Monday, October 19, 2009


[ Bureaucracy ]

A while back in the early days of the language school I remember walking home from class and playing around with my cell phone. I was experimenting with the calendar feature and began to plug in special dates of the year to beep in as a reminder as the dates arrived. A month and a half goes by and I am in Göttingen finding my way around town.

I have come to learn through experience that Germany has a ridiculous amount of registration and paperwork standards. Moving to Göttingen was stressful since it was a new home and I had to drag my overloaded luggage around once more and meander around with some German vocabulary I was checking the dictionary for. I actually had a “tutor”, a student from the University, to assist me with all the city registration, and thank goodness that I had her around.

Typical me, however, of course had to get lost on the first day – even with a map in hand, and had to call up Katharine – my tutor – to let her know that I don’t think I would make it to the meeting point in 2 minutes to meet at 10:30. I had somehow walked 15 minutes south… the campus is north… which made be probably close to a half hour away. She laughed on the phone – for good reason since I later learned that the city really isn’t that big – and she told me to stay where I was at that part of campus and she would meet me there. So I was lost and then it began to rain – no, pour …

Then my phone starts beeping… is it Katharine again?

Beep beepWelcome to Göttingen! Beep Beep

It was my calendar of Events… welcome… lost and in the rain…

Life is funny like that.

On Thursday, I spent the entire day walking around Göttingen taking care of different registration documents at the University office, international student office, and the Neue Rathaus – the city head office. Einfürungswochenende, Krankenversicherung, Obligatorischer-Einstufungstest... – I didn’t know what was going on… the only thing I knew was that there was a lot of huge German words, and a lot of paperwork to complete. I don’t know how many times I had to show my passport – heck, I even had to show my passport to get a cell phone earlier this year in this country.

Health insurance forms, visas, proof of residency in Göttingen, proof of scholarship to study in Germany, am I married, what is my mother’s maiden name… why do they need to know my mom’s maiden name?

The day wasn’t the best. I will admit that the city seems like it is really nice and the university has a lot of facilities, but for my first day stress was the main thing on my mind. At night I had a headache just from the large amounts of German I had tried to manage during the day. I had to get some sleep however, since the next morning – no time for breaks – was already the introduction weekend for international students at the school. It sounded to me like more stress and information Auf Deutsch to keep up with. We will see how this university phase plays out.

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