I am finding it rather hard to believe that I have been here nearly two weeks already! It has all been such a whirlwind of meeting new people, finding my way around and settling in to a new lifestyle. This last week especially has been a challenge in that I find myself constantly questioning if this is all really happening!? If I didn’t make the choice to pursue languages at school or further on into university then I would most likely not have this opportunity!
Earlier on in the week I got to meet my mentor who I have as part of the Erasmus/international student scheme here at the university. Last year in Lancaster I was a mentor for some international students from Hong Kong, and I found it interesting that in a strange role-reversal situation, I was the one requiring some direction! 😛 We met up by the university main building along with another Erasmus student who I have got to know really well, and we went on a mini tour of Graz and the university buildings, which are absolutely stunning! The university is the second-oldest in Austria, established in 1585, so many of the university buildings have such historical and architectural beauty.
This is a map of the university buildings (very useful for finding my way!) It is a lot bigger than Lancaster and more intertwined with the city too, but this is something I really like about the campus.
This past week has also been the time for registering at the university, sorting out paperwork and attending introduction talks (some even as early as 8am.. much of a shock to the system!) It has been really good to meet all the other students here too from all different exotic countries from around the world! I can’t say I feel too exotic when I say I’m from Wales, but people do tend to be quite fascinated to hear what Welsh sounds like! (My A-level finally comes into good use…) 😉 That really is one massive part of this experience that I am loving; meeting so many new people! One minute I’m chatting to someone from the US or China, and next I’m having coffee with others from Moldova and Finland! Quite incredible I think!
Another key part of the last week has been getting ready for my intensive German course that I am doing for the next three weeks. The course is not a compulsory part of my year abroad, however it is something I wanted to do to get me back into the swing of things, before having all my lectures etc all in German! (Scary thought to say the least!) We had an introduction talk on what we would be doing on the course and then more about how we would be placed in our classes. The course has cost me 160 Euros, but that is for three weeks intensive teaching, which is tailored specially to your level. The way that you are put into a class is via placement tests; so on Thursday I had my written test, and then on Friday an oral test. (Yay tests – just what I needed in my second week of my year abroad!) Mildly stressful, yet over before I knew it! We got the results pretty much straight away and I was placed in a B2 level class, which I’m happy with! The course will start tomorrow, and then will run for three weeks Monday-Friday from 9-12 I think. I’m quite looking forward to it, and also looking forward to getting to speak more and improve my German! That’s what I’m here for after all!
Apart from all the university related things, I have continued to explore the city when I can, though I think I brought the rain from Wales. Great excuse to invest in a new coat! 😉
^ The time when I thought I was getting grated cheese with my frankfurter… but it was actually some kind of pickled something of other.. not nice…at all :S
The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy with my German course etc and then will be starting my university courses properly at the beginning of October! I will definitely keep you updated as to how the course is going and hopefully will be seeing some improvement!
– erasmusexplorer –