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Monday, October 12, 2015

My Second Semester of Grad School in Germany

My third semester of grad school starts today (which is also my final semester of classes! YAY!). Unfortunately, I still have one more term paper to write from last semester (oops), but it will get done within the next two weeks (hopefully), so I figured I will write this post anyways.

Graduate School in Germany


Here is a review of my second semester of graduate school in Germany.

7 grad school courses
In order to graduate in 2 years, my program requires students to take 6 courses per semester. Why did I take 7? Masochism, basically. But I survived!

6 term papers
The good news: I didn't have to take any exams this semester! The bad news: I had to write 6 term papers! And actually, I still haven't turned in 3 of them... ugh.

80 pages written
I was curious, so I just checked all of my term papers to see how many pages I wrote in total. 80. Yep. That's a lot for one semester, especially when you have to do research on so many different topics.

5 presentations
This semester, 5 of my 7 courses required a presentation (4 of those were in German). I don't particularly enjoy giving presentations. I always have to remember to wear a high-necked shirt because my chest becomes all splotchy.

5 classes next semester
In the review of my first semster of grad school in Germany, I naively write that I was planning on taking 7 classes for the next semester. While I don't regret that decision, it did not make my life easy. But maybe I should be thanking past Courtney, because now I only have to take 5 classes this coming semester (and none of them sound particularly easy)!

Here's to my last semester of grad school classes!

If you like reading updates on my life in Germany and tips for studying in Germany, make sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Much like chain emails back in the early 2000's, some bloggers like to send around "awards" to each other that come with a set of questions for their nominees to answer. I have never taken part in one of these awards yet, but after being nominated a handful of times, I figured it was time to participate :)

This particular award is called the "Sisterhood of the World Bloggers." I was nominated by American FaultierConfuzzledom, and Ami in Schwabenland. Each of them created ten questions, but since I am lazy, and 30 questions seem like it would be a lot for people to read, I have selected my favorite from each of my nominators.

I will start with Jennifer's questions:

How did you come up with your blog's name?
As many of you probably know, my blog used to be called Courtney the Ami - "Ami" is the German abbreviation for "American." I really didn't like the idea of labeling myself like that forever, though, so I changed the name of my blog to Welcome to Germerica - Germerica being the place where German and American culture combines.

What is your dream pet?
Definitely dog. I browse the local shelter's website almost daily and dream about the day (hopefully in a year) when I finally get a dog of my own. If I could adopt a dog tomorrow, here would be my favorites that are currently at the shelter:

Sam
Sam2Sam Kopf

Ljuba
LjubaLjuba Kopf

Sally
SallySally Kopf

If you had the change to travel to space, would you go? Why or why not?
Maybe. If it was free (or I was super rich), I suppose it would be cool to look at the Earth from space.

If you had infinite money, what would your house look like?
If I am living with Marco, then I would want a master bedroom with 2 separate en suite bathrooms (think of all the fights that would be avoided). I would also have a big open kitchen - dining room - living room (which is hard to find in Germany). 

eBooks or paper books? Why?
Marco bought me a Kindle when I passed the TestDaF in February 2014. I have never bought a paper book since. I love my Kindle, and since I am a broke grad student right now, I always just download the free books from the Kindle store (at least I am reading something). 


Now for the questions from Beverley:

Why did you start your blog?
I started it once I made the decision to move to Germany as a way to keep my friends and family updated.

What is the best food you've ever had while travelling?
In 2012, Marco took me to Freiburg, which is where he used to study. While there, we went to a popular student restaurant called Brennessel. Now, this is a pretty cheap restaurant (they serve a huge serving of Spaghetti Bolognese for 1.80€ everyday from 18-19:30), but the pork chop I had there hit the right spot in an indescribable way. I still dream about the brown sauce that meat was smothered in...

If you could have a second home, where would it be and why?
This is maybe a boring answer, but I would have my second home in Chicago! Preferably one of those multi-million dollar brownstones in Lincoln Park.

If you were a ghost, which place would you haunt?
To this day, my mother still claims that a ghost haunted her childhood home. So, I think I would haunt my childhood home as well. Specifically, whoever is sleeping in my childhood bedroom (I always had nightmares about someone living in that closet).

Have you ever planned a trip just because a book/film was set there?
Not yet, but I have wanting to visit Bruges ever since watching the movie In Bruges.


And from Beth:

What is a blog post you wrote within the last year or two that you really like?
Probably the one about folding vs. crumpling toilet paper. It is such a mundane habit that you never even consider being culturally specific, but it turns out that it probably is! I loved hearing the responses from people about whether they fold or crumple too.

What type of blog post do you find the most difficult to write?
Anything personal or opinionated, which is why I often write more objective/factual posts about studying or living in Germany.

Is there a German TV show you enjoy watching?
Yes! My favorite German TV show is, without a doubt, Tatortreiniger. Don't mistake it with the long-running German crime show Tatort. Der Tatortreiniger is about a man who cleans crime scenes, where he meets pretty eccentric characters or gets himself into some precarious situations. It's hilarious. You should watch it (if you know German, that is, because I am not sure if subtitles are available).

Where are you on your journey of learning the language of the country in which you live?
If you were to look at my resume, you would see that I write "proficient" when describing my German fluency. I have passed the TestDaF, I am doing a German-language Master's program, and I speak German on a daily basis. Am I perfect? No. I still have a lot of room for improvement, but my German is good enough for all of that...

Which dialect (of any language) do you really enjoy listening to?
My favorite German dialect is probably Fränkisch, which is the dialect from the region in Bavaria known as Franken. I think the way they roll their "R" is so cute, especially when they try to speak Hochdeutsch, but retain the rolled "R." That's my favorite. Marco is probably disappointed that I am not answering Schwäbisch (his native dialect), but I think it sounds like a dialect for inbred farmers (I apologize in advance to all of Marco's family).


Now it is time for me to create 10 new questions and nominate new bloggers.

My questions:
1. What is the most unusual item you always have in your carry-on?
2. What is your favorite social media platform?
3. You are going on a weekend getaway 4 hours away. What do you prefer: driving, going by train, or flying?
4. What are you in the mood for: a relaxing beach vacation or a trip to a big city you have never visited before?
5. What is your favorite breakfast food?
6. Have you ever had a vacation destination not live up to your expectations?
7. What is your favorite non-US TV show?
8. You are going out for the evening with friends - what drink do you order?
9. What is your favorite souvenir that you bought on a trip?
10. And lastly, share your favorite inspirational quote!

My nominees:
Sarah at My German Life
San at The In Between is Mine
Caitlin at Life as an Ausländer

Monday, October 5, 2015

Flying Kohlrabi | Mistranslation Monday

While in the U.S. last month, the German boyfriend saw his very first hummingbird! Hummingbirds only live in the Americas, so this was something he was quite excited about. Since my parents have a hummingbird feeder, we continued to watch a group of hummingbirds fly all over the backyard for our entire two-week stay.

As we were watching the hummingbirds from my parent's patio one morning, I tried to strike up a German conversation with Marco by saying the German word for hummingbird.

"Kohlrabi!"


Kohlrabi or Kolibri
I think this is what Marco imagined when I said that.

After a confused pause, Marco replied, "I think you mean Kolibri."

Oh yeah. Kolibri. Although, had there been a flying cabbage drinking sugar water in my parent's backyard, then that would have a been a first for all of us.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

USA Haul #2

I came back from my two-week trip from the U.S. on Friday. So, naturally, I have another haul to share!

USA Haul


Before I left, I shared my American shopping list, which mentioned some of things I had planned to pick up during my trip. Well, I got all those things and then some.

Most importantly, I got clothes. As a graduate student that did her Bachelor's in the U.S., I do not have very much money. So, I very rarely go shopping for new clothes. I actually cannot remember the last time I bought any new clothing in Germany.

Since clothes are also a little cheaper in the U.S. (especially jeans), I went to town searching through the clearance racks of nearly every store within a 20-mile radius of my parent's house. Here are the clothes (including a pair of new shoes and a bag) I bought, all of which was discounted by a minimum of 30%. The most expensive item of clothing I bought was a pair of Calvin Klein jeans, which were on sale at the outlet mall for 40 dollars.

Shopping in the USA

The Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations were also really getting to me, so I told Marco that I really wanted to bring some kind of Thanksgiving decoration back for our apartment. Still not wanting to spend much money (and worrying about the weight of my suitcase), we grabbed a dish towel from TJ Maxx for three dollars. We are using it as a kind of tablecloth/centerpiece for our little dining room table.

Thanksgiving decorations

Next on the list is, of course, was Yankee Candles. Although I have figured out that I can buy Yankee Candles online in Germany, they are much cheaper in the U.S.

Marco and I got two big jar candles: Iced Spice Cake and Fall Wreath (the labels vary depending on what store you buy the candles from, but they are all the same candles).

Since they were crazy on sale, we also grabbed some scented wax for our tea light wax melter thing (you know what I mean). Each of those little plastic containers of wax were only two dollars!

Yankee candles in Germany

If you read my USA shopping list, then you also know that Marco and I love Crest Whitestrips. We don't do them very often, but they are not available in Germany, so we always like to pick them up (but only if they are on sale, of course).

Crest whitestrips

Lastly, candy. Most importantly, peanut butter candy. You can see I got Reese's, Reese's Pieces, and peanut butter M&M's (oh how I wish they sold these in Germany). I also got a bag of candy corn, Wild Berry Skittles (the best kind of Skittles), Red Vines, and a Butterfinger.

American candy in Germany

Let's hope I can make this pile of candy last more than 2 weeks (after just 5 days, I have already opened a bag of peanut butter M&M's, the Reese's Pieces, and the Skittles - oh, and I already ate the entire bag of candy corn).
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