Hi, my name is Sam Huneke. I’m a resident of the state of Kansas, though people usually assume I’m from Connecticut. I’ll be studying mostly German literature and history at the University of Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university, this year.
I arrived in Germany two days ago and have been caught up in a whirlwind of dull bureaucratic activities. For instance, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to arrive in Europe at 5:00 AM, and then be expected to fill out housing contracts in triplicate three hours and two very difficult train rides later. As I said, I’m studying at the University of Heidelberg, which, for those of you who haven’t visited this lovely and very touristy city, is mostly divided into the Old City “campus(es)” and the newer campus Im Neuenheimer Feld, in the northwestern part of the city. I’ve been assigned housing in Europahaus II, which is right in the heart of the Old City. The location is ideal. I’m only a five minute walk away from the main University Library and Hegel used to live about two blocks away on the same street. Only a block away is the Gymnasium where I studied five summers ago. However, the idealness of the house is mitigated by the fact that it was last renovated when the Holy Roman Empire still existed.
The activities previously mentioned have been generally mundane and have not afforded any real human contact. They have, however, already shown the bureaucratic differences between how Americans and Germans operate. For instance, while the absence of my health insurance documentation from a packet sent me into hysteria, my contact person calmly explained to me that it was not yet necessary for me to have the document, so she had kept it in her office. It is also extremely difficult to use the internet here and another university official seemed to find no fault in telling me that it would take a week and a half for my university internet account to work.
I am hoping that things pick up tomorrow when intensive language courses begin.