Monday, October 19, 2009

Zweiten Tag vom Einführungswochenende

[ Second day of the Introduction Weekend ]

The second day of Einführungswochenende began once again with a division of everyone into small groups. A basket of colored pieces of paper went around and we were supposed to pick one – I took purple again – I may have said that I was getting by with my German… but that doesn’t mean that I always knew what was going on… I chose purple because that was my color the day before… no one that was in my group on Friday was there Saturday… regardless if I followed directions or not, I had a new group with some new people to meet.

After a few powerpoint presentations of the large array of opportunities offered at the Uni, the groups split apart. I was happy to see that by coincidence both Kumiko and Tommi were in my group as well as some new fellow classmates to meet from China, Russia and Nicaragua.

The task at hand was to complete a scavenger hunt around the downtown area with many questions and answers. Everything from the directions to the questions was in German and during our tour it evolved into this efficiency scale:

  • Finland and Russia: did all the work.
  • China and Japan: not as good German skills as Finland and Russia, but knew their way around town after being in Göttingen for a week.
  • America and Nicaragua: Virtually useless.

Maria – Nicaragua – and I could only laugh. When the German instructions or questions about a historical significance of some architecture of a church in the city came up… we could only blankly stare. Even though we could only communicate to each other in the bad German that we had, it was apparent to both of us that we were like the lucky kids in class that was paired up with the smart kid for a project. Yessss!

Even so, our group had a very enjoyable time walking around for the entire afternoon and chatting about random things, like the 2008 Olympics in China, or what typical food is in Nicaragua [ Maria shrugged and laughed - rice and beans ]. After visiting many landmarks like Jakobikirche or the Neue Rathaus, the scavenger hunt was done, and the next part of the project was to create a skit to present later. The objective was to reenact something that might be difficult to transition to as a foreign student at the Uni in Germany.

Our group found a very cool pub restaurant to sit down for lunch with some typical German food – big portions, lots of meat and potatoes – and had a chance to chat some more and work on our project. The seemingly simple objectives – draw a picture of your group representing your nationalities, and make a skit of the cultural oddities in Germany – turned into a déjà vu of planning our Internationalabends back in August with the Americans. What was strange for one person, was normal for the next.

I said that it was weird for me sitting at the restaurant and not getting a glass of tap water gratis and the fact that I had to pay… *looks at menu* - 1.7 Euros for some carbonated water?! Finland and Russia didn’t seem fazed. Kumiko said that Sauna culture baffled her – then the group laughed realizing that Tommi, from Finland, was sitting right there. One thing that we were able to agree on was the frustration of having shops closed on Sundays in Germany [ but you can still find all the bars open… ]. We decided to write our skit about that, and I voluntarily took the most amount of lines as the new American confused about why the town is deserted on Sunday – I felt that it was obligatory after my lackluster performance with the scavenger hunt!

[The Group, from left to right: Finland, Japan, America, China, Russia, Nicaragua]

I butchered the grammar later in the day, but it was still fun to perform. As for the picture, summarizing any nation in a little box is hard. America resulted with the Declaration of Independence and the statue of liberty [ well it kind of looked like her…]. The other nations had a difficult time too – matryoshka dolls for Russia, a volcano for Nicaragua… Finland… Tommi drew Santa on skis! Whereas all the activities seemed simple and redundant we began to learn through the experiences that they were forcing us to be a little more introspective about our national identities at the same time as learning about others.

No comments:

Post a Comment