Sadly this is this last entry from me here in Germany. I have actually just written to the coordinators at Swinburne to see whether I can extend my stay for an extra semester, I am having the time of my life here both academically and socially... And subsequently am not ready to come home yet!
So it is progressively getting colder and colder here in Europe. Two weeks ago we had the first snow in Mainz. It was a downpour on a Sunday night and I was coming back from Ice Skating with a couple of friends and before I knew it we were taking off our skates in the snow! The next day was even nicer, as everything was still covered in snow. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that by January, I will be somewhat sick of snow! It's apparent that winter is here because it now gets dark around 4:30pm, which isn't really a bad thing, it's actually quite cosy and makes the city feel more alive at night.
As I said last time, the city is getting ready for Christmas and it's everywhere! I even took a trip into Frankfurt a couple of weeks ago to see an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and the Christmas feeling was even bigger there! It's so cute, there are these mini traditional houses all set up in strange formations selling everything from glassware to food to jewellery! Mainz is a relatively small town, but our Christmas Market (as I mentioned last time) is in full force and is a lot of fun, it's even more stunning at night when all the millions of lights are illuminated. Together with some delicious food, sweets and warm (Glühwein) it's a really great experience.
Uni is getting more hectic, even though the German semester finishes at the end of January. One of my classes requires me to understand how to do screen printing, so I have been undertaking a workshop every week learning all the different techniques, which has also been a really fun thing to do. We finished our last session last week so I am now able to use the workshop independently. This is one of the best things about the FH in Mainz, the facilities and opportunities that we are offered are endless, and all the Professors are really helpful. Another thing I have been noticing is how during class when people present their ideas, the shear difference in style and process is really interesting, diverse and educating.
I have been told that my German has improved immensely and I have not even noticed! However, I feel this is because I am totally submerged in the language and have to cope sometimes in situations where an English option is not possible. Like one of my Professors doesn't speak a word of English. At the same time I am stumbling on some common English to German and German to English translations that can be very amusing for both sides!
This experience has been something I will never ever regret. You begin to realise how important this experience can be for a person as I have witnessed this personally and by other students on exchange.
I'm off to start my German oral presentation, which is one part of what we get assessed on in our German class - something I never thought I would be doing, so it's quite scary.
It's been great for me to share my experiences here and I hope it was somewhat interesting for you guys and gave you some insight into what a Swinburne exchange experience can be like.
Fröliche Weihnachten und Prosit Neujahr!!
(Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)