Indiana University Overseas Study

The first week of school turned out to be less terrifying than I had anticipated. My classes seem manageable, enjoyable, and of course, they are all in German. The most unique class that I have is definitely my Turkish class. Back at IU, there are about six other students in my Turkish classes; needless to say, Turkish isn’t the most popular language offered at IU.

In my class at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, however, there are twenty other students taking Turkish with me, which just goes to show how important learning Turkish is to German students. At the beginning of the class, everyone took turns explaining why Turkish was important in their lives and what they hope to achieve by learning the new language. Answers ranged from wanting to one day live in Turkey to assisting Turkish patients in hospitals. It was so refreshing to hear how Turkish plays such a prominent role in the lives of my classmates that I was rejuvenated and excited to begin studying Turkish once again.

And then the class began. I didn’t anticipate how strange it would be learn Turkish in German. I have an elementary understanding of Turkish and what I would consider a professional understanding of German. We began the class by conducting one minute interviews with our classmates in Turkish.  The interviews were rather bumpy and then the ever familiar panic of ‘oh dear lord what is my teacher saying’ crept in.

After the last month I have become accustomed to hearing and understanding German, so entering the world of Turkish was an adjustment. It was rather strange when my teacher resumed speaking German.  Unexpectedly relieved, it was like a piano was lifted off my chest and I could breathe again. We then discussed different tenses and forms of Turkish verbs in German.  I had to mentally translate from Turkish to English and back to German to convey my answers to the rest of the class. It was definitely one of the most interesting moments in my language learning career.  It will be interesting to see if I can manage to go straight from Turkish to German during the course of the semester.

After a month of sub-par weather and rain soaked shoes, my friends and I unanimously decided to spend the weekend outside grilling and soaking up the sun. I live in a student complex about 15 minutes outside the city and lucky for me, my dorm backs up to a lake. It is always filled with kids and college students laying on blankets, playing soccer, or kubb (more to come about that later), or running.

We spent all of Friday grilling and enjoying the sun and on Saturday we decided we would start exploring the surrounding cities. Our plan was to check out a miniature golf center in the neighboring city of Neustadt but nothing seemed to be going our way—delayed trains, the miniature golf place didn’t open for another week, and we were at a loss as to what we should do. We went back to the Neustadt train station in hopes of making our way back to another lake, but of course that train was delayed as well.

On the spur of the moment, we decided to make the walk to Titisee ourselves—all 6.5 km. We walked through forests and fields, next to rivers and up mountains. We decided that der Schwarzwald (Black Forest) is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Walking through the forest made me feel like a character in The Hunger Games but with highly inappropriate hiking clothes. I had prepared for a nice day of miniature golf with a dress and sandals, but it didn’t translate very well into a 1.5 hour hike. The long walk paid off however, as we finished our hike at a giant glistening lake surrounded by hundreds of shops and cafes—it looked like a mini amusement park full of kitsch and tourists. It was all in all a lovely Saturday afternoon and I only hope that the rest of my time here is full of more hiking adventures.

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