Studying abroad with Abigail: Through the looking class

By Abigail Wetmore, Chattanooga, Tenn.–Signing up for classes has always been a bit of a puzzle for me, and I mean, literally, a puzzle. Every semester I have had a part-time job to work my schedule around.

Though I may not have to worry as much about what times and days the classes are scheduled while studying abroad, signing up for classes at a German university presents a new set of puzzles.

To start, semesters in Germany are divided up differently. I won’t begin the spring semester there until April and then go until the end of July. I will be taking an intensive German language course in March until classes actually start.

At the moment, the semester classes I need to find are not listed just yet on the website for me to get a description so that professors at UTC can approve them . . .Gotta love a good challenge.

Currently, I am searching through the previous spring semesters to see which classes might be available once I get there.

And to make things just a little more exciting, I need to sift through each class listed carefully to see if it is offered in English or not.

I feel extremely fortunate to have friends in Germany who can help me navigate the website in German over Skype. We have had some fun trying to translate the course descriptions.

I translated one sentence in the paragraph as ‘A lecture to you about you living in the world for once.’ The actual translation was ‘A lecture about the world you live in and how it once was.’

My friend and I spent most of the time on Skype laughing at the translations I came up with rather than finding classes. My poor friend, too, ended up doing most of the work navigating the website and explaining the classes to me in English. Oh, how not ready for Germany I am, but then I also feel like I never really will be.

I also might have translated the term for “well-being” as “whole be finding.” Once there, my professors, seeing how off my translations are, will probably kindly request that I just stick with the language I already know, but I’m too determined to learn German.

So currently, I am still searching through the wonderland that is the university’s website for the right classes, but at least we were able to translate the description of two classes, mostly thanks to my oh-so patient friend on Skype.

I will need to find two more, with German included of course. Thankfully I have a few weeks to sort through it all in both German and English.

Choosing courses is the last thing left on the list of things to do before leaving, so five weeks better be more than enough time.

On that note, I wish you all a wonderful semester of classes as I search for a wonderful semester of my own.

Contact Abigail at abigailwetmore@ gmail.com.

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