Perspective from abroad

Abigail Wetmore, Chattanooga, Tenn. –The first week of official summer classes was not too overwhelming, however that might be because half the classes I signed up for do not start until this coming week. So far it has only been oodles of reading. I am taking a couple of philosophy classes, one literature class and two German classes in German.

We will see how all that goes.

So far the reading in the philosophy classes has made me really, really appreciate coffee. I am almost more worried about understanding upper level philosophy writing in English than I am the next level of the German language.

Contributed photo by Abigail Wetmore
Contributed photo by Abigail Wetmore

It is weird too, to think the semester is just getting started when I know it is almost finished back home. I guess they were not kidding when they said “summer semester.”

Now I get it. I am quick… I am very quick.

German semester programs are a lot for all the other countries in Europe to be accustomed with as well. France and Italy have semesters much more aligned with ours.

Germany just had to be different.

It is much like America’s use of Fahrenheit instead of Celsius or miles instead of kilometers, like the rest of the world. Why, America, why? You think constant conversion is easy? I am beginning to get used to it, after some effort on my part to sit down and memorize a few exact conversions so I can quickly ball-park the rest if needed. Celsius, in particular, makes the most sense to me. Zero degrees is freezing, 100 degrees is boiling- brilliant! Nice and simple.

Another conversion I learned soon after arriving is sugar into fat. I went a little crazy with the chocolate and bread here. Had it not been for amount of walking required, I might be much more upset about the translation while learning about pounds to kilograms. I have since calmed down about the amazing European sugar artistry and now actual food may be found on my shelf in the community kitchen. I am also learning a lot of international cooking techniques.

I have also picked up “hello,” “thank you” and “good-bye” in about four other languages while visiting other students. That is the thing about studying abroad I have discovered so far; I think even if I were to try not to, I will always learn something new nearly every day. It can be exhausting, confusing, overwhelming, thrilling, shocking, exciting, unexpected or just very surprising at any given time, and I would not want it anything other way.

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