Tag Archives: university

Everything new in summer 2018?

KursraumA large room that fits forty or more people, about 8-10 people squeeze into the tightly arranged rows. Friends sit together; the group is spread around the room, though, leaving a couple of rows empty as no one wants to sit in the first row. An exhausted lecturer scurries in quickly. It’s mid-summer and hot. He had to walk quite the distance from his office to the oversized lecture hall where the small group will spend the next one and a half hours – or maybe even three.

Well, this is how a future Language Centre class might look. If you think about it, it does seem kind of surreal. But what’s the issue? There’s a room. There’s a lecturer. There are students. Everything’s fine then, right? Let’s have a look at what happened during the last few months or years first…

SprachenzentrumWhat happened?

There’s a city that wants to become a metropolis. There’s a hospital that wants to become a Uni-Klinik (teaching hospital). There’s a university that wants to have a medical faculty. All these desires aren’t so bad in themselves, even though you might well be wondering if all this really is necessary to improve the region. But I’ll leave that debate to others who know about this kind of stuff.

However, what I do know and what I do see is how all this affects life on campus and our studies. Our university is known for having just one campus for all the faculties. Students definitely like it that way – there are even quite a number of students who have chosen Augsburg over other places, this being one of the most important reasons. Rumour has it that officials want to have the medical faculty on campus as well – at least some of the offices.

Issues

There are just a couple of teeny-tiny issues with all this. So, here are some random thoughts that occurred to me when thinking about the status quo, history of events, plans, and possible prospects:

  • Medical students will study near the hospital; they’ll get their own campus (Medicine freshmen in Augsburg in 2019).
  • The Registrar’s office will be on campus, which means that medical students will have to travel across the whole city just for every single tiny little thing that can’t be organized online.
  • Strictly speaking, there’s not enough room for another faculty on the campus, even if it’s only the offices for organizational stuff.
  • To make room, the Language Centre has to move – after all, it’s neither a faculty nor a chair, so who’s gonna need it anyway, right?
  • Last year there was an uproar caused by the idea that the Language Centre should move. There was a long discussion about where it was going to move. The decision at one point was that ‘they’d’ make do without the move. However, during the summer break this decision was changed again and the first rooms of the Language Centre were emptied
  • Language Centre lecturers will have to travel from the BCM building near the Messe to lecture halls and rooms on campus.
  • Students will have to travel from the campus to the BCM building in order to meet lecturers for their office hours. Or will there be conference rooms to use for this kind of stuff? Well, I don’t think so.
  • Even more lecturers will probably use a lot of their work time just to travel back and forth. Or are they supposed to count this as their ‘breaks’ and won’t even get paid for it? Either way, if I were a lecturer, I wouldn’t be happy about it.

Well, these are a lot of thoughts and they’re not even all there is to think of. Obviously, the Language Centre move doesn’t affect many students, does it? If you think of it, most University of Augsburg’s students will indeed be affected by it. Even if you don’t study English or any of the Romance languages, you’re bound to attend at least one of the language classes for most degrees. What would a Global Business Manager do without at least having studied Business English? English in particular is needed in many degrees, but all the other languages as well can be studied as part of their electives.

IMG_3521What’s the outcome?

To sum up, almost every student will be affected by these changes. The incoming medical students will be affected by these organisational decisions as well. Many lecturers will be affected. What about the teaching itself? Will all these hassles affect the quality of teaching in the long run? The lecturers that I know are very engaged and try very hard to give us the best possible lessons. But maybe we will all have to pay the toll sooner or later anyway. We will have to wait and see.

Text & Pictures: Angie Czygann

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

“A chipped glass is ruined forever”

Could you imagine giving away your child? To some stranger you’ve never met? In a completely different country? With a different language which your child doesn’t speak? Completely impossible for a parent, right?

Or from a child’s perspective: could you imagine leaving your parents in order to head off to a new country with a language you don’t speak? Meeting some strangers that will look after you and possibly keep you safe? You wouldn’t know if or when you’d see your parents again. Could you imagine such a thing?

Flashbacks

1_kleinOn stage, we meet a mother and her child; the mother is teaching her daughter to sew a button on her coat. The girl is about to leave – without her parents. And she’s only nine years old. She doesn’t want to leave, but the mother promises to join her later. “When is later?” “In a month, or two…”

The light fades and another part of the stage becomes the focus. A mother and daughter enter the attic; the young woman is about to move out. Her mother tries to convince the young adult to take this and that, crystal glasses (only eleven, as one of them has a little damage and “A chipped glass is ruined forever”), cups and so on. We, the audience, can sense some slight disagreement between the two: things unspoken, stories untold. As the story on the stage unfolds, we are introduced to all the things that are happening now and all the untold secrets from many years ago, in a well-hidden past.

The first pair we meet are Eva Schlesinger (Lotte Albrecht) and her mother Helga (Mel Schuster). The second pair are Faith (Jorid Kretzschmar) and her mother, Evelyn (Anna Hilbl). But Evelyn IS Eva. She has been adopted by her foster mom, Lil, (Nika 2_kleinKriss), has been given a naturalisation certificate and changed her name as well as her birthday. She has got rid of her past as a Jewish-German child that was sent away to England for safety reasons. Her daughter, Faith, didn’t know about her mother’s past and by chance finds out about it while she’s rummaging through her own childhood treasures in the attic.

Lots of emotions

The play is about the individual struggles of a child who is sent away because of the Holocaust. There are lots of stories about the children transport that mainly the British organised to help save at least some of the children in danger. Between 1938 and 1939 ten thousand children were taken to Great Britain. When we read about this Refugee Children Movement, we usually get information about their safety or that they more often than not were the only members of their families to survive and consequently most of them never saw their parents again.

What we don’t read about are the struggles and their individual stories of suffering and distress that must have come with being relocated in another country, with people they had never met before, and having to adjust to the new environment. The hardships they went through, growing up and not knowing about their families.

Great teamwork

TitelbildThe AnglistenTheater has succeeded in bringing these struggles to life in the flashbacks during the play between the “now” and “then”. They take the audience on a journey through the life of a young girl who is developing into a woman that at some point has developed into the mother we see in the “now”. To a great extent, this is director Rudolf Beck’s achievement, of course. But there is so much more that makes this production an outstanding experience. Both the stage and costume designs as well as the light and sound help to draw you right into the story; the actors’ marvellous skills make everything absolutely believable. They all played their parts extremely well and if I had to choose, I couldn’t say which performance I liked best. But I imagine that it must have been very difficult to play the young Eva and the grown-up Evelyn in such a convincing way that you can almost feel all the emotions yourself.

Go watch it!

3_kleinWhat I especially liked was the great sound design (Josef Demling). For example, when the ratcatcher (Ian Steffy) – a recurring figure in the play – makes his first appearance by sneaking in from behind the audience, a beautiful but at the same time eerie melody accompanies the action. We hear this lovely, dazzling tune during all his appearances. Whenever you hear it, it feels like it’s hitting something deep inside you and almost makes you want to jump up and follow the ratcatcher and his flute.

Considering the topic of the play it is obvious that it is rather strong stuff to digest, but it is well worth watching. So go and see Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport produced by the AnglistenTheater! There are still three more shows: Mon, 11th | Tue, 12th | Thu, 14th, all starting at 8 pm in lecture hall II (Hörsaal II) in building C.

Text: Angie Czygann
Fotos: Klaus Satzinger-Viel
Cover picture: AnglistenTheater

Torn between two worlds

The weekend’s near! You’re already planning your days off. You’re probably going to study. Maybe you’ll go on a day trip or just stay in Augsburg and spend your time here? Most likely, the weekend is something you don’t plan very precisely. Well, when you go home each weekend, things don’t work like this. Even though they probably shouldn’t, your plans already take shape on Monday, eventually forcing you to rethink your situation:

This Friday, I’ll hope to get the earlier train

Of course, you’ve tried to outsmart Digicampus and get Friday off. But sometimes this doesn’t work, so you have to attend uni on Friday and hope to get your tram to the train station in time. And even if your train trip only takes one and a half hours, getting the later train will mean that you’ll have less time with your family in the evening.

Saturday is going to be busy.

If your family members live as closely to each other as mine, my Saturday schedule might seem familiar to you: first, you have a late breakfast with your family, already suspecting that the day might turn out to be stressful. At midday, you go get the groceries for your grandparents and spend some time with them, chatting about the past week at uni, a certain president’s failures, and the most recent Bundesliga news. In the evening, you visit your other grandparents to have dinner with them. After dinner, it’s time to finally meet the gang and go out, and depending on how busy Sunday will be, you might, of course stay out a bit longer.

Sunday ain’t fun-day…

train3After an even later breakfast on Sunday, the bags have to be packed. Being tired (and sometimes a bit hungover), you realize what’s coming: a train ride, lasting longer than an eternity; then a tram ride, most often packed with smelly people next to you; an exhausting walk home, because you don’t have one of those trendy suitcases with wheels on them and your bag gets heavier and heavier with each step you take. You’re finally there, so you unpack your bags, put your home-laundered clothes into your wardrobe, and store the food you brought in your fridge. Sleepily, you sink into your bed and as you’re about to fall asleep, you suddenly remember: there was homework due tomorrow!!!

But is it really worth it?

This advice might be helpful, especially if you’re new to being a student: commuting home over the weekend sure is great because you get to see your family, your hometown friends and feel the nostalgic, regional vibe of your home. But if you don’t manage to take one step back from your family responsibilities after moving out, your weekly trip home will be exhausting rather than relaxing. And even though it might hurt in the beginning, you’ll eventually have to focus on one of those two worlds because if you continue like this, homework won’t be the only thing you’ll miss out.

It’s your decision!

Sooner or later, you’ll find out that staying in Augsburg for the weekend more often will benefit you: you’ll be less distracted from your studies, your weekends will be more relaxing, and maybe it’s going to be easier for you to make friends here. This is why, from my personal experience, I can say that for the sake of your student as well as your private life, it’s important to find the right balance between going home and staying in Augsburg. Your family will always be your family, no matter where you are, so they’ll understand. It’s only natural that you’ll have a hard time figuring it out at first, but I’m sure you’ll eventually sort this out and succeed in your new, exciting life, too!

 

Text & Pictures: Marcus Wiesenhofer

Student species

student_About 20,000 students populate the University of Augsburg, which means different people from all over the world, who, at first sight, have almost nothing in common. Well, they’re all students, of course – mammals with particular habits, such as the mass migration from the campus buildings to the Mensa at 1.16 PM. So, as I’ve spent a lot of time in lectures and courses, it’s quite simple to divide the student animal kingdom into three main categories… 

Those who bring food to class

Everybody longs for a snack, above all when you’ve spent the whole day at university and you’re getting a little peckish. A muesli bar, some yoghurt or an apple re the most popular. But not for him. No, the food lover goes big. It’s five p.m., and a pungent odor in the university corridors announces, well in advance, the arrival of BigFood. And here he comes, almost limping, since he’s trying to walk and devour the noodles at the same time. Red sauce all over his mouth and a passion for chopsticks – because eating with a fork is too mainstream. Big food’s ready to contaminate the air of another lecture theatre, usually sitting next to you, and contributing indecipherable questions – his mouth is full! – to the class discussion.

Those who pinch your things

No, I don’t mean your bike, money or smartphone. University thieves don’t aim that high – they just look for your stuff. Innocent copies, pencils and clips, which fall into the hands of those professional thieves. The strategy is always the same: they sit next to you, ask if they can read your copies, and, once the class is over, your marvelous printed sheets have disappeared. After the “Gosh-why-am-I-so-forgetful?” moment, you realize your neighbor has pinched your materials, and sometimes even deprived you of your motivation to study (in the process increasing the number of procrastinators among students as well as Netflix sales).

Those who can’t hold it anymore

Who doesn’t love lectures? Listening to the professor talking away, jotting something down, snoozing in your seat. Not really. Someone in the middle of your row stands up and turns up all the tilt-top desks, as if they were dominoes. The incontinent student faces an obstacle course, with hurdles made of jackets, backpacks and other (unfortunate) students, who are mercilessly attacked by the athlete’s knees. The gymnast finally reaches the door, while the heads follow him, making sure he hasn’t injured himself (or hoping that he has!). Nature is calling and it’s only polite to answer – and go to the loo. Pity that it’s always the same person, sitting in the same place, during the same lecture.

Text: Veronica Armellini
Picture: Daniela Armellini

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

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