Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

Orientation in Köln

Phew first day of school starts Wednesday so I’m using this weekend as a catch up on sleep before I get basically none…

Have been getting used to Würzburg since I got here last week. Pretty much know the downtown area now, well at least I can get myself around. Still no Orlando Bloom sightings though the Residenz is all covered with trucks and gates and such so that means theyre filming soon. I had orientation in Köln (Cologne) from Monday-Thursday. It was for all the American teaching assistants, and some of the British ones as well. Germany has an average of about 1000 foreign language teaching assistants per year, only 140 from the US and about double that from the UK. We stayed in a small retreat-like center outside of the town and got boatloads of information thrown at us and I’m now very overwhelmed about everything I have to do, in German. Get a visa, open a bank account, get all this paperwork done, find an apartment. And I thought buying a phone was an accomplishment.

The famous church in Cologne

I had some time to kill when I got into Cologne and then again before I went out so I walked around a little bit. The church is HUGE (yes dad, I even went in it) and there are tons of stores to shop in. On the bridge above the Rhine river there are tons of locks locked to the gates. It was explained to me as some “Romeo and Juliet” thing. Couples write their names on the locks (the really nice ones have them engraved) and lock them onto the bridge signifying their love. It looked pretty cool.

Orientation wasn’t anything too special, but it was nice to get to know some of the other teaching assistants here and I figure we can all mooch off each other when we want to go places in Germany (very similar to the BC-hostel situation abroad). We did get to practice team teaching, and it turns out I’m not supposed to be solely responsible for a classroom so that makes me feel a lot better. There were 4 former teaching assistants there who helped answer our questions and give us idea of extra ways to make money (tutor).

Before I left for orientation, I’ve been walking through Würzburg a lot and was given a tour of the Residenz by my “mentor-teacher” ‘s husband. It’s “Betreuungsleherin” in German so not exactly simple to translate. Her husband was extremely knowledgeable and I must have missed what he does because there’s no way an average citizen would have the depth of knowledge that he did about the art and history. The city was bombed in WWII two weeks before the war ended, and the roof of the Residenz was destroyed and almost all of the rooms had to be restored. Except for this one massive mural on the main ceiling which shows each of the four (then-discovered) continents personified. Oh and the Residenz was modeled after Versailles but it’s much smaller and only has one room of mirrors instead of a hall. I guess it looks enough like Versailles since they’re using it as a French castle in the 3 Musketeers

And there are really nice (but small) French gardens in the back. I’ve been there a few times since there’s a park behind them where I “run” (see: walk somewhat quickly)

Another favorite spot I’ve found is along the Main river. Not on the bridge, which is decked with I believe statues of 12 different saints (St. Kilian is their favorite. More history) but on a walkway below it. So looking back on this blog entry my life looks pretty boring up til now but I’m sure it’ll get more exciting once school starts (I hope). If anyone wants to come visit I’m serious please do. This weekend is actually a street-dancing festival as well as the Würzburg Hofbräu festival so I’ll try and check those out.

Bridge and Residenz


September 11, 2010 Posted by | Germany | , , , , | 1 Comment