s a lovely distraction for a few hours every week to focus on something that’s completely unrelated to my studies.

Studies

All of that is a great segue into what’s happening on the study front. As I stated, exams are coming up soon. Currently, I’m at the stage where I have a paper and / or presentation due in most classes. Stress levels are high, and I think I summed it all up in my last post, so I won’t go into detail here.

On the positive side, I’m starting to finally get the hang of reading over academic journals quickly and understanding what the authors are talking about. I’m also loving that we’ve finally arrived at the game theory section of my advanced microeconomics course. I based one of my undergraduate theses on a bargaining model, and I happen to find the topic fascinating.

German

Now is the time of my monthly update where I get to inform you that I still cannot understand German. Okay, I can’t understand all German, but I am making progress! For example, I’m learning which words not to say.

Last week I attended a software training at my job which included quite a lot of German. The man who was presenting the software training spoke with a very clear German accent (compared to most German-speakers in the South). I was surprised that while I didn’t understand whole sentences or always know exactly what he was talking about, I could understand quite a few words.

Speaking is another story. I still find it quite hard to have a conversation with Germans or the Swiss. I am okay at constructing sentences if I have the time to think about them, meaning when I’m writing them out. This week, I had to give an oral presentation in my German class. Thankfully, it went well. My Lehrerin (teacher) understood everything I said and also found it entertaining.

I’m still a long way from speaking German well and finishing my degree. At least I’m finding some little victories along the way.

Cheers!

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