II semester: between classes and excursions

Hi everyone,

I decided to keep you posted after not writing for a long time.

I should say first that I had a couple of technical problems with writing and uploading pictures because at the moment I don’t have a very efficient computer, so next time I will use my tablet so that I can write more easily.

At the same time as said technical problems, I decided to take a break because of my job and university. In regards to my job, I started working at a bakery in January as a cashier, both to use this experience as much as possible and to have more financial independence. In general I must say I am satisfied with it, especially because I had to spend a long time looking for a job before actually finding it.

As far as univeristy, aside from the standard exams that I normally take in Italy, I had to write a term-paper (in German Hausarbeit). It was hard enough: I had never written a 20 page paper, the topic was a bit diffcult (very theoretical, as it was about German linguistics) and my main difficulty was academic writing. I also had to make some changes before handing it in, so it took me around three weeks. After this experience I can say that we are not that used to academic writing in Italy and this, beside from writing in a foreign language, is a bit diffcult. This also leads to some problems for writing a thesis at the end of the university, for which students have never gotten concrete opportunities to practice.

I would also like to say a few words about classes that I started at the beginning of this month. I feel like I have a more complete idea of the German uni system, so I can clearly say more in regards to it. The good side is the way languages are taught, especially because there are a lot of speaking exercises; besides, Paderborn University offers a good variety of language courses. The same can be said about classes in general: a lot of importance is given to dialogue and the main focus is on encouraging students to develop a good critical sense. However, there are some aspects that I didn’t accept so easily, like the need of a registration for classes: this was a bit problematic for me, because I had to choose some classes which were more difficult or that didn’t follow my initial interests or ideas. Another aspect that doesn’t make me feel very enthusiastic is the way classes are organized: in Italy (even if we have a lot to study), after taking part to a class, you have a good knowledge of the topics, whereas here it’s different: the week before a class, students are asked to read some online documents, so as to already have knowledge of the topic. Even if on the one hand I can understand this (having some knowledge about a topic can be positive), on the other hand I don’t find it a suitable idea to take a class in which there is only a review or a general discussion. In other words, being autonomous is fine, but topics should be analyzed in a more detailed way. Despites the various pros and cons, my idea is to end my academic career and invest in a future job, because I feel like I have already done enough for university.

Now that I have spoken about university, a few words about Enschede, a city in the Netherlands. Luckily it is possible to travel there with the semester ticket, so there were no additional transportation costs. There we met an old friend of ours who we had origionally met in Paderborn (he was an exchange student). I decided to post the picture of the exit of the main station, where there are two big swings with this nice mix of colours. Then a funny advertisement about Italians in a shop window, followed by a picture taken while walking in the city, one of a park and one of the food that I tried, Chocomel, similar to chocolate milk, and Kanjers, delicious caramel waffles.

Another day I was in Externsteine, a very big rock climbing trail (not ideal for people with any fear of heights), whose historical importance stretches back to the Middle Ages. If you are curious or you want to visit it one day, I would highly recommend googling more about it for more info. Next I went on an excursion to Detmold with other students (where we walked a lot, almost like what is expressed in the German word wandern, that expresses not only a far walk, but a deep contact with nature), where I also suggest seeing the statue dedicated to the Imperor Arminius, chief of the German tribe who defeated the Romans during the fight at the Teutoburg forest.

At the end are two pictures of Lippstadt, a city near Paderborn that my friends and I decided to visit because it is not too far away, because we were actually a bit tired but we wanted to travel so it ended up being a good compromise. Aside from a local market and a nice ice-cream place, I found this Fachwerkhaus and the ruins of this Church very interesting.

Alright, that’s all for now. I hope to keep you posted soon and that I compensated my absence with an article longer than usual.

Raffaele

Autore: raffaelechirico

Raffaele Chirico, 22 anni e studente di lingue e culture straniere. Appassionato di lettura, scrittura, nuoto e serie tv. Raffaele Chirico, 22 years old and student of foreign languages and cultures. I like reading, writing, swimming and watching Tv series.

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