Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ich kann Deutsch!! - 17 June 2011

Heute beginnen wir unseren Deutschkurs an der Universität Duisburg-Essen!

This morning the Wanheimmer Kanu-Club is preparing for the arrival of a number of tour- and student groups over the weekend. Because of all the fuss, Mike, who was invited to join our German class as a "thank you" for hosting B.E.S.T. students, muss miss our first lesson. Frau Heusner dropped us off at campus instead.

Dr. Peter Charmoni - B.E.S.T. Director
Malte was looking sharp in a suit today because his boss Dr. Charmoni is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the creation of his university chair.  The Mercator School of Management is to host a big conference where it will announce the creation of some new Master´s track in MIS.  In the evening it will conclude the conference with a garden barbecue to which the B.E.S.T. students are invited.

Before he had to run off to the conference, Malte walked us to the B.E.S.T. classroom and introduced us to our German instructor Beatrix Fehse with whom we were to spend the rest of the day. Professor Fehse led us through some introductory exercises and had us practice some basic phrases and pronunciation.  Over the course of the day, we worked on the alphabet (which contains a few extra letters like Ä, Ö, Ü, und ß), foods, asking questions, and the difference between formal and informal tenses. With four years of college German under my belt I was well past this level, but a refresher is always nice.  I´m the only B.E.S.T. student this year with any formal German language training, so at least the others got something out of today.  I was able to help Prof. Fehse a bit by taking over the lesson on important questions (z.B. Wo ist die Toilette?) when she needed to run up to her office.  We paused for lunch and then continued with our lesson until 4:15.

During our 90 minute break before the barbecue, I joined the three Asian students and headed downtown.  They were headed to the mall while I was intent on exploring the neighborhood south of König-Heinrich-Platz and possibly finding the music store I´d heard about the day before.  Another rainstorm came up and forced me to duck into another shop, but I eventually found the guitar store. I was just having a look around, but I couldn´t help but overhear a conversation between the shop owner and a young woman.   The woman looked like she could have been a folksinger, but from what I could understand, she was looking for a new guitar to play "Deathmetalmusik". That made my day!

Around 6:00 we all made our way through the rain back to the university for the barbecue at the Mercator House.  Mian Mian, Kit Ying, Meruyert and I were a little early, but we had some snacks while waiting for Malte and Jörn.  When they arrived, we had some snacks and toyed with a piano in the corner.  Though we each only half knew the words, Mian Mian and I eked out a ragtime version of "You Are My Sunshine" which she´d learned back in China.

B.E.S.T. Students with Jörn Benzinger at right.
When all the students and faculty had gathered, Dr. Charmoni was awarded a certificate for the anniversary of his chair while a student was congratulated for receiving his PhD.  The formalities out of the way, we set into a dinner of potato salad and bratwurst and pork cutlets with lots of mustard and a bbq-flavored ketchup, in the German fashion.  We sat around discussing American TV shows of all things.  Malte and Jörn have both studied in the U.S. and are familiar with a variety of shows. Malte likes Big Bang Theory and both enjoy the English-version of Family Guy.  Each had heard the German-dubbed version and disliked it because the jokes didn´t translate well.  However, when they discovered the English-version during their time abroad, they became fans!

Kit Ying and Mian Mian at the tram stop.
Around 9:30 the women wanted to return to the Kanu-Club, so I offered to walk back with them.  I´m glad I did, because the total waiting time for our two trams was nearly an hour and would have been longer if we stayed out later. At least the trains here run 24-7; when I worked in Washington, D.C. last summer the trains would usually stop around midnight. The others returned a few hours later after a similar long wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment