I have an opportunity to earn Honors credit while I’m in Germany, if I maintain a Study-Abroad Journal. Now I have an incentive to blog!
1. Everyday Life (Required): Describe your living situation and routine, and note 5-10 specific differences in everyday life practice between your experience there and the U.S., whether at home or at university. Elaborate where possible. This section is required and prerequisite to the others: students should make a dated entry at the beginning of their stay and again at the end, upon arriving and upon departing, and throughout the stay.
31.3.10 <– It’s how Europeans write the date.
Generally, German refrigerators are a lot smaller than their American counterparts. It’s nearly impossible to buy a whole week’s worth of food like American families typically do. So Germans will go to the food market multiple times a week. The benefit is they can always buy fresh ingredients. German supermarkets themselves are smaller than the ones in the US. There are more of them spread around the area so, 9 times out of 10, it’s easy to get to one on foot. In my case, there’s two markets just a half kilometer from where we live.
Also until recently, Germans treated their lunch as their biggest meal of the day, while dinner was more like a packed lunch: bread and meats or cheeses. They call it “Brotzeit” which literally means bread time, but is translated as brownbag lunch.
Germans have the right attitude about alcohol. It’s not a taboo like it is in America. Kids grow up knowing what it tastes like because their parents let them try it at the dinner table. It’s possible for an adult to order their teen beer at a restaurant and not get in trouble, which isn’t the case back home. Even though I’ve only been here a short while, I haven’t seen anyone get “carded” like they do in the States.
- Getting Around
I have never been in a more bike friendly city. There are devoted bike paths all over the city and at least 90% of them are right on the sidewalks so bikers don’t have to worry about drivers. If they are on the street, then the street is wide enough to allow for a bike lane by the edge of the street. People will put baskets on their bikes and bike to the store. Child seats or wagons are also common.
Germans also love to walk. If they’re not on a bike, odds are they’re on foot.
The Subway (Untergrundbahn or U-Bahn) here is really efficient, and clean. Most stations have display boards for when the next trains are coming. Something that I’ve never seen before is the doors will not open on their own. You have to pull the lever (or push the button on the newer trains) in order for them to open. It comes in handy during slower times and at slower stations. If not a lot of doors open, then the operator generally can leave the station quicker than if all the doors automatically opened.
There isn’t really a campus here in Munich. While there are University buildings all clustered together like in a typical urban campus, there aren’t any dorms nearby. Instead there are apartment buildings and dorms together in a Student City (Studentstadt) a few stops away on the U-Bahn. It’s also pretty hard to find any clubs like there are back at Hofstra. There might be some student groups that meet in the Studentstadt, but there aren’t as many nor are they University sponsored.