Bretzel, birra e rock’n roll

Il 4 ottobre 2017 è stato per molte persone un giorno come tanti altri, ma per me ha rappresentato un nuovo inizio. Alle 15:30 di quel giorno io, papà e mamma siamo arrivati ad Augsburg dopo ben dieci ore di viaggio in macchina e lì ha avuto inizio per me quella bellissima avventura chiamata Erasmus.

Dopo essere arrivati allo Studentenwohnheim Göggingen e aver sistemato i bagagli nella mia camera, io e i miei genitori abbiamo passato alcune giornate insieme tra Wurst, Bretzel, Kartoffeln e giri nei posti più importanti di Augsburg e in particolare ci sono piaciuti molto il Rathaus e la Fuggerei, il primo complesso di case popolari nella storia. Il 7 ottobre abbiamo passato un’intera giornata a Monaco e il giorno dopo, dopo gli abbracci e la classica lacrimuccia, i miei genitori sono partiti per tornare in Italia. Ed è proprio dopo la loro partenza che sono sorte le prime insicurezze…

Quello ad Augsburg rappresenta il secondo semestre Erasmus della mia vita, dato che nel 2014 avevo passato sei mesi a León, in Spagna. Ma mentre lì mi sono ritrovato in un paese di cui conoscevo e parlavo bene la lingua e ho potuto fin da subito comunicare con la gente del posto, l’inizio del mio Erasmus ad Augsburg non è stato altrettanto facile. Non studiavo il tedesco da circa quattro anni e all’inizio non capivo niente di quello che dicevano i professori a lezione. Inoltre, quando mi trovavo a parlare coi miei compagni di corso tedeschi, facevo fatica anche a formulare frasi semplici come „Wie geht’s dir?“.

Molte persone si sarebbero perse d’animo, ma io non sono il tipo che si demoralizza alla prima difficoltà. Fin da subito mi sono rimboccato le maniche ed è andando a lezione di Deutsch als Fremdsprache e parlando con molti studenti tedeschi (tra cui la mia bravissima tutor Alexandra e alcuni ragazzi di ESN, l‘Erasmus Student Network) che sono riuscito a raggiungere un buon livello. Adesso riesco a sostenere una conversazione in lingua tedesca senza grossi problemi e questo è senza dubbio il traguardo più bello che potessi raggiungere.

Oltre a conoscere tanti ragazzi tedeschi a lezione o al Göggingen, ho stretto amicizia con molti italiani e con ragazzi provenienti da paesi come Grecia, USA, Spagna, Francia e Irlanda e questo mi ha permesso di fare pratica anche con le altre lingue straniere che conosco (inglese, spagnolo e francese) e di conoscere meglio altre culture. Coi miei amici, che non ringrazierò mai abbastanza per il solo fatto che mi sopportano, ho condiviso tante serate nella Bierstube del Goggingen e in locali di Augsburg come Mahagoni Bar, Peaches, Nachtcafé e Mo Club e tra una birra e l’altra mi sono sempre divertito tantissimo.

Party in Albertus Magnus Studentenwohnheim. Credit: Chayangkoon Mangkornkarn
Party in Albertus Magnus Studentenwohnheim. Credit: Chayangkoon Mangkornkarn

Ma coi miei amici non ho condiviso solo serate di festa. In più occasioni abbiamo deciso di avventurarci al di fuori di Augsburg per scoprire città nuove e questa voglia di viaggiare ci ha portati fino a città come Nürnberg, Berlino (dove abbiamo partecipato allo Spree Break organizzato da ESN Deutschland), Lindau (col suo bellissimo mercatino di Natale) e Dachau (dove abbiamo visitato il campo di concentramento). Grazie a queste gite abbiamo potuto apprezzare il grande impegno dei ragazzi di ESN, i quali hanno organizzato per noi studenti Erasmus anche numerosi eventi di ogni genere tra cui un allenamento di Wheelchair Basketball, la visita al birrificio Brauhaus Riegele e serate sulla pista di pattinaggio.

Me in Berlin.
In Berlin.

L’Erasmus ad Augsburg è divertimento, viaggiare e „Bretzel, birra e rock ´n roll“, ma c’è anche altro. Essendo ancora uno studente, ho trascorso la maggior parte del semestre all’università e devo dire che mi sono trovato molto bene. Il campus è un bellissimo mix di natura ed edifici moderni e all’avanguardia e l’organizzazione è davvero ottima. I professori dei corsi a cui ho partecipato sono molto gentili e disponibili e le lezioni sono state tutte molto interessanti e coinvolgenti. In Italia c’è grande distacco tra studenti e professori e questo mi ha fatto apprezzare ancor di più l’approccio dei docenti dell’Università di Augsburg.

Conoscere gente fantastica da ogni parte del mondo, esplorare luoghi nuovi, parlare e imparare una o più lingue straniere, vivere esperienze nuove, confrontarsi con un mondo nuovo e arricchire le mie conoscenze.

Author & Pictures (except the one from the party): Alessandro Palma

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

Augsburg’s Christkindlesmarkt

Ah, it’s that time of the year again! The air is full of the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fir trees and Christmas… Wait! Oh gosh, I forgot to buy the last presents! If you recognize yourself in this scenario, don’t panic. I’ve got some ideas that will not only help you to find a last-minute gift but also involve a bit of fun…

The time is running out…

Only four days left until Christmas Eve and you have to buy some last-minute gifts for your family and friends. So it begins… hustling through the crowded shops with thousands of stressed-out shoppers who – yes, you got it – have forgotten to buy them, too. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

Augsburg’s Christmas market – something for everybody

fairy_lights-min

But lucky you, in Augsburg there’s the annual Christmas market, called Christkindlesmarkt by Auxburger. There are plenty of things to do and buy! On entering, you’ll see all kinds of booths which have even more products waiting. There are, for example, some stalls with beautiful ornaments for your Christmas tree, some of them 100 per cent handmade; and if your tree also needs some lighting, there’s another booth which sells fairy lights in various fancy designs. 

If you’re more into decorating a Christmas crib, you won’t be disappointed either! There are a million ways to give your grandma’s old one a complete update. For the more spiritual among us, there are stalls that offer all kinds of angel figurines, too. If you have kids, a trip to the Christmas market will probably make their eyes light up like the star of Bethlehem. At the Moritzplatz tram stop, there’s a tiny children’s Christmas market for your little ones. It even has a little merry-go-round! And at the main market, they can write Santa a letter at the postal office.

Countless ways to satisfy your hunger

After you’re done with your last-food_and_drinks-minminute shopping, you’ll certainly be hungry. No problem, because food is everywhere! So-called Weihnachtsfladen (similar to Lángos), a breadroll filled with sausages, all kinds of sweet dishes and candy are only a few examples of what makes your mouth water when only reading about it. My tip: try out the so-called Dampfnudel, if you haven’t already! The vanilla sauce tastes yummy! The market is also famous for all kinds of hot alcoholic beverages, but the most famous one is mulled wine. As an alternative for the kids and those who don’t drink, children’s punch is a big deal as well!

Let this thoughtful time come to its finest

As you can see, there are many ways to either get your missing gifts or just spend the evening getting into the Christmas spirit. Try not to waste these last few days in a state of exhaustion!

Happy holidays! 😊

Author: Denise Bieber | Pictures: Katharina Dück

Life’s not always Simpel

It’s Saturday night and you’re bored to death. How about solving this problem by going to a special cinema: Thalia. It’s one of the three cinemas in Augsburg which are popular for showing rather unknown movies. Thalia, Mephisto and Savoy, are known as the “Kinodreieck”, and can be found between the Rathausplatz and the cathedral. They’re easy to get to – just take the tram (number 2) and exit at “Dom/Stadtwerke”.

ThaliaThalia rocks!

Thalia is the cinema we like best because you can meet up with your friends just for coffee. In case you get hungry, they also do breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. And if you feel like it – after your coffee – just pick a movie and lean back. The Kinodreieck also organizes special events like Lechflimmern, movies in the original language, Augsburger Filmtage and many more.

Simpel – the movie

Recently we went to Thalia to see the new German movie, Simpel. It’s based on the book with the same name by Marie-Aude Murail. Since it won the 2008 German Youth Literature Award and we‘ve both read the book, it seemed like a good idea to see the movie as well.

In case you don’t know the story, we’ll give you a short summary of the movie.
It’s about two brothers in their early 20s, Barnabas alias Simpel (David Kross) and Ben (Frederick Lau), who are inseparable. Simpel has been mentally disabled from birth so someone always has to look after him. Their family situation is quite complicated, too. The mum (
Anneke Kim Sarnau) dies at the beginning of the movie and the dad (Devid Striesow) left the family when both kids were still little. A few days after the mum’s funeral, Simpel is taken away to a mental home by the police and freaks out. Brother Ben never wanted this to happen and, on the spur of the moment, decides to run away with Simpel. It’s going to be quite an adventure with many problems, but we don’t want to spoil anything…

Our opinion

We liked the movie because it deals with really important topics such as responsibility, disability, friendship and family relations. The basic story in the book is well done, although some significant scenes don´t go into depth. We would have liked some more details about Simpel´s and Ben´s life, instead of having such an eventful movie. The actors are well cast, though. Star actor David Kross’ performance is stunning as a disabled character – we believed him in every single scene. Frederick Lau’s (Simpel’s brother) role is also made for him.

Simpel the movie is on until Christmas, so don´t wait too long. Enjoy it or just go to Thalia, the bookstore, and get the book there.

Text & Pictures: Isabel Mair & Carmen Bauer

Social counseling

Sozialreferat_BildWhen I started to study, I didn’t realize how many different ways of volunteering there are. Since I had to give up my voluntary work in my hometown, I wanted to get involved again. A friend took me to the Sozialreferat at the University of Augsburg. From the beginning, I was enthusiastic about their ideas and I’m convinced that if they’re implemented, they’ll benefit students a lot. But see for yourself…

Timetabling
Timetabling is not an easy task, especially when you’re starting off. Often the lectures clash with each other or you have a job. Module handbooks, professors and even fellow students from higher semesters sometimes don´t make matters better either. Through our schedule support we – the Sozialreferat – want to give you advice and help you with various issues throughout the semester(s).

The Monday meeting (an informal  chat)
We offer an opportunity for an informal chat every Monday. We talk about all kinds of things (concerns, etc.) regarding university and personal things. Sometimes we just act as a sounding board so students get new ideas for their studies and replenish energy reserves. Sometimes you only need a sympathetic ear or an objective opinion to cope.

Seminars

Bafög-Seminar
In this seminar, students find out about the various ways of funding their studies. There are some sources which aren’t widely known about, such as study loans, scholarships or housing allowances. We also discuss how and where to apply for these “cash injections” and who is entitled to do so.

Future projects

Sozialreferat_2Social Foundation
Up to now, students here who are experiencing an emergency haven’t been able to apply for short-term loans. In certain situations, the Sozialreferat wants to make this possible. So we’re trying to convince the responsible ministry.

Psycho-social counseling
In this consultation, we hope to be supported by the Chair of Educational Sciences: in the “Counseling for schools” training course, students have to complete a one-week internship at a counseling center. We’d like to offer this internship on our premises.

Guidelines
With regard to the increasingly heterogeneous student body, a manual with the most important contact information, as well as tips for your studies is being planned. The purpose of this manual is to create a flexible problem-solving resource for students and to complement the work of current and future counselors and employees.

The first semester can be confusing and nerve racking in every way. Receiving timetable aid, for instance, is very important in order to plan your studies efficiently and is one of many factors that will make things less stressful. I still remember exactly how confused and overwhelmed I was in the first semester when I had to create my own schedule which was in the end not very effective. I wish someone more experienced had helped me at that time.

Now being part of the team I hope that we can achieve a lot and that students will benefit from our help. We’re there for you for all concerns and problems that occur during your daily student life. We offer you a wide range of services such as consultations, seminars or lectures.

 If you’d like to support us, please contact us and become part of our great team!

Author & Pictures: Carolin Steinke

Five things I hate about summer – and five things to make it all a little more bearable

Confession time: I haScreenshot_2017-07-19-15-54-14te summer. I know full well that I’m in the minority here, but it’s just what it is. It’s also not a very recent development for me, so I can’t really blame climate change or so. I know, though, that a lot of different things come into play which make me hate the favorite season of the majority of the population.

The most obvious reason is, of course, the heat. My favorite temperature is somewhere between 13° and 18°. In summer, it seems like it’s 30+° most of the time. There’s just no middle ground anymore. The thing is I’d be totally able to deal with it if it wasn’t so humid. This is what makes the heat so unbearable.

And this brings me to my third point. As a consequence of the heat and the humidity, I sweat. Yet I always seem to be the only one. Other people don’t suddenly have a very shiny forehead or little rivers running down their necks, slowly making their way down the back, even though they are not doing anything that could possibly lead to sweating. I, of course, do have to deal with both. All the time.

Screenshot_2017-08-02-16-36-17

Number four on my list of most hated things about summer would be spiders and bugs. Bugs simply bug me. German bugs more than others, though. In other countries, they seem to leave me alone most of the time. In Germany, they seem to attack me the moment I step outside, but, of course, they also don’t leave me alone when I’m inside either. They’re just always there. What makes it all so much worse is that outside they find a way in my mouth, even though I have my lips pressed tight together, and inside they have a tendency to drown in whatever drink I have standing on the table. It doesn’t even have to be something sweet like orange juice or lemon water. They’re just as alright with dying in a regular glass of sparkling water. Apparently, they really like the added thrill of the bubbles.

Finally, number five is that everybody all of a sudden flocks outside like a bunch of summer zombies. I actually spend a significant amount of time outside all year round, so naturally I wonder: where are all these people in winter?
So in case anyone feels the same way I do about summer, here are five tips to get through it all relatively unscathed:

  1. Obviously, you should make the air condition or your fan your new best friend.
  2. Don’t take a cold shower. This only heats up your body way faster afterwards.
  3. Insect repellents are your second best friend 😉
  4. Always look in your glass before you drink, you never know what’s floating on top.
  5. Count down the days ’till September 1st, the magical day of meteorological start of fall 🙂

Finally, hang in there: it’s going to be autumn soon.

 

Author & Pictures: Alisa Lechky

A mole on the campus

20170707_113730_edited_oval.jpegHi, let me introduce myself. My name is Stefie; like you, I’m a student at the university of Augsburg and I’m rather short-sighted. Please, let me assure you that I’m not one of those disabled super heroes who are often shown on TV or mentioned in newspapers. What I mean is that I’m short-sighted, but none of my other senses have developed in an extraordinary way. I’m a completely average student struggling, more or less, with the same issues as you.

Hail to the public transport service

I have to consider things that have possibly never occurred to you. Take, for example, the criteria for choosing the university you wanted to go to. In my case, I not only had to take into account the subject I wanted to study, or if I liked the city the university is situated in, but also if the university is one where everything is on the same site or if it’s easily accessible with the public transport system, or not. I’m not able to drive a car or cycle so I completely rely on the more or less (in some cases rather less) efficient public transport system, my own two feet or the help of my family for getting from point A to point B.

A mole in sheep’s clothing

What’s more, I have to tell people who I’m in a professional or close relationship with about my disability. So if you met me, you wouldn’t know that my short-sightedness is so strong. See, I’m a mole in perfect disguise; I wear glasses, but so do hundreds of other students. The difference is that many can perceive the world like completely healthy persons if they’re wearing their glasses, but for me this doesn’t work. Mine can only help me to perceive the contrast between different things more easily. And, so I’m talking about this to avoid misunderstandings like “I waved at you but you completely ignored me…”.

Communication, communication…

Of course, communication is very important for me because even when people know about my poor eyesight, I can’t expect them to think about it all the time. Take the lecturers at  university, for example; the majority of them are very nice and I’ve met no one who refused to help me or to make the slides for the presentation bigger so that I could follow the course. In order to be able to help me, they have to know that I have this kind of problem; and I have to remind them from time to time because they’ve not only got me sitting in front of them but sometimes over a hundred of students to think about.

‘Inclusion’ – what a wonderful word

In general, I like studying here but there are some things that still need to be improved. For example, there’s no general information anywhere on university website for people with disabilities. Well, there is someone you can consult for questions about studying with a handicap. But, it’s very difficult to approach this person and when you finally do, don’t expect too much. He probably doesn’t know more than you do.

 

Author & Pictures: Stefanie Sohnle