The more time I spend here, the more differences I pick up on between college in the US and Germany. One thing that I’ve noticed quite a few people do, not just the Germans, is use a pencil case for all their pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, and anything else the students think they might need. I remember using a pencil case back in elementary school, but I stopped using it around 5th grade or so. I see quite a few students use them here and although I can’t speak for the entire US, I don’t believe many American college students use them. At least not from what I’ve seen at Drexel and none of the American students here use them. One pronunciation difference that seems to stick out a lot is the way Germans pronounce the word “idea.” This doesn’t apply to all Germans because some of them can speak English very well, but I’ve noticed quite a few Germans pronounce “idea” like “i-deer.”
I’m not sure why and I asked one of my German roommates if trying to pronounce –ea at the end of a word is difficult for Germans, but he said it’s not that because they have some words that end that way. Now that I made him aware of it though, he keeps telling me he hears it himself and it sounds weird to him too. (He is one of the Germans I know with good English skills and pronounces “idea” correctly.) I’ve also taken the first of my German exams, which was an International Accounting midterm. Everyone was quite nervous about it since they weren’t sure what to expect from German exam, but after taking it I didn’t think it was as hard as everyone thought. There were no multiple choice questions, just four problems we had to work through.
The German exams really adhere to a rule where you have one point for each minute of the exam. Our midterm was one hour so the test had a total of 60 points. They say they do this to help you gauge how much time you should spend on each question. The more points a question is worth, the more time you should spend on a question and therefore the more information they expect you to give. I also had a Corporate Finance midterm this past Friday and it was quite a bit harder than the International Accounting exam.
However, the good thing about Corporate Financeis that the midterm will only count towards your grade if you do better on it than you do on the final. Otherwise, the midterm won’t count and they’ll only use your final exam. They are also making the midterm voluntary, but I figure it’s a great way to test how much you know and since it tests us on the easy stuff from the first part of the course, it’s a good way to help your final grade, assuming you do well on the exam.
I also went to Berlin this past weekend. There was an excursion hosted by VISUM, the international students group, but I was unable to go with them because of my Corporate Finance midterm. Luckily, I have a Eurail pass and was able to go to Berlin on my own. I met up with some of the people I knew who were in Berlin, so it worked out in the end. It was a really cool city, especially since the “Festival of Lights” was going on, so a bunch of the major monuments were lit up.