School’s not out in summer

You think summer and school can’t be combined? You’re wrong! Imagine the easiest combination and exactly this is what summer school means: It’s voluntarily attending a school or university during the summer break while your friends are lying on the beach or at a lido. Why did I choose to attend a summer school for teachers in Salzburg then? It was a new experience that I wanted to try and I think it was worth it, so here are some good reasons why you should at least take part in a summer school once in your life.

Summer school

A meeting point for students, teachers and professors

The first reason to go to a summer school is that you meet a lot of nice people. Some of them are students like you, some of them are already teachers and some of them are even university lecturers. Everyone of them enjoys conversations and you can easily get a first impression about how other school systems and universities are structured. The participants during my time there came from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. So you can get different perspectives on teaching. The exchanges between the participants enrich your experience a lot and it often gives you some good new ideas for your own teaching practice.

Learn teaching by watching teaching

Secondly, the workshops are structured in a cool way. Most of them include active participation by the group members. The lecturers get you to try out different games, give feedback on your contributions and there’s a lot of talking and discussing in groups or with the whole course.

Explore a different world 

Last but not least, you shouldn’t neglect to have a look at where the summer school takes place. In my situation it was one of the most beautiful cities in Austria, Salzburg. Although the courses did take place from the morning until the afternoon, you always had some time in the evening to explore the city. I was glad we stayed in a hostel near the centre, because that allowed us to have dinner and some after-work-drinks (I guess, you know what I mean). My friend, who joined me on this journey, and I really loved the old buildings. One of our personal highlights was the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which you can see from the roof terrace of the university building while drinking a cold beer with other course members. Just wandering around the historic centre in the evening was relaxing.

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The summer school in Salzburg was a great experience and I got a lot of new impressions on all sorts of topics. As I took part in courses about English teaching and how to do small exercises during lesson breaks with your pupils, I guess my future teaching will focus on things I learned about these topics to keep my lessons alive. I hope I’ve been able to get across my passion and excitement for this kind of event. It was a cool trip, I met a lot of great people and I may be part of it again next year.

Author & Pictures: Alexander Gallwitz

How to survive end-of-term exams

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At the moment, Im in the middle of the worst phase of the semester: yes, you got it, the exam phase. But I have a few ideas about how to survive!  Read on!

1. Take care of yourself

Try to eat nutritious food! Of course, a bar of chocolate can lift your mood and kick-start the brain; nevertheless, you shouldn’t eat too unhealthily, as this’ll just make you sluggish and tired. Eating nutritious foods will energize you and improve your concentration and memory.  Another way to keep the brain awake, to relieve stress and to burn off the extra calories is exercising! Go for a jog in the park, do some yoga, play basketball or go to the fitness centre. However, everyone knows that time, usually around three or four o’clock in the afternoon, when you just can’t cram any more information into your brain. Your motivation has taken a turn for the worse, you’ve been reading the same page for an hour and you just seem to be stuck. So you slowly start to panic because you’re afraid you won’t finish or that you’ll fail. My tip: close the book, sit down, close your eyes and take three deep breaths. But the most important factor is sleep! Staying up all night is never a good idea. If you do, make sure you have time to take a power nap. Such sleep will improve the quality and effectiveness of your studying.

2. Talk to friends but ignore the panic

Talking to other students and friends about your feelings may help to reduce your stress levels, since most of them have “been there, done that”. But for some courses in which hundreds of students are preparing for the same test, they might cause “panic”. The origin of this panic is usually a lack of knowledge about the actual content of the exam and questions that could come up. Don’t listen to any theories spread on social media!

3. Experiment with different study methods

Research has shown that the human brain isn’t designed to focus on one specific topic for a long time. So work on a particular subject for an hour or two and then switch to another. And try to find out which learning type you are. Is it easier for you to remember stuff you have read, heard, watched or written?

4. Live!

No matter how ambitious you are and how much you want to have an A in the exam, don’t forget to live! Don’t give up on your passions and hobbies. Seek a healthy life balance.

5. TURN IT OFF!!

I’m not kidding. You know it needs to be done, so just do it. Turning off your social media for an entire week may not be realistic. But try to use it as a reward. At the same time, be careful with the “just for a moment” syndrome. We all know that “only reading a headline” can lead to watching crazy kitten videos and reading celebrity gossip for hours.

Author & Picture: Sarah Hilbich

On air

We’re going to be on the radio! This thought was as exciting as it was scary for us eMAGers who are used to having all the time in the world to create beautiful sentences with sophisticated syntax and impressive vocabulary. So the prospect of having to come up with elaborate statements in a matter of seconds was somewhat intimidating.

Who’s behind Kanal C?

Ronja and Laura from the Kanal C student radio made us feel very comfortable in their ‘base camp’ at the Alte Universität. It was quite obvious from the start that everyone’s welcome at Kanal C, so we weren’t surprised when the two girls told us that their team was made up of students from all kinds of programs. Some get involved with Kanal C to gain experience in producing and hosting radio shows, while others are there just for the fun of it. And we can’t deny we got the impression that the Kanal C team does have lots of fun producing their shows.

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Just another radio station?

Before we were interviewed, we were allowed to have a look at the recording studio. Here, Kanal C records passages that are later played in the show, which is broadcast both from the studios and on the frequency of Radio Fantasy (93.4 MHz). Each show is hosted by an anchor who’s supported by a co-anchor. Before you start hosting the live shows you need to practice and get an overview of all tasks that are involved in producing a show. Reports have to be written and recorded, including local and global news that always have to be up to date. Just like every radio station Kanal C offers traffic reports and weather forecasts, but also information about current events in Augsburg or at university. And, of course, Kanal C focuses on its young listeners and updates you on new apps, games and movies in the theaters. If you’re an indie, alternative or hip hop fan, Kanal C is the perfect radio station for you. They played Milky Chance and X Ambassadors long before they conquered the charts and they keep an eye on the local music scene, interview young bands and artists and report from the Modular Festival.

IMAG0532Listen in or become a radio celebrity yourself!

It’s obvious that the Kanal C team puts a lot of time and effort into their shows, but with up to 7,000 listeners their effort certainly isn’t in vain and twenty successful years also speak for themselves! So why not listen to the radio at 9:50pm next Monday? And don’t worry – if you can’t make it, you’ve still got the chance to listen to their podcast on https://kanal-c.net/. We’ll definitely be glued to the radio next Monday when they’re airing their show!

Oh and by the way: if you feel like hearing your voice on the radio, just send the team an email (info@kanal-c.de) or drop by during one of their team meetings on Tuesdays at 8pm at the Alte Universität. They’re always on the lookout for potential new members and they promised us they don’t bite! 😉

Authors: Noemi Hehl & Henrike Wilhelm
Pictures: Noemi Hehl & Kanal C

At 4.48 when sanity visits…

Since today’s the last chance to see the University of Augsburg  “Anglisten Theater” perform “4.48 Psychosis”, I thought I’d share my experience of the premiere last Thursday (December 8th).  It’s the last play written by its author Sarah Kane, and tells the story of a young, mentally ill, woman.

atI actually can’t sum it up in more detail, since the main point of this play is that what you see isn’t 100% clear. For example, if you watch A Mid-summer Night’s Dream, you have a clear storyline to follow (they’re in love, they flee, chaos ensues, they get back together, happy end). You also have clearly defined characters with their own traits, which you discover while watching or reading. But 4.48 Psychosis doesn’t provide you with such things. Personally, I wasn’t entirely sure about anything. I was constantly wondering. I was wondering if the doctors really treat her like that, or if it’s just how she sees them treating her. I was wondering if some scenes actually happened, or if they were just a product of the patient’s imagination or even dreams. I was wondering what might have caused her to feel so bad in the first place…

I was wondering so many things that I was enticed into the play. Even though such “heavy” theatre isn’t usually to my taste at all – I was sad when it was over. Actually, I could’ve kept on watching it for quite a while, and left the theater (or in our case Hörsaal 2) with a bit of a heavy heart.

uniBut the fascination I experienced was not only as a result of the play itself. Because, as we all know, no matter how good a play is, if you have bad actors, it’s worth nothing at all. Fortunately, the university has some amazingly talented students. They were all brilliant, especially Anna Hilbel, who did a fantastic job in the lead role. The amount of text she had to learn was incredible (trust me – there’s  a ton of really long, hard monologues in this one), and I was amazed by the feelings she puts into her performance. I believed EVERYTHING. I believed her anger, her despair, her love… everything. At this point, I really have to give credit to Mr. Beck as well, for directing and coaching. The play allows every director a lot of freedom to make it theirs – and he nailed it.

So if you’re still unsure…. then I don’t know what else I can say without giving away too much. Just take my advice. Go see it. You won’t regret it. And, for my part, I can’t wait to see what they’ll be doing next semester.

4.48. Psychosis, is performed for the last time on Thursday December 15th 2016, 8 p.m., Hörsaal 2, Augsburg University.

See http://www.student.uni-augsburg.de/de/gruppen/anglistentheater

Author: Michaela Lappler
Pictures: Rudolf Beck

An interview with Lotte and Anna from the AnglistenTheater

On Thursday 8th December, the AnglistenTheater will premiere their latest play: 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. eMAG visited their final rehearsal and had a chat with Anna – who plays a young mentally ill lady – and Lotte, who plays one of her doctors.

So this is your last rehearsal before the premiere. Are you nervous yet?

Anna: Not in an apocalyptical way, but a little bit. Actually, I just avoid thinking about that at all.

Lotte: Not really. Even if I forgot my text, I bet no one would notice because of the way the play is structured. I’d actually say I’m more tired than nervous. We’ve had a lot of rehearsals, which gets quite exhausting.

Is it your first time working with the AnglistenTheater?

A: It’s already my third time.

L: For me it’s the second time.

And are you thinking about coming back again next semester?

A: Yes, but maybe just for a small role or as part of the “behind the scenes” team. It is fun, but it’s still work which takes up a lot of time for rehearsals and learning your text.

L: It’s actually the same with me. I’d love to come back, but I’ll be working on my bachelor thesis, so I’m not quite sure whether I’ll have the time.

Since the play is really… let’s say “special”, the way it’s written, was it harder to learn the text than an “ordinary” play?

A: Well, it doesn’t have a lot of dialogue and it doesn’t even really have strictly divided characters and the plot is a bit… hard to find. I’d say it is definitely different from what we see as a “normal” play. The lack of dialogue makes it a bit harder because, for example, if you’ve forgotten a line, there’s no one there to help you, but in the end it’s just text which can be learned by heart like any other play.

L: I don’t really mind it, since I’m particularly interested in poetry.

I’ve read that the play mainly focuses on mental illness and psychiatric treatment. Did that affect you?

A: It was kind of depressing for everybody. After rehearsal we were really drained emotionally.

L: It was definitely exhausting because it’s just not a happy play. If you see it, you don’t leave the theater going like “Haha, that was super funny to watch!”. But overall that’s not a problem, since I’m fully aware that it’s just a play.

I wish you the best of luck, but do you have a personal worst-case scenario for the premiere?

A: I’m afraid of self-fulfilling prophecies, so I’m not gonna answer this! (laughs)

L: Maybe standing on stage and getting laughed at.

Author: Michaela Lappler
Picture: AnglistenTheater/Verena Kandler

Tips for a great Dublin experience

Spending a semester abroad has been on my to-do-list ever since I started studying, but you know how things can go sometimes. Plans change, things get in the way, and in the end you have to set your priorities. Last term I finally did get my chance to take an Erasmus semester in Dublin and I honestly have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life. So here are some things you absolutely shouldn’t miss while you’re on the green island.

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Explore the country. Ireland is really not all that big. With the Bus Éireann lines you can get from Dublin to Belfast in a few hours relatively cheaply. Landmarks like Tara, the Giant’s Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher are just a wee bit away. If you’re taking a semester abroad, the international societies like the Erasmus Student Network organise trips regularly as well. Ireland is beautiful. Go see for yourself!

Grab a few friends and visit Temple Bar in Dublin. I don’t think I’ll have to say much about it, but one bit of advice: the famous pubs aredublin2 cool, but, well… famous. My favourite place was a small cafe a bit further down the road. You still had the whole setting, but you could actually talk without having to shout at each other or having to cope with getting elbowed in the back. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find a bunch of places that are not on tourists’ radar.

Check out Grafton Street. There’s always stuff going on in one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets. Very close to Saint Stephen’s Green (a beautiful park), it leads you straight to Trinity College. On the way you will not only find the Gaiety Theatre, all sorts of shops and restaurant, but also street performers and buskers. You can find some real gems there and occasionally even catch some more famous bands. If you are there around Christmas, prepare yourself for an incredible experience. Choirs, Christmas music and the lights and decorations transform Grafton Street into an absolute winter wonderland. The snow generally gets substituted with cold rain, though.

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One really important tip for all fellow students: you probably won’t be able to get a room at the on-campus residences, at least not until well into the semester. So arrive a week or two earlier, embrace the hostel lifestyle and then use Daft.ie, the local newspapers and the Facebook pages of the international societies (again, ESN helped me a lot here) to find a place to stay. You’ll probably be able to get something that’s significantly cheaper than on-campus accommodation, too.

Other than that, just be open-minded. The Irish are extremely welcoming (and chatty) people and if you approach them with a smile, they’ll pay it back with nothing but kindness. I’ll never forget my time in Dublin and I can’t wait to return to catch up with all the friends I have made there.

Author & Pictures: Andreas Böhm

Resist procrastination today … or not

I almost just submitted this article as a blank page. That’s how bad my procrastination is, or maybe it was just my sense of irony.

Everyone seems to suffer the attack of the procrastination monster every once in a while, or rather every time a deadline is drawing closer. We students are especially susceptible to listening to this sweet, sweet siren’s song and put off all our work as long as possible. There’ no one to check up on our progress after all. Learning how to just get it together and get our stuff done is arguably the most important thing we learn at university. No one likes to admit that but it can just stay between us if you want, I won’t tell.

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So why do we do it and how can we stop it? Isn’t it our only goal to achieve perfection by tirelessly improving ourselves day after day after day? The truth is striving for perfection is hard. It involves struggling with our own worst enemy on a daily basis, to resist temptation and never fail or else fall into an endless pit of despair. Once you slip up and your plans go south you might as well give up forever, or at least that’s what it feels like. The pressure of routine just increases the longer it continues.

That’s why sometimes we just need to give in. Embrace your sloth (that sounds adorable actually). Maybe this monster inside us just needs love too. Giving it a cuddle, smothering it with kindness might help. After all it is part of us. We are this monster. We know that we should be better. We try and fail and sometimesprocrastination need someone to stroke our ego. We need to just forget about our problems for a little while. What better way than to treat yourself with something you know you don’t deserve. You know you want to. Just do it. Don’t be perfect for a little while. Let your monster out of its cage. Let it rage, roar, rampage and then let it go. Calm down and give it a cuddle. Put it back in its little corner. Continue on your crusade towards becoming a better version of yourself tomorrow.

Author & pictures: Lisa Bittner