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Author Topic: Studying Abroad  (Read 11741 times)
Junodog
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« on: August 28, 2009, 10:45:32 PM »

It's a good learning experience, but packing is a major headache.  So, uh, yeah.  This thread is to discuss studying abroad and stuff.  New cultures, new languages, new friends, new experiences, new educational systems, and so on.

I'll be going to the university in Tübingen, Germany for an intensive language course and the winter and summer semesters, and I plan on traveling around Europe between semesters instead of coming back to the US so I won't be back in Colorado until July.  I have no idea what classes I'll have yet and I won't until the semester starts, but I was accepted into the school of history and philosophy, so I have a general idea of what I'll be studying.  I plan on focusing on history, though, and not really bothering with philosophy.  I get enough of a headache studying Philosophy in English, so I'm not going to even try it in a different language.
My brother lives in Munich, so I'll be seeing him as often as I can, probably every two weeks or so.  And my sister and her boyfriend are going to be in Germany for a week or so when I get there so they'll help me move in as well.  She's also going to be bringing some things over for me that I can't get over there.
I've taken German for two years, and I was fluent until I was about four years old and we had lived in the US for six weeks, and I lost it during those six weeks.  So I'll have awkward conversations, but I'll be able to communicate.
Uh, what else do I usually end up explaining to people...  Oh yeah, Tübingen is in the southwest, near Stuttgart, and I'll only be two or three hours away from my brother (by train).  And I'm going as an exchange student through Montana State University.  And this is my junior year.  And I've been abroad a few times, but I haven't been back to Germany at all since we moved to the US.  I've been to Belgium, France, the UK, South Korea, Japan, and the Dominican Republic, but not back to Germany.  So I'm excited.
And I do have friends over there, but my brother's the only family I have in Germany.  The rest of my family lives in France and Belgium.  I plan on visiting them at some point.  As well as some of the friends I've made online and known for two or three years by now.
Oh, and I'll only be about two or three hours from where I used to live in Germany, which was near Frankfurt.


All right, I think that should answer most questions that come up when I say I'm going abroad.  So now it's discussion time.  What are your experiences with studying abroad, or even just going abroad?
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Rob
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 02:10:01 AM »

As a soldier I've traveled the world. I've been to Frankfurt; spent some time in Vincenza. I lived in South Korea for a year (visited North Korea for about 3 minutes one a border patrol... ssshhhhhh). England, Okinawa, Japan, France, and of course with the Gulf War I was all over the Middle East. Iraq, Saudi Arabia and a small country I can't remember the name of.

Of course if you follow the comic and blog you know about my recent stay in Mexico.

I'm not real fond of traveling unless I can stay in one place for a long period and really get to know it. I feel like I really have a feel for South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The rest of the places were fleeting visits which are a pain in the ass (as all travel is and has always been) and not of much interest to me.

Like people who take a week or two and go on a cruise or to Europe. I would not really be interested in a trip like that. I see something like that as a waste of time and money. I'd rather make my life where I have to be more comfortable.

Since I've traveled so much I have way too many stories about foreign countries to relate and because I was in my teens when I started and early twenties when I came home I was a very bad boy and most of my stories (and all the really good ones) are not appropriate for young ladies (or anybody really).

I hope you have fun on your trip. Europe tends to have a much more liberal bend to it's version of "History." That is not to say that they are incorrect. History as it is said is written by the victors and Europe has been winning victories for a couple milennia so it's good to keep in mind whenever they are making someone currently in power sound bad or imperialistic that it is and has always been part of thier cycle to tear down those in control. They also do it to alleviate thier own guilt for the blood on thier own ancestors hands. As I recall I heard a lot of that crap in Germany. A lot of revisionist history and mitigation.

Don't let it get you down. Common knowledge is just that; common. They don't know for sure if what they are saying is right any more than we do. Video recording has only been a round for a couple decades. Without convincing video I don't believe much of anything anyone says about history. I tend to take it as anecdotal and try and learn from the lesson the "author" is trying to relate. But for Pete's sake don't buy into it either. I've seen kids come back from there with the whole "America is evil" syndrome and believe me the people who wind them up get a great deal of pleasure over thier naievete. America is no worse than any other country that has dominated the world in the past and if history is even a little bit correct, a good deal better.

I cannot imagine anything more dense and boring than German Philosophy. Just the thought makes my intellectual sphincter tighten up. Kant? Kierkegaard (yes I know he was Danish but still shares the same ideas)? Nietzsche? I mean, these guys were the titans of modern philosophy but personally I prefer the more basic stuff from Socrates, Plato, Montesque and Locke. The German school was always to abstruse for me (oooh vocabulary word of the day woot!) and the inclusion of the failed ideas of Karl Marx makes them all seem a little foolish in thier arrogance.

Not that Marx intended to send the world off goose stepping to an oppression party but serioulsy if you cannot recognize that no matter how good a party you have, in the human race, someone will always come along and steal the good booze, as many shrimp as they can fit in thier pockets and piss in the punch bowl just to reassure themselves of thier own superiority then you know diddly about mankind.

Anyway. I hope you have a great trip. I hope you still come by when you aren't busy eating all that great sausage. I love it. The beer is disgusting but then I don't like any beer so it's no wonder I wouldn't like a warm syrup like beer.

 Wink
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Junodog
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 07:11:15 PM »

Yeah, this will be the first time for me that I'll stay in a foreign country for more than three weeks since my family moved to the US.  Belgium, I was there in third grade with my dad while he was doing stuff concerning his mother in the nursing home, so the only things I really got to experience were his hometown's playground (which was AMAZING, by the way), the candy (also amazing), going to the zoo and seeing the dolphin show (again, amazing, I love dolphins and always have) and going down to France for a few days to visit my uncle and my two cousins (my cousins didn't speak any English, but we still had a blast).
I was in the UK for a school trip my junior year, we went for about ten days over October break and basically focused on London, Edinburgh, and a couple towns in between, and saw all the main sights and such.  I think the teachers described it as a 'get all the touristy things over with so that the next visit can focus on the really cool stuff' kind of trip.  It was pretty fun, despite the fact that half of us got sick at some point during the second half, including me.
South Korea was a graduation gift.  My sister taught at an after-regular-school English school in a town that was huge by my standards but tiny by Korean standards (200,000 people or something around there), so it was really obvious that I was a foreigner.  I stayed with her for three weeks, and we went to Japan briefly when she got her summer 'vacation' (more like a four-day weekend) and I got to feel that wonderfully awkward feeling of having everybody staring at me every time I went outside.  She has a few interesting stories from her time there, like people asking her if she was Russian, which in Korea apparently being Russian means you're a prostitute.  It didn't happen to me while I was there, luckily.
Dominican Republic was a trip that was half-fun, half-studying about extreme poverty and poverty alleviation strategies.  It was definitely an interesting experience, which makes it feel strange that it's the only one that I don't have a lot to say about right now.


I've heard a lot that each country's perspective on history is unique, so I don't plan on taking anything for granted.  And I'm glad you can see why I don't want to study philosophy. Cheesy  Even growing up around art, I still have a low tolerance for ambiguity or the search for inner meaning.

I'll be sure to post pictures of Oktoberfest, I'm going to try to go even though I don't like beer (or any kind of alcohol for that matter) because I want to get the traditional clothes and ride roller coasters and hang out with my brother and experience culture and all that good stuff.  I'm also going to be going to at least one convention, meeting up with an online friend who's going to be in costume as Ling Yao, a character from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga that didn't make it into the first anime due to a major timeline/storyline split.


I am also going to stock up on German candy like superstitious people stocked up on toilet paper during the Y2K scare.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 08:42:48 PM by Junodog » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 11:57:57 AM »

Okay, America wins at having more convenient store hours, but Germany definitely has better desserts and candy.  There's just no arguing this point.  Just... no.
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2009, 08:15:09 PM »

That's the catch-22 though right? If you can't get the candy because the store is closed it doesn't matter if it's better does it?  Grin
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Junodog
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2009, 08:31:26 AM »

Ah, but what use is it being able to go to the store at midnight if there are no Kinder Überraschungen to be found?  Or massive amounts of Haribo?  Or pudding?



You see that?  Jell-O brand pudding (or whatever generic brands there are that are about the same) just CAN'T COMPARE.  And I can get a single serving of pudding (not the mix) for like 20 Euro-cents.

But I will admit that I miss the abundance of food that can be easily cooked in the microwave.  Of course, that could easily be because the store nearby is small.  And I can only understand about half of what I read on the packaging.  But still.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 06:29:46 PM »

Yeah I know what you mean. When I was in Mexico I bought some cookies that looked delicious on the package and tasted like dirt in reality.

I actually went through several different brands while I was down there and I never did find a decent cookie.

The tacos's were the shit though. Best evar!
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Junodog
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2009, 05:00:17 PM »

Well, Germany's definitely got the whole 'dessert' thing down.  That, and I just tried carbonated apple juice today.  I didn't know it was carbonated until I opened the bottle, but it didn't surprise me because many, many drinks are carbonated here.  That, and a friend had told me about this earlier.

It's quite fantastic.

Oh, and here's an obligatory pic of downtown Tübingen:



It might not be super obvious in this picture, but almost all the old buildings around here have a very modern interior.  It's almost as if they're hiding how modern they are.  Or maybe showing off that they haven't completely ditched the old ways. Cheesy

And on that note, there's a bookstore here that's older than America.  Don't have a reason to be really hating on the US yet, though.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 05:04:37 PM by Junodog » Logged
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