Ashley in Germany

Ashley is a junior majoring in flute performance in Meadows School of the Arts and environmental studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. During summer 2012, she is participating in SMU-in-Germany.

First day of class, and an SMU alum in Germany

Today was the first day of classes!  A few of us woke up early to run in the park this morning at 8 a.m.  The sun rises quite early here, so I’m usually awake around 6:30 a.m. (which is really strange).  The weather is still gorgeous, and after running we all showered and grabbed breakfast at the bakery.  We ran into an SMU graduate, David Yi, who is currently pursuing his graduate’s degree in conducting at the Bauhaus University! He chatted with us over breakfast about our classes and the best places to eat.

Enjoying bratwursts

I had my cultural formations class from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in which we covered historical facts about German nationalism (pre-Germany).  We got out 15 minutes early to grab lunch so Tyler, Lisa and I ran over to the Platz to grab bratwursts, which were pretty delicious!  Conducting class was 1-3 p.m., and I thoroughly enjoyed today’s lesson.  Time to practice conducting stance and transposition!

After classes, I headed to the park with Tyler, Lisa and Christianne to enjoy the weather and do some reading for class.  When we got there, we found plenty of other students who had the same idea!  However, we could only stay for about an hour because we then had a 2-hour walking tour of Weimar.

A beautiful garden on our tour

The tour was actually really interesting. This small town was critical to Germany’s social and political development as a whole.  After grabbing dinner with my classmates, I came back to the apartment to read and prepare for another day of classes.

I hear the tutors are taking us to a neighboring city via train tomorrow after we get out of classes. I’m pretty excited for our activities, and this weekend we are traveling to Berlin for the weekend.  I’ve actually started to pick up on common phrases  and I can count up to 12 in German! I’ll keep working on it.

Tschüss! (Bye!)

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Getting to know Weimar

In Frankfurt with Tyler

Landed in Frankfurt: After arriving in Frankfurt, we took a brief stroll around the area.  Since it was evening, the food options were kind of limited, so we ended up purchasing pastries from a bakery (quite delicious!).  It’s currently a bit on the chilly side, and the last time we were outside it was drizzling a bit.  We went to bed and woke up early to get to the train station.  The train ride was about 2 and a half hours, but it was quite beautiful and scenic.

We’ve arrived: After arriving in Weimar, our student tutor friends came and picked us up and showed us our apartments. I was actually pretty impressed with how nice they are! My apartment has  3 bedrooms, 1 bath, and 1 kitchen.  Each room has 2 beds, a dresser/wardrobe closet, a desk and beautiful windows.

After getting situated, we all met in the Theatre Plaza for a walking tour of Weimar.  It was about 2 hours, and the tutors showed us the shopping areas/grocery stores and the plazas. We ended up eating at a Turkish/German restaurant, which was absolutely delicious. I had a minced meat pastry, which the tutor recommended to me.  However, I was so tired that I literally dozed off a couple times at the dinner table, so June (one of the student tutors) walked me back to the apartment and I showered and went to bed early.

With my roommate in Weimar

This morning, my roommate Gina and I woke up around 9:30 am and headed out to the Back Factory Bakery, which was literally a minute walk from our apartment. We sat and enjoyed our pastries and coffees for a couple of hours, and then explored the open market, a bookstore, and grabbed lunch on the way back to our apartment.  We now have some downtime until 5 pm, when we are going out with the tutors again. Tomorrow is going to be a great day as well, as we have our orientation for the university.

I’m constantly in awe of the beauty of Weimar.  Everything is so beautiful – the buildings, the trees, the weather, everything!  I’ve been told that the pace of life is slower and more enjoyable here, and it is absolutely true. People are very friendly, and they aren’t pushy or in a hurry to get anywhere.  I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, and I can’t wait to spend the next 5 weeks here! In the meantime, I’m trying to learn a bit of German.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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