All posts by Website3

German grimness

Sometimes it’s a good idea not to worry so much. But even when we really shouldn’t, we kind of always do. You see we Germans are pretty good at a lot of things, or at least we hope we are. We build some rather nice cars. We play soccer as an actual team sometimes. We have the best beer. We have a really good rail network. Wait what?

Yeah, you got that. Someone actually saying the Deutsche Bahn is doing at least a more or less decent job. Half of you will probably stop reading now – but not so fast, please. The last time I took a train outside of Germany thirty-five kilometres took seven hours on a Chinese train with British train tracks. I say that, because the Chinese didn’t quite get their measurements right and the ride was incredibly bumpy. There was also a mouse (or quite possibly mice) hiding somewhere under the floor and occasionally a branch hit someone through the windowless carriages. But guess what? Everybody on that train was really happy. For a country where the GDP per capita is a good three percent that of Germany, I find that quite fantastic. On the last train I took in Germany, half the people looked unhappy – me included. After all, that 5-minute delay really was heart breaking.

So lean back, relax and maybe try not to worry for the next one and a half minutes it will take you to read this.

First, there’s our school system. Every three years, the “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) does just that and assesses our school system somewhere, somehow. In the end, everyone is disappointed and nothing changes. I’m sure there’s a PISA inspector somewhere that hopes that Chinese students acing all their exams are incredibly happy and that all those poor lost souls playing football and having fun are really unhappy that they didn’t come top of the world in the test.

Besides, there’s the weather. It’s either too hot or too cold and when it’s just right, you’re far away on holiday and its either too damp, humid or sunny there.

Apart from that, those of you who are not privately insured will surely have sat in a waiting room before. And yes, our system is quite silly. But no, don’t tell that to anyone in the United States who just got a medical bill for fifty thousand dollars. He’ll probably wish the snake had been more poisonous.

Another thing is statistics like the unemployment rate, which is a mere 3.8% and yet if you ask any German for their first impression, they’d likely say it’s way too high. Tell that to the Kenyans, where not even half the people are employed. And yes, that might be a rather lousy comparison, but our next-door neighbour France’s rate is closer to ten percent. Ask them, and they’ll say it’s not too bad. And they’re not wrong. Compared to Kenya’s, it really isn’t.

Looking at someone’s face in a posh restaurant in Germany when they have to wait longer than the five and a half minutes, they expect their apéritif to take makes you think people in Africa die of anger – and not starvation.

So yeah, maybe next time think about how happy others would be if their situation was only as bad as yours. And then just relax – it really can’t be that bad.

Fan fiction

Have you ever read a book that became much more than just a book? That smells like home every time you open it and immediately transports you back into a familiar world where everything is as it should be? This article is about what happens after “happy ever after”.

Fanfiction

A reader’s problems

I close the book and my eyes, and try to let the last sentence linger a little longer. Just like the sweet taste of chocolate long after you’ve swallowed it, the last sentence of a book stays with you for some time. But even while you enjoy this perfect conclusion of your adventures, a sweet, stinging melancholy fills your heart because now you have to say goodbye to the characters you’ve got to know so well. You’ve become comrades-in-arms now, best friends, or even a family. It’s not surprising that many avid readers refuse to let go of this world – this home away from home.

From reader to writer

So what can you do if the story is over and your favourite author just decides: that’s it? No more books, no more adventures, no more pointed jokes and delicate romances between your favourite characters. Just an excruciating “The end” that leaves a gaping wound in your story-filled heart. Well, if you don’t want the story to be over, then you have to make it continue, right? This is where you enter the wondrous world of fan fiction! Let the journey begin…

Fan fiction

Every big story, no matter if it’s a book or a movie has its own fandom, and therefore its own fan fiction. The internet’s full of blogs that only serve this purpose and many of these amateur writers have created their own small communities. What they do is create alternate endings, sequels or simply continue a story, but the important thing is that they provide their readers with more stories about their heroes and heroines. A little more time in a magical world – an attempt to avoid the imminent, final goodbye.

‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

The author, Rainbow Rowell, has even written a book about fan fiction. ‘Fangirl’ is about a girl who writes continuations of her favourite fantasy novel on her own blog. She’s gained a huge number of fans, but no one knows who she really is, since she publishes her stories using a pen name. As you read the book, you understand just how much effort these amateur writers put into their worlds, although most of them don’t even make any money out of it. They only write for their own pleasure, but once they acquire an extensive community of readers, the pressure grows. They receive the first negative criticism, and readers expect plots to match their own expectations. Continuing a story can get really hard at times, but the massive response proves that it’s worth their while. And, in the end, they remember why they started to write in the first place: to be able to lose themselves in a magical world for just a little longer.

 

Text: Vanessa Hoffmann
Picture: Vanessa Hoffmann

Medicine freshmen in Augsburg in 2019

Great news! The University of Augsburg is getting a medical faculty! Wait, that’s not really… news. But first of all it’s great and what’s new is that future medicine students might have to improvise a bit. Why’s that?

Nickl_&_Partner_Medicine_Faculty
© Nickl & Partner Architekten AG

Within the blink of an eye

In 2009 Horst Seehofer promised the university hospital. And on 26th June 2017 the topping-out ceremony for the hospital extension was celebrated. But there is much more work to be done. The future students don’t have a proper campus yet and they start studying in 2019! You could say, well, they still have heaps of time left to build a new campus but in these circumstances two years will go by in the blink of an eye.

What needs to be built:

… the main campus consisting of seven buildings with up to eight floors for research and teaching
… car parks for a few hundred professors, teachers and about 1,500 students
… more buildings towards the living quarters in Stadtbergen for teaching and research with up to five floors
… a single huge building for the Mensa, library etc.
… some more buildings for stores, daycare centers and whatever uni life is in need of
… even more buildings for god knows what

They have 99 problems …

… but money ain’t one. The new medicine campus will be as beautiful as the current campus, which – by the way – is among the most attractive ones in Germany – so a lot of money and effort will be invested in this project and it’s very unlikely that it’ll be finished before 2022/2023. So the students will start studying in 2019 – that’s more or less definite. You see the problem? Where will they be sipping their coffees, listening to lectures and crying before the final exams if not on their new campus? The answer might be a little hard to digest.

As you might know, anatomy is one of the medicine students’ main subjects in their first years. In order to be able to have a look into these dead bodies there has to be space for tables to dissect on. These are only provided in… wait for it… the old pathology rooms. Yay! So hold your breath and don’t let the obnoxious smell of death confuse you!  Seriously, this smell is disgusting. The people working there either have to be very, very good with bad odours or they probably just don’t have a sense of smell at all. But the good thing about it: students who can cope are one step closer to being good doctors in the aftermath.

New from old and a lot of improvisation

Time management is, as we know, kind of a big deal. But when it comes to improvisation and new from old the management of Augsburg is playing ‘first league’ matches. For the first few years, the old hospital for children will provide an accommodation option for future medicine students. But the medical-informatics science students will already be accommodated on the main campus starting in 2018. And what a campus this will be! Almost as huge as a whole district – precise.  That’s insane! But that’s the future. Let’s just wait and see when we can finally go to proper medicine student parties and let them cure our alcohol intoxication.

Text: Eva-Maria Presser, Anna-Lena Tischinger
Picture: © Nickl & Partner Architekten AG