This is my last week of spring break before I begin my Summer Semester in Konstanz. I have been lucky enough to experience 7 months of German culture and I could never imagine my life without this opportunity. I will begin to update twice a week about my experience and document how much fun I have had. I have already spoken a bit of my exchange in September. I can say for a fact the rest of the winter semester was just as exciting but more raw. This wasn’t the first time I have been in Germany, in 2011 I lived in Stuttgart for 3 weeks and stayed in Germany for one month. That was the longest I had ever been away from home and when I was at the airport at PDX early morning in August I had a sinking feeling that I wasn’t going to last. I was homesick for the first three months and yes the people here are wonderful it didn’t feel the void that my family filled. I did what any student at that time would do I traveled and tried to be as busy as possible. I live in Europahaus in Paradies which is the neighborhood closest to the Altstadt but a little far away from the university a 20 minute bike or bus ride away. The city is a small one, but in a good way. I am acquainted with at least 2/3 of the international students that are attending. The German students are very polite and nice as well as the people I encounter at the mall, grocery store, and even the Bürgerbüro.
I find my level of German much higher than when I arrived and I find myself calling Konstanz home whenever I go off on an adventure to another country or city. I am a communication major with a minor in German studies at Western Oregon University. When I was placed into my class in October I was disappointed, I was convinced that my German was a decent enough to take more classes, but unfortunately it wasn’t but it only made me more ambitious so the next step was for me to talk to my international office and SLI professors and I was allowed to take a couple classes above my level. I struggled I am not going to lie German Grammar or any Grammar has always been incredibly difficult for me to understand. Ultimately I was able to take a B1 Grammar class and a phonetics class as well aside from my bi weekly 8 am A2/2 German class. I then decided to get involved in an international short film class that had us reading different articles from different directors in Europe then creating our own short film. Lastly I decided to take a history class with my new friends which turned out to be my absolute favorite of the semester as I was able to see the history of Germany through a German lens not an American one.
This is the Rheinfalls they are about 63.4 km from Konstanz by car or about an 1hr 30 min by train. The view was absolutely unreal. We were lucky to still get there on a nicer day in November. A group of about 10 of us wanted to see them so its very common to get group discounts with the train system in Germany. So the next saturday I went on this small adventure with my friends Katie, Karen, Julia, Matt, Michelle, (fellow oregonian) Loraine, Alpin, Mette and Kaleigh. This has to be one of my favorite waterfalls it gives Silver Falls and Multnomah Falls a run for their money. The trip was great getting to know everyone as we have only known each other for two months and having our homemade lunch next to this piece of nature since Switzerland is super expensive. The lesson of that day was that an apple, Pringle’s and two Caprisuns are not enough food to get one through a whole day at the Rheinfalls.