The second week here in Munich was filled with all kinds of fun as Junior Year in Munich began preparing us for success at the LMU Munich!
When newcomers come to German or Austrian cities (and I’m sure this is applicable for other countries as well) they must register at what is known as the Kreisverwaltungsreferat or District Station. This is the first step to becoming a proper resident in a German city, and can be quite frustrating and scary if you’re not prepared. Luckily, we were given thorough directions before proceeding, and everything went smoothly. I am finally an official resident of Munich:
On Tuesday we got a tour of the university. The Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet Muenchen is the largest university in all of Germany, with over 50,000 students (including about 8,000 international students). A complicated web of Fakultäten make it hard to navigate in the beginning months for American students. Also unlike my home university, the LMU has buildings all throughout the city of Munich, rather than in a contained location. A map surely comes in handy. A little bit of history about the LMU from the university´s website:
“When Duke Ludwig the Wealthy of Bavaria-Landshut founded Bavaria’s first university with a papal concession in 1472, no one could imagine that over the next five hundred years it would move twice and emerge as one of the largest universities in Germany, providing some of the country’s strongest research. The university began with four faculties in Ingolstadt, where it witnessed the flowering of German humanism and played a major role in the Counter-Reformation. The move to Landshut saw the growing influence of the Enlightenment on the university. The second move, this time to the heart of the royal capital Munich, brought an expansion of the faculties and a huge advance in the sciences. Today LMU Munich has matured into one of the world’s leading international universities, fully competitive with the other major institutions of higher learning and research. It continues to build on its distinct identity and its core skills in research and instruction in order to confront both academic challenges and the hugely complex demands of our changing world.”
Scholl and “The White Rose”
The LMU is also widely known for its role in German resistance against the Nazis. The Scholl family, (now known worldwide from the film “Sophie Scholl”) formed the “The White Rose” group here, which protested heavily against the Nazis in Munich, which was then the capital of National Socialism. They paid the heaviest price, their lives, but their courage is continually kept alive through an exhibit in the main building of the LMU, various momuments throughout Munich, and the naming of important streets.
Wednesday we got a fantastic tour of the Stadtbibliothek, also known as the Stabi. This tour was very helpful because it showed us how easily it is nowadays to check out books from Munich´s libraries. The Stabi was traditionally only open to professors and other people of importance, but is now open to the public, students, and visitors. The LMU library system is an extensive network of libraries, and, just like the university buildings, are scattered all over Munich. Rather than all types of books being centrally located, the libraries are separated into Fakultäten – so Physik, Naturwissenschaft, and Mathematik materials are in a different location that Sprachwissenschaft, Linguistik, and Literatur. Given the German system, this makes a lot of sense – since students, for the most part, major in related disciplines.
Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang
In order to study at a German university, students must exhibit proficiency in the German language – grammatically, through writing, listening, and speaking. Junior Year in Munich administered an Einstufungstest (similar to the DSH-Test), which is graded according the European levels of language acquistion – A1 indicating a beginning speaker through C2, a native speaker. Students must typically obtain a B2 or higher, but as Junior Year in Munich offers extensive language courses and is program long affiliated directly with the LMU (as supposed to an exchange program), students with a B1 interested in taking courses in German at the LMU may do so with permission.
It was a stressful day for all of us. About four hours we sat taking the test! I have been blessed to come to Germany several times, and have also had excellent preparation for such rigorous study at Webster University, so I received a C1 on this test. A few of us went out to eat at a nearby restaurant to celebrate just being done with it and to welcome the weekend! Next week we start the real thing…