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What Actually Happens When I Try to “Study”

  A tribute to what my mind and I are going through when I am at home, trying to get things done and study. 1. Alright, international relations theory it is today. Let’s start reading this 30 page text. (reads one paragraph)   2. Wait a minute…I am still supposed to download all the readings from BlackBoard before they are taken down for good. (downloads all the readings for classes, curses the German copyright system)…

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What is Education in University?

The first semester is officially over but now that I think about it, I don’t really know if I have learned anything entirely new. I am not so sure about whether there has ever been a moment when I said to myself: “Wow, there is no way I would have known this or that about the German government system or the Cold War or research methodology. had I not been in university.”…

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10 Signs You Study at a Leftist University

I assume that when you study political science, you might naturally expect there to be a certain tendency towards political ideologies among your fellow students. I began the semester at the Freie Universität Berlin with the same idea but initially I believed to find a few scattered groups here and there, nothing too concentrated. There should be quite some diversity in terms of political believes in a student body made of 37000 souls, right?…

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Lecture Hall Noise: Concerto Nr. 1 in E Major

Some scattered thoughts on all the things you can hear inside a lecture hall instead for the actual lecture: Some people type so vigorously on their laptops, you might think their lives depend on it. Maybe in a way they do. Two more weeks until finals. While the crowd has just now managed to get seated, another group comes in (10 minutes late) like some animals who are finally let out to run…

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Learning German? Read These Books!

A friend of mine who has embarked on the tedious yet adventurous journey of learning German, has asked me whether I could recommend any German books to read. Dumbstruck as usual whenever someone asks me to recommend something, I immediately forgot about any book I had ever seen or read in my whole life and started staring aimlessly into space. What is a book and what am I supposed to do with…

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End of Term Thoughts

It’s been three hours since I have been sitting inside the Philological library of my university (we lovingly call it “the brain” because of its shape) and I can’t believe that I have another two hours until my French seminar, which I actually can’t afford not to attend and therefore don’t have time to go back home in between. Looking at the bright side of things, my desperation may have been bigger…

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The Cost of Studying in Germany

Over the last couple of months, I have come across various articles shared on my social media networks, declaring (almost festively) that attending university in Germany is free for national and international students alike. Now that I have some time as a university student behind me, I decided to write about the extent to which studying in Germany is really free. Let me tell you right away that I can’t actually name…

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All That Glitters is not Gold: On Being a College Student in Berlin

After I spent the entire summer worrying about the completeness of my application documents and about whether or not my already quite high GPA would be high enough to get me into Political Science, I now have about a month of classes behind me. It might still be a bit early to talk about any conclusions at this point but if there is one thing I learned so far, then it’s that…

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How to Get Your Hands on Books For Less: A Guide for Germany Newcomers

While I am reading what seems like an endless amount of books at once, jumping from Anthony Doerr, to James Barr to Noam Chomsky to Erich Maria Remarque and what else I have on my bedside table, I thought I should dedicate a post to the topic of books, now that it has been quite a literary week for me. In Berlin books are quite a luxury, especially for bookworms who at…

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What Natives Can Learn From Exchange Students

Today is the day before one of our exams. As usual, even at university age, many students start losing their minds, ask last minute questions and decide to do all night shifts, surviving on Red Bull, coffee and whatever else they can think of. Given the fact that my German has become pretty good after 13 years of being in Germany, the one or the other international student might think that I…

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