Shugo Yamamoto, School of Environmental Science(2)
USP Student report from germany, September, 2010
Shugo Yamamoto, School of Environmental Science
In September the city of Augsburg sees the refreshing days of summer end and the cooler days of autumn approaching. Sommer Schluss Verkauf (Summer End Sale) signs can be seen in many of the shop windows trying to attract the eyes of every passing pedestrian. Many people agree that summer is the best season in Germany so it is sad that this season passes so quickly.
In summer the cold beer we have under the parasols of the cafes is so tasty, and the city is full of people sunbathing. This dry warmth and the blue skies make me feel alive. Residents can enjoy operas performed in open-air theaters as well as a number of other outdoor events. Germans treasure the time spent with their families, and it feels like they don't take holidays in order to work, but rather work in order to enjoy their holidays.
With the students disappearing to various places as soon as the final exams are over, the university becomes a quiet and calm place. At night the lights of a few random student dorm rooms are the only ones lit. During the summer holiday, most of the students return to their parents' homes or travel to various places around the globe. I also went sightseeing to Constance, Germany and Salzburg, Austria with some friends. Constance, which borders Switzerland, is the biggest city on the shores of Lake Constance. The city is beautiful and so is Lake Constance. The lake shimmers in the sun and is so large that you can't see the other side. It reminded me very much of Lake Biwa. Salzburg, Austria is known for the historic Altstadt or old town with its beautifully preserved baroque architecture. This area, which dates from the Middle Ages, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a must-see for anyone visiting this area. Salzburg is also the birthplace and childhood home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Travelers can visit the home of his youth and imagine what life was like for the young musician. Travelling from Germany to other EU countries is very easy. Germany has a very developed public transportation system. Trains, buses, subways and trams run regularly and are very easy to use. Unlike Japan, there are no ticket gates so boarding trains in Germany is very smooth and easy. Moreover, there are many types of discount tickets available, so with a little planning you can easily save a lot of money on transportation expenses.
Students Studying Japanese
At the University of Augsburg, the Japanese classes are divided into different courses based on the level of the students. There are about 20 students in each course. The courses meet for two lessons a week, in which the students study kanji, grammar, dialogues, and writing. The contents are well-balanced, and very practical for using Japanese in everyday life. Many of the students are interested in Japanese culture, while some other students enjoy the challenge of learning a new language. Every one of the students has their own unique reasons for learning Japanese. Students celebrate the end of the term by visiting a local Japanese restaurant. Despite their different reasons for studying Japanese, they all seemed to love Okonomiyaki.
Friends from the Orchestra
I am a member of the university's orchestra. In addition to the university students, we also have some awe-inspiring seniors who have played the violin for over 40 years already. Practice is held every Thursday for three hours, starting at 6 P.M. At the end of the semester there is a concert and the weekend before the concert, there is a training camp. People say that, "Music connects the world." I am living proof that this saying is true. The friends that I have made and the experiences that I have had through music will always be treasured in my heart. I believe music in itself is like a dialogue.
Facing the Next Semester
My stay as an exchange student is already half-finished. In the first six months, I had to feel my way around my school and life in Germany. Of course I made mistakes everyday but that is all part of the learning process. With that said, I have had so many wonderful experiences. Mostly, this was because of the help and advice I received from my friends and teachers. I really appreciate all that they have done for me. From this point on, I want to do my best with my studies and I am also looking forward to the challenges that will surely come my way.