Tag Archives: culture

Underrated University events : International Day

I have been studying at the University of Augsburg for over two years, but I’ve never heard of International Day. As somebody that’s highly interested in other countries’ cultures and especially their food, it’s safe to say that I was excited to be part of this event for the first time.


Foreign students present their country

The biggest part of this event is, of course, the presentation of countries from all over the world, done by students that are either natives or have lived there. Since our table was right next to India, and I was very intrigued by the delicious-looking food that people were handing out right next to us. I decided that the “Asia corner” would be my first stop. My first time walking through, I decided to have a look at everything before starting to talk to people. The people from the Indian table, apart from having great music and food, also offered henna tattoos, which looked absolutely beautiful. Right next to them, I was immediately offered some rice from the nice man behind the Pakistan table. I continued my journey looking at every country from Japan to China over to Korea. I also met quite a lot of people interested in Australia and New Zealand. Beside their curiosity in vegemite, they also wanted some information on studying abroad and on what to look for when applying. Right at the entrance, I saw a flock of people collected around Georgia. When I looked closer, I realized what was keeping them: some very nice-smelling food.

But what’s the one thing that attracts students more than food? Alcohol! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try any of it but people looked thrilled at the shots offered right next to “HS I”. Exams are getting closer and what better way could there be to prepare yourself? These are just some highlights that I saw, but these weren’t even half the countries you were able to get a glimpse of. So all in all, if you missed this time, make sure to visit next time, because the people you meet are delightful. Here’s a big thank you to everyone that put so much effort into showing us their home or favourite travel detination.

What else was there?

Not only were you able to get an insight into other countries’ cultures but you could also meet experienced people who were ready to reply to your questions. Whether you consider studying or working abroad, and no matter which continent you consider going to, these people are there to help you. And, last but not least, there was… us. We were there, too, to spread the word about eMAG. In case you missed out on this one (like I always did), make sure you follow our social media accounts where we post regularly about events on and around campus:
Instagram: @emag_ua
Facebook: @eMAGUniAugsburg

Author & Picture: Melani Cifric

Sympathy for a killer


The lights come on and in a nightgown Ruth Ellis (Lotte Albrecht) enters the stage to the bittersweet Blues of Billie Holiday, which immediately draws the audience into the stylish, but flawed version of the 1950s that forms the backdrop for the story preceding Ruth’s death. On 13 July 1955, at the age of 28 she is hanged, the last woman in Britain to suffer this fate. Her crime: she shot her lover in cold blood. What drove this young, beautiful woman over the edge? Why did she not even attempt to defend herself? These are some of the questions “The Thrill of Love” by Amanda Whittington aims to explore.

An emotional rollercoaster

The story is told in flashbacks through the perspective of Inspector Jack Gale (Jack Sigel). During his investigation he reconstructs a selection of events that give us an insight into the seedy world of gentlemen’s clubs and the women working the nights. Always present on bar room stage, he is a constant reminder that even the happiest moments in the lives of the women there are nothing but stepping stones on the path to the grim future we already know. However, these scenes of joy are one of the greatest feats of the play: it’s all too easy to get lost in the hopelessness and sadness that is usually associated with the story of Ruth Ellis. The playful banter between the women is a welcome break and allows the actresses to display their perfect timing and quick delivery. Thanks to these moments the characters become more than just parts of a tragic story. We become invested in their hopes and dreams, although we should know full well that they are unlikely at best. When this realization finally kicks in during the second half of the play, it hits that much harder.

Powerful performances

There are no extras in “The Thrill of Love”. Every character has his or her moments. The club’s manager Sylvia Shaw (Lucie Marchand) appears to be all business, but she cares deeply about all the women who work for her. The charwoman Doris (Anna Hilbel) often puts her needs behind those of others, even if it puts her own happiness at risk. The young Vicky Martin (Sara Steffes) hopes to meet powerful men and become a star on the big screen. Even Inspector Gale, cold as he may seem, turns out to be motivated by more than the mere desire to solve a case.

An unforgettable evening

“The Thrill of Love” is a powerful experience. The crew surrounding Rudolf Beck has managed to create a captivating atmosphere that lingers long after the curtain closes. We may know the outcome from the very beginning, but we don’t know the story behind it. In finding out, it’s difficult not to feel somewhat like a voyeur. Personal tragedies happen in silence. It’s when they emerge that we start to care.

 

Performances:

Thursday 6th December
Friday 7th December
Tuesday 11th December
Thursday 13th December

8 p.m., Hörsaal II

 

Author & Poster: Andreas Böhm

Nonna mia


Meeting new people can be exciting, especially when they’re from a different cultural background. When I first met my boyfriend Silvio’s family in Italy I had a few problems with their habits.

Getting nervous

It was summer and we were hitting the road along the Adriatic in my mum’s car. I’d known my boyfriend for a while, but it had taken some time until I got to meet his family. We’d planned to stay at his grandma’s house. All I knew about her at this point was that her name is Lola. After an eleven-hour ride on adventurous Italian roads, we finally arrived at her apartment in a small town located on the east coast of Italy called Chieti. It was late at night and the whole place seemed to be asleep. Suddenly the lights in the dark house came on and a small old woman stepped outside. I was nervous and my stomach was aching: what would she think of me? Would we get along? I didn’t know any Italian, except for ciao or grazie and didn’t know what to say or how to act towards her.

Suffering from Italian hospitality

I was pretty excited. But as soon as we approached her, all my worries were gone. She hugged and kissed us and took us into her apartment, where she’d prepared a lot of food. And when I say a lot, I mean piles of all the dishes you can find on an Italian restaurant’s menu: there were pots and pans full of pasta, vegetables like aubergines, courgettes or artichokes and: meat. Normally I don’t eat meat and I’d simply say that I prefer to eat side dishes only and everything’s fine. In this case, I had to rely on my boyfriend to translate everything for me. But he was no help: he couldn’t convince his grandma that I was fine without meat. She just started heaping our plates with food like pancetta (roast pork) or salsiccia arrosto (fried sausage) and when we’d almost finished our plates, she’d add more and more. She wouldn’t let us go to sleep until all the food was finished. As I didn’t want to offend nonna, I decided to have some meat and put the rest onto my boyfriend’s plate secretly. Problem solved. When we finally went to bed, though, my stomach was aching – not from being nervous about meeting grandma but from being stuffed with meat and tagliatelle.

No Italian? No problem!

But the next day we – nonna and I – were finally able to get to know each other. I was very shy at first and I thought I wouldn’t understand a word. But as I know a little Spanish, I could guess what she was talking about and with the help of online dictionaries we were able to have a little chat. My boyfriend’s grandma used to live in Germany for some years, so we had some things to talk about. But unfortunately, she can’t actually speak German any more. Nevertheless, we had a great time talking about German and Italian traditions and – obviously – food.

In the evening, the rest of the family came around, and I thought I could at least speak English with the Italian cousins. But they didn’t understand a single word, so Italian was the only option. And even though I couldn’t really take part in the conversation, they never made me feel left out, and I had a really good time.

Was it really that bad?

No, of course not! During our stay I met a wonderful heartwarming family, who welcomed me with open arms (and lots of kisses). I really fell in love with the whole family. They showed me that you don’t need to talk much to get along, they taught me a little Italian and gave me an insight to their culture and way of life.

And even though I probably won’t ever get used to their eating habits, I’m already looking forward to seeing them again next summer!

 

Text & Pictures: Ramona Meisner

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.

Questions of a reading worker

Who built Thebes of the seven gates?

In the books you find the names of kings.

Was it the kings who hauled the rocks?

And Babylon, repeatedly destroyed.

Who rebuilt it so many times? Which houses

Of golden-gleaming Lima did the workers live in?

The evening the Great Wall of China was completed,

where did the masons go? Imperial Rome

Is full of triumphal arches. Who

Did the Caesars triumph over? Did Byzantium, much extolled,

Offer only palaces to its people? Even in mythical Atlantis,

The night the ocean swallowed it, the drowning screamed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.

He on his own?

Ceasar beat the Gauls.

Didn’t he at least have a cook with him?

Phillipp of Spain wept when his fleet had sunk.

Was he the only one to weep?

Frederic the Second prevailed in the Seven Years’ War. Other than him,

Who else prevailed?

Every page a victory.

Who cooked the the victors’ feast?

Every ten years a great man.

Who paid for the expenses?


So many reports.

So many questions.

 

If you like Brecht, be sure to check out this year’s Brechfestival, which will be held from February 23rd to March 4th! For further information visit https://brechtfestival.de/programm

 

Author: Bertolt Brecht | Translation: Maria Diamantopoulou

België is meertalig, maar de Belg nog niet!

Laat me toe mezelf even voor te stellen. Ik ben in België in een Franstalig gezin geboren, maar in een tweetalige omgeving. Meertalig zijn komt niet zo vaak voor in België, hoewel het een drietalig land is. Dat is jammer omdat die talen een groot potentieel betekenen op cultureel vlak en ze slechts in kleine mate worden benut. Dit is niet voor iedereen het geval. Zelf heb ik mijn hele jeugd met twee talen gejongleerd en dit heeft de persoon die ik vandaag ben, gevormd. België bezit volgens mij een grote troef waaruit we meer zouden moeten halen.

Het Atomium in Brussel
Het Atomium in Brussel

Een klein en toch ingewikkeld land

België telt drie officiële talen. Uiteraard is er het Frans en het Nederlands, maar daar hoort ook nog het Duits bij! Hoe leuk en simpel dit ook lijkt, België is een heel ingewikkeld land. Laten we het dus enkel over Brussel hebben, daar is alles officieel tweetalig. Maar in de feiten zal je heel weinig Nederlands horen als je in Brussel rondloopt. In de Belgische hoofdstad wonen vooral Franstaligen, die er met tien keer zo veel zijn dan de Nederlandstaligen. Dit verschilt sterk met de rest van België waar de Nederlandstaligen de meerderheid vormen. Je snapt het, Brussel is een héél moeilijke stad.

Moeilijk gaat ook!

Deze situatie is nooit een probleem geweest voor mij. Mijn ouders hebben mij van jongs af aan in het Nederlands willen onderdompelen, door me naar en Nederlandstalige school te sturen. Het leren ging voor mij gelukkig moeiteloos, ook omdat mijn familie tweetalig is. Mijn grootvader was namelijk Nederlandstalig. En daar zit je dan: een 12-jarige tweetalige die naar het secundair trekt. Ik besloot dit in beide talen te doen. Enkele scholen bieden de fantastische kans om in het Frans én in het Nederlands te leren! In feite had ik ongeveer een derde van de lesuren in het Nederlands.

Een ideale wereld bestaat niet… Of toch?

Stadhuis op de Grote Markt in Brussel
Stadhuis op de Grote Markt in Brussel

Hoewel dit systeem niet perfect en zeker niet gemakkelijk te implementeren is, is het zeker en vast een boeiend concept. Bovendien levert het positieve resultaten op. Daardoor heb ik na de lagere school nog verder in het Nederlands kunnen studeren terwijl ik ook mijn moedertaal, het Frans, kon verbeteren. Volgens mij zou de volgende stap moeten leiden naar enkel maar tweetalige scholen vanaf de kleuterklas. Door deze specificiteit van ons land in de praktijk toe te passen, zouden kinderen van jongs af aan tweetalig kunnen zijn zonder enige inspanning te leveren! Als het kind later dan een derde taal wil leren, wordt dat een simpele klus, omdat het brein al lang getraind zijn op het leren van talen. Volgens mij valt er enkel winst te rapen!

Ik ben me er natuurlijk van bewust dat dit makkelijker gezegd is dan gedaan. Het kan ook heel naïef lijken om op 21-jarige leeftijd te beweren dat tweetalig worden eenvoudig is. Niettemin heeft men nu alvast kleine stapjes in de goede richting genomen. De volgende stap is er misschien eentje van een reus!

Het Atomium, zicht van onderaan
Het Atomium, zicht van onderaan

Author & Pictures: Aurélie Gillain

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