Monday, October 17, 2005

Der Erste Tag

I survived. The first day of classes. Well, ok, it was one class´about the French Revolution. I probably will not even take it because I will most likely end up taking more film courses. The professor was really nice and the class already has a 10 page paper built into it already (Hausarbeit), so it's not a problem that I will have to write 12 pages (of course, depending on if I take the course).

Before the class started, I was unbelievably nervous. My hands were shaking and I just kept reminding myself to breathe. I mean, I know it's just another class, but it's in another language. The first thing the professor asked was "Was ist politische Kultur?" I could possibly explain myself in English, but in German? Good question. Was IST politische Kultur? Got German.

The class felt very much like a discussion class back at Middlebury: There wasn't more than 12 students, we sat around desks set up in a large square, and the professor was laid back and sitting, too. What the professor talked about mostly was a very brief introduction to the course and just answering his one question of "Was ist politische Kultur." I was surprised at the amount that I understood and as forgetful as I am out of nerves, I had forgotten my English-German pocket dictionary, so it was even better than I thought. Out of the entire class, there were only 3 international students including myself. The other two were two French guys (the only reason why I knew was because they whipped out a French-German dictionary that had a large French flag on it) who I am sure know a lot about the Revolution. Maybe.

After the class, I had to approach the professor and ask him if it was ok that I write a 12 page paper instead of a 10, introduce myself, and tell him that I am with the Middlebury program. I was so nervous that I used the informal you form (du instead of Sie), which I was later kicking myself for. I asked him if he was familiar with the Midd program and he just sort of gave me this look, then asked, "Is that in Vermont, between the mountains and in the really pretty valley?" Apparently he was there last summer. Perhaps with the Language Schools, I didn't ask. He was very nice and didn't seemed fazed that I used the wrong "you" form (Thank God, otherwise I would definitely NOT take the class).

So hurrah, the first day is over. It's always the hardest. Tomorrow I have three classes to go to: 2 film ones (both are taught by the same woman) and 1 history one (which I'm excited about the title: "Comics in History - History in Comics?"). No idea what ones I will take, but regardless, I am glad that the first day is over.

Oh, and for the Fair Lawn people reading my blog...I just heard that a certain Vicky from the class of 2003 has become a stripper. With her best friend that is a year younger than us. I'm not giving specific names, just in case this is googled or something. All I can say is I can't wait til 5 year reunion.


Crystal said...

God I wish I was from Fair Lawn so I could revel in the gossip. Haha. How exciting your first day of class! You'll be up and perfect with your German in no time, I'm sure. Keep on going and don't forget to get online and talk to me, despite the time difference! Take care. TTYL! Keep writing, I'm reading!

Dan said...

I'm pretty impressed that you were able to say all that in German even when you were so nervous. I was so nervous when I met my host family that I just didn't say anything at all! I could only smile and nod.

And don't worry too much about using the informal "you." Someone here in my program used the command form with his host Dad, and it translated to something like: "Fucking give me that now!" But I think the Dad took it pretty well. As long as the tone of your voice isn't offensive, I think most people know that we're still learning the language so they won't get too offended if we mess up.

Liso said...

Dude sounds like you did a lot better in your first class than I did. I coul´d barely understand a damn thing they speak so fast here. It´s getting better though, especially since I´m in the filology department now instead of the humanities, where there a bunch of foreigners as opposed to none. So the profs talk a little bit slower.
I´m taking a film course too; it´s called Lenguaje de Cine, Comic, y Television. It should be pretty cool. Some middkids have taken it before and really liked it, the prof is really good. The Spanish for foreigners class is a joke so I think Kate and Stiny and I are going to have midd hire us a tutor. Keep up the good work, bioth.

Bennikans said...

Hey Sannie!

Congratulations on surviving the first day! Sounds pretty intense. I'm sure the teachers understand about the whole informal/formal thing. Hope you enjoy the film classes!


Dave said...

At least your classes are sounding a lot better than mine- plus you're understanding more. Me on the other hand, I sit and classes and pretend like I understand, its really thrilling- everything just goes in one ear and out the other. Its not fun unless you don't know wut the hell is going on in every class.

climbon321 said...

Your classes sound so much more productive than mine. Today in class we played 7-UP. Yesterday in class I made a beastiality porn shoot out of clay. Hooray for Ithaca education!!