Wrapping up the semester…

Well, this is it; my final days in Germany. As the semester winds down, I come to the inevitable…finals. These dreaded mainstays of any college course are very important to the studies at the European Business School. I have had many classes where the final exam accounts for almost 60% or more of my grade, and one class where the final accounted for 100% of my grade. This is very different from what I am used to at the University of Louisville, where there are intermittent exams throughout the semester, which I can use to gauge my progress and knowledge in class. However, at EBS, it is often the case that you are given a final at the end of the semester and usually a group or individual assignment, which encompasses your entire grade. It is easy to see how one minor slip up can ruin a student’s entire grade. This is why I am thankful for the pass/fail system; it is a cushion that allows me to perform my work, without the great worry that is associated with letter grades.
I would also like to note that the exams here are a little bit different from the exams that we are given at UofL. For example, all exams are essay-style exams that usually require a good deal of explanation and forethought in the answers. Also, I have noticed that I, as well as most of the other students in the exam room, are just barely able to complete the exam in the scheduled time-frame. The professors at this university expect a lot from their students, and this is evident in the questions that they ask in their exams. I have not had a single exams that I consider to be simple, or even mildly difficult. All exams that I have taken were very difficult and required a lot of studying, even to obtain a passing grade. Of course, this should all be expected from an up and coming university that was named the “Best Business School in Germany” for 2011.
I would like to wish good luck to those that come in the future. It is a great university, and I have learned a lot as well as met a lot of new people.

The land of meat, cheese, and potatoes

I have been in Oestrich-Winkel for nearly a month now, and during this time I have learned much about the land of the Germans. It is here that pork is more bountiful then water, everything can be made into a potato product (including noodles), and the cheese sauce flows abundantly over all of these delicacies. It was only a few days into my residency here when I discovered the little german gem known as “Brotchen”! Since then my cabinet has been bountiful with these little round breads that resemble miniature french baguettes.
I have embraced every aspect of my cultural immersion here in Germany, even down to the food. I have gone out of my way to only eat things that would be part of a typical german diet. At the grocery store (where food prices are incredibly cheap!) I always try to buy something completely different. My food exploration has lead me to try some really interesting things! So far I have had a traditional raw pork/garlic spread on a “Brotchen” for breakfast!
While it may appear that I have only been enamored with german food, I have been equally captivated by the breathtaking countryside. Oestrich-Winkel is situated in the middle of wine country, and on a sunny day the illuminated hills rival the Tuscan terrain.
My life here in Oestrich feels like a stripped down version of my life in the US. It’s back to the basics here, in this little quaint town, where I don’t own a phone or car, and I haven’t had to work for the first time time since high school. It feels good to be just a student. I look forward to each day here because it feels like I’m acquiring a lifetime of memories and experiences.