As I am starting to settle back into the school mode, I have been preparing myself for the coming semester. I have been traveling on and off through Europe for the past two or so months, and am just now returning to some form of normalcy (though some friends and I are off to Barcelona for a friend’s birthday at the end of the month – some birthday party!). The way that most German universities break up their year is as follows: the summer semester, from about the middle of October through the middle of February; and the winter semester, from about the middle of April through the middle of July – with short breaks and vacations within the semesters, of course! But, this system leaves the students with a substantial block of time (mid Feb. through mid April) to travel, prepare for the upcoming semester, take exams from the previous semester, work or a whole slew of imaginable other time-occupying activities! Aside from my job duties at the university, I was very happy to be left with a great deal of time to travel and enjoy the convenience of living in Germany (within 5 hours of pretty much everything!).
I was lucky enough to have a few friends of mine come over and visit during this break. A great friend of mine from high school and fellow business student, Eric Chapman (University of South Carolina) came over and visited for about a week and we trained to Brussels and Bruges in Belgium, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, were we met up with a friend of mine from Texas, Katie. After this we went to Stuttgart (in southern Germany). It was definitely really wonderful seeing two of the three Benelux countries (the third is still to come)! It was a very enjoyable experience and wonderful to see my friend Eric again, but I would definitely like to return to Belgium!
Two days after Eric left two friends of mine from UofL flew in and visited for about a week – my friends and coworkers at the Office of the President Megan and Britney. I showed them around Mainz and then we were off to Paris, Strasbourg and Munich! We met up with our friend and other coworker, Patrick in Paris. Patrick is doing the year long exchange in Montpellier, so this is the first that the four of us have been together since sometime in August, so it was a very surreal experience. The four of us all reunited, and in Paris of all places! So that was quite an experience, no doubt about it – and it was great to see my friends again! It was really great to have a few weeks with my friends – the first time I have seen any one from home in a long time, and as I am not going back to visit, it is going to have to last me until August!
After we returned, two friends and I went on a road trip to Vienna and Bratislava – well, we started off for Croatia, but road trips are all about spontaneity and enjoying the ride! It was a very interesting trip – and we met a few very interesting people in Bratislava… but you will have to ask me about that in person when I return! Before my friends came and visited I did a little traveling – Berlin and Hamburg, to name a few. Before christmas I went to Morocco and New Year’s Eve I spent in Venice – that was a pretty amazing experience!
I have been working pretty diligently for the university – I am a Mitarbeiter at the university’s International Office (Abteilung Internationales) and I receive a scholarship to help cover my expenses, which is really helpful and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Most of my job entails translating or proofreading documents for the International Office or the President’s Office. The largest task I am responsible for is translating a website for international students to come out soon for the next year. I think that it is going to be a valuable resource for students who will be studying in Mainz in the future (I wish I had it!). Either way, I have been putting in some extensive time and effort translating all of the documents – it is a lot harder that you might imagine! Especially when the original documents have very Mainz-related terms (dialect, for instance!).
Ok, well I have written enough for now!