Friday, 10 August 2012

Heidelberg Summer School

It’s been so crazy busy that it’s hard to believe we’ve already been here for nearly a week. It’s been a week of intensive studying, learning and getting to know fellow students from around the world. There are nearly 600 students here from five continents and representing nearly 60 countries; a truly international summer program. As mentioned in my last post, the MUN Heidelberg program is an immersion program where you can earn nine credit hours within the space of a month. That always sounded a bit generous to me. I don’t think that anymore. The doors you see pictured below are the doors I enter through every morning for class which run from 8:15 to 12:45 with two shortish breaks in-between. Then there’s homework almost every night. EEK!! But, that’s ok, I’m learning, and having fun and have NO other responsibilities (including housework and meal preparation) so it’s all good. 

The lettering on the building translates to "of the living spirit" and the banner below it translates to "international summer-program for German language and culture." 

The University was established in 1386, making it the oldest university in Germany and one of the oldest in Europe. It boasts ten Nobel prize winners and is considered one of the high-power universities in Germany. MUN has had a relationship and has been bringing students here every summer for about 12 years.

Which class I attend was determined through an oral test, which I did last Sunday and aced because spoken German is not my weakness, and a written (grammar) test which I wrote on Monday which is not quite so easy for me.  I guess after running this program for over 60 years the University of Heidelberg knows what they’re doing because I was placed exactly right, not too easy and not yet not too challenging. I'm in a class with 13 other students literally from around the world. I'm the only Canadian, there is one American, a couple of Asian, eastern European, an Italian, a Spaniard, a really good mix. Along with improving my German grammar, and increasing my vocab I’m also taking a translation course and learning the nuances of translating from German into English and vice-versa. Something that will be useful when I guide the St. John’s city tours with the German cruise ships. 

So what's Erwin's role here? First of all MUN requires that a MUN faculty person been with the our group of ten adults at all times from the moment we leave St. John's airport to the moment we return. (Don't even get Erwin started on that issue.) But basically he's here to make sure everything runs smoothly, encourage and support and act as a resource or sounding board when needed. Plus, he still deals with daily MUN stuff since he's still head of department until August 31.

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