This week's blog is offered by Jennifer Rogers, who has been here since February, an exchange student from the University at South Dakota. Jennifer is taking courses in English here at the university of Oldenburg.
Commentary and interaction will be welcome...
April 23, 2007, Oldenburg, Oldenburg
Hi! My name is Jenny and I am an exchange student from the United States. I go to the University of South Dakota and am originally from Minnesota. Since I am still fairly new here, it’s been requested that I blog sometimes to share my thoughts on what’s new or different to me here.
Since school just started, I’d thought I’d talk about that. And I’m sure every German out there is now yelling at the computer “It’s a university! Not school!” Most of the German people I know have a problem whenever I call it “school,” but to me, it’s the same thing. You get up, go to class, go back home and do homework. From Kindergarten to the university, it’s the same thing. Anyway, the German university is quite a bit different than the ones in America.
First of all, the campus itself seems really…dirty. I can’t think of another way to describe it. I mean, there isn’t litter all over the place or anything, but it’s not the well-manicured landscape that I’m used to with American businesses. At this university, the grass isn’t mowed, there are weeds everywhere and half of university just has dirt, no grass. It just seems strange. Part of the university looks so run-down and scary that I’m almost afraid to go over there. American universities usually have very friendly-looking buildings, with a full lawn and gardens around them. The lawns are mowed at least once a week and probably have both pesticides and herbicides on them so that the only thing that will grow there is grass. It’s not that the university here is worse or anything; it’s just that the different perspectives are interesting.
Another thing that is different is that the students actually participate in class. If the professor asks a question, the students here answer right away. In America, or at least at the university I go to, no one answers. There is always an awkward silence after the professor asks a question. It’s considered “not cool” to answer questions, but I hate that silence and try to answer sometimes. I can’t always answer or I look like a suck-up. But here, I don’t have to worry about that because people actually do answer. It’s funny that in America, we pay for classes and then don’t participate and in Germany, where classes aren’t paid for, people take them much more seriously.
--Jennifer Rogers 21:54, 23 April 2007 (CEST)