A Day in the Life of Matthew Dodwell in Germany:
8:00 AM: Wake up. Have Vegemite on toast for breakfast (because you need to maintain some connection with Australia!). Shower. Get dressed. Look out the window… put on more layers.
9:00 AM: Skype with family and friends. Catch up with everything happening on the Sunshine Coast. Say goodnight to them, then get ready to start your day.
10:00 AM: Head over to the university. If you live on campus (in the Wohnheim) it’s a 30 second walk. German classes are more like Australian high school classes than uni lectures, so you sit with thirty or so German students and do a mixture of note-taking and hands-on activities. RheinAhrCampus has an excellent English program, so there are plenty of courses to do in English.
11:30 AM: Class is over, so it’s time to work on your internship. Cross the campus to get to your office in A-wing. Chat with the other interns. Spend a lot of time looking out the window (falling snow is beautiful). Make progress on the many projects you’ve been given charge over. Perhaps you update the International Office’s Facebook page, or maintain the exchange student blog. Maybe today you brainstorm ideas on advertising USC to the German students.
1:10 PM: Mittagspause (lunch) starts at 1:15, but the Mensa (or cafeteria) fills up quickly, so it’s best to get in early. For less than AUD$4, you can get a soup, salad, a main meal, some fruit, AND a desert. Meet up with friends (German and international).
2:15 PM: Mittagespause is over, so it’s time to brave the cold as you head back to the Wohnheim. You have a break before your next class, so you can spend the time planning your next weekend trip (Paris, anyone?), building a snowman, or catching up on Game of Thrones.
4:00 PM: It’s time for your German lesson! The International Office puts on German language courses for all the international students. Today you learn to introduce yourself to people, and you watch a move in German. No subtitles, and you manage to understand most of the film!
5:30 PM: Head back to the Wohnheim. Quickly do some homework for your German course with a few of the other international students (and maybe sneak some help from a couple of the German students) in the common room.
6:00 PM: There are so many options for dinner. Most nights you cook at home in your kitchenette, but tonight you’re going out to Cologne for dinner with friends. Remagen is only 45 minutes by train to the centre of Cologne, the nearest big city, and your student ID card makes the entire journey free.
6:45 PM: When you reach Cologne, the vibrant city is bustling despite the cold. Directly out of the train station is the enormous Kölner Dom (or the Cologne Cathedral) which stops you in your tracks every time. As in every city, there’s a wide selection of restaurants and bars. Where you go tonight is completely up to you.
8:30 PM: Wander through Cologne on your way back to the train station. As you walk along the Rhine, which is still bustling with people from the Brauhauses, you can see so many of the city’s landmarks lighting up the skyline. The Kölner Dom is visible from nearly everywhere in the city centre, so it’s always easy to find your way back to the train station.
9:15 PM: Once you make it back to Remagen, it’s time for bed. It’s been a jam-packed day, so you’re looking forward to getting some shut-eye.
9:20 PM: Your phone rings. It’s one of the Spanish exchange students. Do you want to go have dinner and some drinks with them? The night is still young, according to this siesta-taking Spaniard. You decide that you could just have a couple of beers with them…
12:00 AM: Time for bed. For real, this time.