I’m feeling rather detached. I’ve been expecting this trip for so long and told so many people that it seems like it’ll be easy to just pack up and move, so in some sense, in my mind I’m already there. On the other hand, I really know only the basics of what to expect, so it seems like I’m speeding forward into nothing. The program starts with a month-long orientation before regular university classes even begin, which includes German classes and cultural excursions, and also some amount of free time. I’ll probably spend it getting settled into my dorm and buying things I need. The dorm assignments are random (you choose a dorm type, but the building is chosen for you), but all the rooms are single rooms and the only difference between the dorm types is that one has a shared bathroom and kitchen, and the other has completely private facilities. I chose the shared option, simply because I know it’ll be good to see people on a daily basis and not feel like I’m the only person in this segment of the world. The thing I’m worried about most right now is forgetting to pack something important, so I’m taking extra care to double check everything.
The only other thing I can do at this point to prepare is spend more time with the language, which I’ve done by listening to radio, reading, and watching movies. My level in German so far is a B1 (first half of intermediate). I’m at the point where I can understand most of what’s on regular German radio and express myself with more or less regular sentences, but I think there’s a deeper level you have to tap through to in order to reach fluency (I’ll write more on that later). For now, my plan is to get to a point where I can take a regular university class in German and take at least my one remaining philosophy elective in German during my second semester. That will leave just two core classes at UF to complete my major.
Hope everything in Gainesville is going well. I’ll probably start reading the online campus newspapers for a change, to keep up with things. I’m also bringing a few favorite issues of The Crocodile with me to show people if I get the chance. That should be a funny experience. Plus, laughter breaks the ice. 🙂