After the hectic first couple of weeks things have settled down slightly following the start of the semester proper, which has also meant the start of lectures. All of the courses I am taking are taught in German, which although challenging at times has been incredibly interesting and great for both my geography and German. So far the language has not been a major problem, but it was definitely a shock when it was announced in a seminar that I would have to do a 15 minute presentation and a 5000 word essay in German. As well as Geography lectures I have also had the opportunity to do some ‘German as a foreign language’ courses. Whilst some parts have been ‘interesting’,such as having to make the shape of the vowel we are saying in phonetics, they have been useful and provided another great way to meet other international students. It is also quite cool to be able to come away from these sessions having had a conversation using German as the shared language as opposed to English.
Away from the classroom I have been pretty busy in my free time, and have even managed to make it to the beach. Yes, there is a beach in Hamburg, although it does feel strange to be at the beach, and look out across the Elbe and being staring at Hamburg’s massive container port.
There have also been a couple of PIASTA evenings, which have both been good. One was focused on the Balkans, and the second was an Erasmus welcome meeting. Again this provided an opportunity to meet other Erasmus students and have a relaxed evening.
This past weekend has also been Easter, which has meant that the whole country basically shut down for Friday, Sunday and Monday. Whilst a four day weekend is never a bad thing having nothing open for those days was an experience.