Monday, September 10, 2012

Arrival in Germany

August 14, 2012
Greetings from Konstanz, Germany!

I haven't had the opportunity to post since arriving, due to a mixture of
internet inaccesiblility and a very full program schedule. By the time we
finish our academics and program for the day, I honestly barely have enough
time to eat and only enough energy to shower before collapsing in an
exhausted heap upon my bed. It's impossible to even take proper time to do
journal research for our projects or study for the looming exam ahead.

Other than the over packed schedule, things are positively wonderful here.
We spent the first 5 nights in a hostel, taking  bus to school and back.
Public transportation is very wonderful here, and again I question why such
has not been improved in America. It's beautiful here, the lake is massive
and during the evening, when the sun is at just the right angle, you can
clearly see the alps and even the snowcaps atop them. It's quite the sight
while wading through the relatively warm water of the lake amongst families
and bikini wearing individuals swimming and eating icecream. The weather
can not seem to make up it's mind though. Upon our arrival, I felt like I
had walked into late september with not any sort of proper clothing. I
developed a cold during the first frigid and rainy days, however, as if
someone flipped a switch, it was suddenly quite hot and swimming weather.
Since then, the days have been jumping around every season, sometimes with
an entire year's worth of weather cycling over the course of a single day.
I've made a note to always carry a sweater and a rain jacket, and wear long
pants when convenient.

The academics are wonderful, we have one German student amongst our total
of 8 Rutgers students. We're each in groups of 3 working on research
projects, and every morning from 8:30-10 we have lecture. I am in a group
working on fish populations and their parasites, we've dissected about 200
fish thus far as well as counted two different types of parasites. It seems
our data is proving to support our hypothesis, as well as bring forth an
abundance of more questions. It's incredibly intriguing and makes the long
hours in the lab very worth it. The lecture subject material is fascinating
as well, the lectures are crammed with information, as the professors only
give one lecture each and try to fill it with as much introductory and
background on the topic as they can ft. I've learned a lot, even if the
pace is a bit overwhelming and I need to read over the lectures more than I
am used to. The professors, lecturers and grad students here are all very
fantastic and brilliant, we truly are catered to here. We are planning to
buy a massive present in thanks.

Constance itself is beautiful, and I've learned enough German to get by.
We've gone on countless excursions: canoeing down the Rhine, Climbing the
Alps and having a plant walk, visiting many towns and places, going to
beach, taking soil samples from a boat, catching and dissecting fish,
visiting the main water treatment plant and many, many more things. Again,
I truly have learned a lot and it has been great here thus far.

I will post more episodic things after the exam for this class, which will elaborate on my ventures in the last week. A bit delayed, but I will attempt to go in order!

Bis Bald!

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