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Yay! Information Letters & Passport April 12, 2009

Posted by austinabroad in Uncategorized.

Last week I received my passport as well as the first 2 letters of a series of information letters ASSE exchange students receive. Yay! My passport photo looked like shit, but who really cares, I am going to Germany! When I got home from school Wednesday I quickly checked the mail, like I do everyday, opened it up and noticed I had 2 letters labeled “Official Government Mail”. When I get official mail from the government (It’s happened before) it is usually just some shit like a sumer camp or some sort of world leaders conference, so I usually toss it along with the letters from universities. Today was different though, I was semi interested in the advertisements I thought I was getting. Opened it up, and bada bing it was my passport in one, and my birth certifcate in the other letter. It was a joyous day indeed.

Now about my information letters. ASSE sent me a large folder with the following letters inside it:

  • An index of the information letters I will be recieving.
  • Info letters 1 and 2.
  • A 6 page packet about the history of Germany as well as some trivial facts.
  • A “fact sheet” about Germany.

The Index lists about 20 topics with the info letter number of the page on which the topis will be discussed. Not much to say about an index, but I will post a picture of it.

Info letters 1 and 2 were not country specific, they pertained more to the exchange student experience. They dived into the topics of Culture Shock, Language, Food, School, Studying In A Foreign Language, Curriculum, School Credit, as well as School Life and Sports. In the Culture section they mentioned the importance of being open minded and realizing that German culture is not better nor worse, it is different. In the Language section they mentioned that how well I become in German is all up to me and my perseverance and enthusiasm. They recommended to begin studying your language right away, which made me happy because I have been studying for a month now. A few of their tips include buying language materials such as tapes, programs, textbooks, etc; as well as seeking out people or films that speak German. In the Food section they talked about the different foods of course (Again not country specific) as well as different eating times and habits. I am not to worried about food for the most part. Regardless of how delcious German food is, I’ve always believed in the saying “Eat or go hungry”. The School section wasn’t too interesting but did mention that schools abroad tend to “pamper” students less, which results in you becoming more self reliant. Which, according to ASSE, means they will hassle me less, which is what “I’ve always wanted, isn’t it?” Haha. I thought that was funny. In the section titled Studying In A Foreign Language they once again mention the importance of getting a head start on German. They also let you know that private German lessons will most likely be available, but arranging them will be up to me. In the section titled Curriculum they mention that ASSE exchange students are required to take academic classes (i.e. Geometry not wood shop) and that we must take classes in our country’s language and government. (I have to? Noo please dont make me learn about Germany and German. Why would I want to do that? Haha). In the Credit section they let you know that credit transferring is arranged by you, and nothing is gauranteed. In the School Social Life and Sports section they mention that schools themselves have less arranged activities, but many clubs outside of school exist, especially sports ones. They also talk about discos being abundant and open to teenagers. Party. Whoo. I just got up and danced a little bit. This concludes my boring analysis of the info letters.

The 6 page packet included trivial stuff like German demographics (You know, like the stuff in the sidebar of Wikipedia articles? Yeah that stuff) but then went in to a detailed history of Germany. Well kind of detailed. I have already read most of the stuff in this page so I glanced it over and decided it useless. I’ll read it as a refresher sometime haha.

The fact sheet was actually pretty interesting. it is short and to the point so I won’t sum it up.

Alright since you begged here are the scanned images.

Index – http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/3683/index001l.jpg

Info Letter 1 –

Front: http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1439/index002u.jpg

Back: http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/583/index003.jpg

Info Letter 2 –

Front: http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2960/index004.jpg

Back: http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/211/index005.jpg

Fact Sheet – These are interesting, if anything read these!

Front: http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/6206/index006.jpg

Back: http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8494/index007.jpg

Thats all volks.

– Austin Wäisänen



1. j_w_t_j - April 23, 2009

Hey Austin, it sounds like you are pretty well prepared for your exchange. Here is a website that I use to learn German if you don’t already know about it. http://www.livemocha.com

IT pretty much dominates.

2. Maxi - May 28, 2009

Hi Austin,

I found your blog on this nomination site and got pretty interested.

i’m german and have just completed my exchange year in texas (i’m flying back in about a week), which was awesome, but also very hard to endure most of the time. i had a quite bad case of culture shock, so nobody should ever underestimate this phenomena. they told me the same thing – it’s not better or worse, just different- about a year ago. i didn’t pay close attention to it, but i have to say that it’s a relevant quote. there is a lot that can be misunderstood between our two cultures and we don’t even mean to hurt each other. (keep in mind: the german idea of humor is sarcasm, and we can’t help to criticize things without being asked, we seem rude but that’s just the way we are)
i think it’s awesome you decided to do this exchange year. it really helps you to broaden your mind and get a different idea about what it means to be a citizen of the world. it also does a lot of stuff to you which you wouldn’t even think about at this point, but most importantly, you get to know yourself.
it sounds weird, but it actually does. =) it’s so exciting!

well, our history… i know, it’s quite complex.^^ the funny thing is that some parts of world history are seen differently in germany and the us, you may notice that, it’s a little confusing. i often was like “what the heck – i learned that differently!”
and my teachers in germany always make me analyze and draw conclusions and make connections. 😛

do you already know in what part of germany you’ll stay?

i wish you all the best with your adventure of being an exchange student. viel glück and have a great time! =)

yours, maxi

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