Orientation/Housing the Homeless

In addition to Herbert’s first week of kindergarten, it was also my first week of school. It was just an orientation week, but it was still quite the week.

Monday started with a general welcome address to everyone in the Faculty for Forest and Environment. This is one of four faculties at the school, and is made up of 3 Master’s programs and 2 Bachelor’s programs. Much to the dismay of all the international students, this address was in German with a really terrible English translation. Given that 3.5 out of the 5 programs are taught in English, it really was probably more likely that there were more people that didn’t understand German than people that didn’t understand English. But anyway. It was a bonding experience for us.

After lunch we had an session, introducing us to the Global Change Management program. I got to meet the other people in my class. I had already met all the international students (there’s about 6 of us). Almost everyone else is from Berlin, with a few others from elsewhere is Germany.

Tuesday was a team building workshop that lasted all day. It was fun and a really good opportunity to get to know the other people in my program (there are about 20 of us). But it got pretty exhausting by the end of the day. It will be interesting to see how we all fair during 8 hour days all semester (more on that later).

Wednesday we registered for our electives and went through a hike through the forest. Thursday was the matriculation ceremony and party in the market square – free food and beer from the lion fountain. Finally Friday was a much needed day off! William and I took advantage of Herbert’s time at kindergarten to visit the city museum.

Through all of this, we have been crashing on the couch of a couple of students while we look for an apartment. We were not allowed to stay at our Airbnb past Monday, and they graciously have allowed two people they’ve never met and a 3-year-old to sleep in their living room. They are both wonderful with Herbert. We had hoped it would just be for a couple nights until we could get into somewhere, but it has turned into a whole week and they haven’t said anything. They just talk to us about the process, play with Herbert, and eat the food William offers them.

The apartment process has been much more complicated and drawn out than we expected. Although it took us 2 weeks to find an apartment last time, we were able to sign a lease and move in right away. This time, because we haven’t been able to find anything through a private party, it’s a long, drawn out process of paperwork. In theory, we will be signing a lease on an apartment on Monday. However, we don’t know for sure yet if we will be able to move in right away.

We currently only have WiFi when we are at school or the library, which is why our updates have been so sparse. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more updates up in the coming week! I have the week off, except for my German class on Wednesday. I’ll have a lot of free time and we’ll be trying to get as much done with the German bureaucracy as possible.


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