University of Wisconsin–Madison

Week One Update

Alllllrighy so a lot has happened in my first week. Simply put, it has been chaos. But a good chaos ya know? To keep it short, the trip from Milwaukee to Chicago to Atlanta to Frankfurt to Bonn was just about as long as it sounds and my inability to sleep on planes/difference in time zones left me awake for around 36 hours straight before finally being able to sleep. For my sweet new pad, think minimalism. The kitchen sink, stove (2 burner), fridge (mini) and cabinets consume no more than 2 feet of wall space. It’s no Iron Chef America kitchen, but it does the job (boiling water for pasta). I’ve got a little 3x3ft bathroom/shower combo which truly is nice to have. The University of Bonn also provided some basics, such as plates, sheets, shower curtain, and the largest and flattest pillow you’ve ever seen. My dorm is located right off the beautiful Rhine river and has an amazing panorama view from the 16th floor, which is roughly 16 floors above my room.

view of the Bonner Münster

German courses began the day after we arrived (German efficiency) and span roughly 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Despite the classes revolving around my nemesis, grammar, it has been a great way to get to know other exchange students. There are about 50 students total, spanning from all around the Midwest, Taiwan, China, Korea, Mexico, and Peru. Many new cultures to learn about!

Jenga with fellow exchange students!

In addition to the Orientation course, the Uni has a lot of meet ups and excursions planned show students around Bonn and the area of Nordrhein Westfalen. This past weekend we took a trip out to Marksburg castle in the nicest bus I’ve ever been in (spaceship bus). We were given a tour around parts of the castle and then hopped back into the spaceship and went to a small city called Mayschoß. There we went on a wine tasting, led by a man named Ernst, who drank an unreal amount of wine while we were there.

Ernst in his natural habitat

Naturally, when moving to a new country, one is presented with an entirely new way of lifestyle. Here’s a quick list of what surprised me in my first week here.

  • Germans NEVER cross the street when red. You could be in the middle of the desert detached from civilization and the Germans will still wait for the green light to cross.
  • Tap water? No one drinks it. Two reasons, it’s not carbonated and there’s no minerals in it. 1.5 liters of carbonated mineral water is the drink of choice here.
  • I thought Germany was environmentally friendly but everyone drinks out of plastic water bottles? True, but! they recycle e v e r y t h i n g and you can recycle the bottles into machines which give you 25 cents in return (the water I buy costs 13 cents, 12 cent profit!)
  • Despite being notoriously punctual people, the buses and trains are consistently late.
  • The grocery stores sometimes don’t refrigerate their milk or eggs
  • Everyone is dressed to a T, every day, all the time. Still searching for the first pair of sweatpants.
  • Last one, their bread is way cheaper and significantly better.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!

 

1 thought on “Week One Update”

  1. Well, sounds like you are keeping very busy already! I don’t think you will have time to miss favorite family members at all. Which for me is awfully sad. I hope you make the best memories and stay safe whilst doing so! Love the update!

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