Report December - Aman Swain
How was your first Christmas in Germany?
Christmas is different in every place in the world. There are even cultures that do not celebrate Christmas at all. Germany, unlike my home country India, celebrates Christmas extensively. In December, the cities of Germany have a distinctive atmosphere. All streets and shops are decorated, and Christmas music is everywhere. In Schweinfurt, they even have a Christmas market, which is a popular place to visit from the beginning of December. They offer Glühwein (traditional German drink), crepes, and other traditional German food that you can enjoy with your friends. Some of us went to visit their home country but I choose to stay here and study for the upcoming exams.
Did you manage to travel around Germany or in another country during the first months of your stay in Germany?
Concerning this, I was very lucky. I have managed to visit Würzburg, Munich (Oktoberfest) and Berlin. During the orientation week, the university arranged a trip to Würzburg. And I also found time to visit Munich during Oktoberfest with my friends. The trip to the German capital was also organized by the university in early December. Visiting the East Side Galery, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and Museum Island was an incredible experience.
Where and how do you plan to celebrate the New Year’s Eve?
We have not planned anything yet, but probably I will have a small get-together with close friends.
Do you like Germany?
I have been living here for 3 months and I’ve read countless posts about how Germany fails in certain situations, such as appointments and bureaucracy, but I don’t seem to ever come across those which talk about the things Germany succeeds in. Germany has an excellent transportation system that is generally safe and punctual. Also, Germany is a very safe country to live in, with crime rates that are lower than most countries.
Where do you usually eat?
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of German cuisine, so I prefer to cook at home myself. Sometimes, I eat in the student cafeteria. They also offer some vegetarian dishes and you can have a hearty and filling meal for under 3-4 euros. Almost every food item can be found at Lidl, Aldi and Edeka at a very reasonable price (Tip for Indians: Get masalas and maggi from home).
Do you attend university language courses?
Yes, I attend the B1 language course at the university. The classes are well planned with a balanced time devoted to speaking, listening, reading and writing of German language. I highly recommend learning German with a professional teacher, as this will help you understand the complex German grammar. Apart from the language course, I practice German by watching videos and trying to speak with German people.
Did you attend General Academic Tutorials (GAT)?
The GAT is a great help for someone new in Germany, as they provide tips and advice regarding life and studies in Germany. Unfortunately, GAT usually clashed with my usual lecture timings.
What is your most positive experience in Germany so far?
So far, I think the Berlin trip was the most positive experience for me. It was my first time in the city and I was really excited to see and do as much as possible. Visiting the East Side Galery, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and Museum Island was a memorable experience.