University of Wisconsin–Madison

Another Long Overdue Post!

It has, once again, been far too long since I’ve last written, but I’m back! Safe to say that the semester is well underway at this point, and that I’ve finally found a somewhat normal routine. As promised in my previous post, I will now give my concise, yet comprehensive review of German classes in Germany. It’s quite similar, except they meet far less than we do in the US. Most classes take place only once a week for 2-3 hours, and that’s it. So hourly it equates to the same amount of classroom time, but only going once a week seems like I’m somehow cheating the system, no complaints though. My main class meets Monday-Thursday from 9:30-11:45, and counts for 12 credits back home. In addition to this class I am enrolled in a German Business class, this one meets just once a week. Being an Art and German major, there are many new concepts for me in this class, but it has been really interesting to learn about German business and marketing techniques (lots of new vocabulary as well!). Overall, my classes have been enjoyable, the classroom dynamic is much more focused, but still very relaxed and far from stressful.

“So that means you’re done with school at about noon every day…does that mean you have a lot of free time during the week?” Yes. Way more than I need, but again, no complaints. Perhaps my favorite way to spend this free time is to head over to the Hofgarten (massive grass area at the university) and play some soccer…or Fußball as they say in Germany. There are always people kicking the ball around there and usually within minutes some stranger will invite you to play with them, next thing you know you’ve been playing for hours. It’s amazing, something that I really wish Americans would embrace back home! With the World Cup approaching this June, you can feel the excitement build, as the Germans are anxious to retain their spot as champions.

Speaking of the summer, the weather has been crazy warm here this last month. I’m talking 70’s and 80’s for the last couple weeks. This change in seasons also meant that the famous cherry blossoms were in full bloom just a couple weeks ago. The most popular spot for cherry blossoms is in an area called Altstadt in Bonn. I’ve never seen so many people posing for Instagram photos, lots of selfie sticks as well. All about gettin’ that angle.

cherry blossoms by night

It really was amazing to see how quickly the trees went from bare branches to full of pink flowers. I also was not fully aware of the temporality of these cherry blossoms, as within a couple days the lush pink flowers were replaced with green leaves. It truly was beautiful and I am super fortunate to have been able to experience this extremely temporary show of nature.

cherry blossoms by day

Last Friday I took a day trip to Maastricht in the Netherlands because why not?? A friend of mine in my program had asked me and with round trip bus tickets costing only 25$ I couldn’t pass it up. It was a lovely little city, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area. Something interesting that I noticed there was that I overheard a LOT of English being spoken, more than almost any place I’ve visited here in Europe. Couldn’t tell you why, but I thought it was a little unusual, that’s all.

the lovely riverside city of Maastrict

This past weekend there was also a huge festival here in Bonn called RheinImpuls. It was EXACTLY like Coachella, just a bit (significantly) smaller. Considering it cost 0 Euros it was a lot of fun and there was even a firework show over the Rhein one of the nights.

Aerial shot of the firework show over the Rhein River

This upcoming weekend I’m heading off to Paris with a couple of friends in my program, so expect a comprehensive review of the city, as well as more photos. Only concern about traveling there is that none of us know any French, but then again, most Europeans seem to speak better English than me so we should be alright.

Thought I’d also list out a couple more things that I’ve noticed, and have found interesting here:

  • Far less parental supervision here. Not uncommon to see small children on the bus by themselves or just roaming the city alone.
  • People will wear pants regardless of how hot it is. Huge contrast to Wisconsin. It’s been 85 degrees here and so many people are still wearing pants. Crazy.
  • People of ALL ages ride scooters here. Children, older folks with gray hair, business men in suits. I’ve seen it all.
  • Egg yolks are more orange. This is just my personal theory, no one else seems to have paid much attention to this, but I swear yolks aren’t as yellow here.

Alright that’s it for now! Thanks for reading!

Tschüs!

2 thoughts on “Another Long Overdue Post!”

  1. It sounds like a great time you are having. I wish I knew where my great Grandparents were from. My Moms grandparents on both side were from Germany. Glad you were ok in Paris. With all the nut jobs everywhere please be careful. Have a great time. The weather here is crazy too.

    Love, Grandma

  2. Quinn,
    A wonderful report. Wish I could be there with you and play tour guide during those ‘free’ hours. Bonn being a pretty central city, you certainly do have plenty of opportunities to explore many places pretty much throughout Europe. Why so much English spoken in Holland? Dutch is a pretty good mix of German and English. I call it at times a German dialect which it was originally. If you would travel through all of Germany, you would find a number of different dialects. Bayerisch and Schwaebisch would be extremely difficult for you to understand. Since ‘Dutch’ is not understood by anybody living outside the Netherlands, all Dutch people do really good English, many of them also German, but primarily those living along the border with Germany. Have fun. Keep us updated. Enjoy the time in Germany. Maybe Loew (German National Soccer Coach) discovers you in time for the World Cup in Russia later this year.

    Best, Grandpa

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