All Things Quirky in Germany
Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
29Trip End Jul 22, 2006
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Well I will give you a bit of info about the university Im staying at. The DSHS (DeutscheSportsHochSchule) is apparently the best sports university in Europe. This is the place where some of the professional sporting teams come to train. Also some of the teachers here are people who are the best of the best at their sport. Apparently past gold medallists from sports teach here. The sporting facilities here are top notch and has pretty much any sport you can think of. While the sporting facilities are fantastic, the technological facilities are lacking. For instance my dorm is the only one that has internet at the moment. The library computers are also in serious need of an upgrade
I started uni a couple of days ago and I can tell you that it will be like grade 8 all over again. For me to study here I need to complete 4 basic study classes and 4-5 activity courses. The basic study classes are like the ones back home but much more specific. The activity course are basically like high school HPE all over again. I play 4-5 sports. I chose volleyball, table tennis, fußball I and II (pronounced foosball, which is soccer), handball and badminton. So for to pass I just have to participate. I don't have any assessment for activity courses. Here they don't believe in teachers teaching students, they believe in students teaching students. So for half my basic courses I just have to give a presentation for one week then thats my full assessment for the semester.
The German students are keen to learn about sports in Australia so for 2 of my subjects I just have to give a presentation on rugby union. It turns out that I organised my schedule so that I have Mondays and Fridays off. This means that lots more travelling in order. Ive already organised to go to Ireland in May (my birthday actually) with Iona, 2 Greek guys and 2 other Aussie girls from Melbourne. The flights weren't bad at €35 for a return flight!
For those of you who don't know, I'm living on campus at the university. Ive included a picture map to show my campus and where I am situated. There are 3 blocks, A,B and C. I had the choice to either stay in a single room by myself or in a double with a room mate. I chose the single room for 200 Euro a month. I love living here and it's an added bonus that the World Cup Stadium is located about 5 mins walk from where I live. The population is mostly made up of international students, most of which are very friendly. With some people I have a communication problem but you get that. One shock that I had with the dorms was the concept of unisex toilets and showers. Im not used to peeing in a trough and seeing a chick walk in to use the toilet! It's the same with the showers but you can choose to lock the door if you require privacy.
Another adjustment i had to make was cooking for myself all the time. It's hard enough trying to cook in English. Try cooking with German instructions! So pizza, pasta and sandwiches (the cheese here is awesome) has been basis of my diet. Luckily for me the university does some cooking. In Germany the main meal of the day is lunch. Breakfast is basically non existent and dinner is only light. So from Montag (Monday) to Freitag (Friday) I can pick up a pretty good hot meal for about €1.60
The Germans are mad keen about recycling. Most places you see there is a bin that is divided into 4 sections. Plus if you take a bottle back to the place you bought it from you can get 20c back for it. As well as that you have to pay for plastic bags in supermarkets, which I think is a great idea. Here is an interesting fact. The richest guys in Germany are the brothers that started Aldi. And that is another thing I love about Germany, you can buy alcohol in supermarkets. The drinking age for beer is 16 but wine and spirits is 18. You can also drink in the streets of Germany and it doesn't matter. I wish Australia was like that! Germans are also very territorial about their beer. Each city that you go to will claim that their beer is the best beer in Germnay. So far I have heard this 3 times. Cologne's beer is called Kolsch and there are about 5 different varieties, each with a very unique taste. Some of them taste like a slightly better quality VB but some are very nice. I have quite enjoyed the quality of beer here.
The transport system here would kill anything that we have in Australia. A mixture of trams, underground trains, buses and trains help you get around anywhere in the city in no time at all
The weather here is unpredictable at best. They have the 4 seasons in a day here. One minute its a beautiful day, the next its pouring rain. When I first got here in February the temperature was about -2 but now its starting to get warmer. The temperature normally ranges between 10 to 15 here at the moment. Another difference is the lack of widlife around here. Apart from a few birds and the odd squirrel, there is nothing here.
On Sunday the 2nd of April I got a chance to see some of the club football played in Cologne. The games I saw were the equivalent to the 1st and 2nd divisions on the Sunshine coast. One of the guys from the Wonheim plays on the 1st and 2nd team. He is a big Spanish guy named Juan. I saw more soccer fields than I could count that day but I was surprised to see half of them did not have grass on them. Seeing as grass is so expensive in Germany they use this mud/gravel surface on half of the fields. I would hate to play on that. Oh and both the 1st and 2nd teams won 2-1. The standard of soccer played in those games was quite high
I also got a chance to see a free handball game at Koln Arena. Ive never watched a handball game before and since I was going to be playing I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn the rules. First of all the stadium was quite amazing and I didn't expect it to be that big. They use it for many different purposes.
So thats it for my comparisons on German culture. I have no idea where my next entry will be from. I feel like goin somewhere else in Germany...
PS. If I take any other photos of Cologne during the semester than this will be where I will upload them. If you check next to this entry you will see red writing that says 'recently updated'.