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Timothy in Germany

Österreich: Der Salzkammergut

The second part of my trip was a 3-day visit to the Salzkammergut region of Austria. It’s basically a chain of mountains and valleys dotted with lakes and forests and such. I had never heard of it before I planned this trip, but after googling pictures of it I decided I had to see it. I thought I would be burned out of museums and big-city life after Salzburg, so a quiet retreat to a small mountain town for some hiking would be appreciated.   That turned out to be […]

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Österreich: Salzburg

Writer Hermann Bahr once described the city of Salzburg as “Music transformed into stone.” As the birthplace of Mozart and the setting of the film The Sound of Music, it is a saying thrown around there a fair bit. I’m not sure I would have said it myself, but after exploring the city for 6 days I can see why others would. I went into this trip not knowing terribly much about Salzburg, not caring about Mozart at all, and having never seen the Sound of Music, and I still […]

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Kleinen Siege

It is very interesting to me how similar the language learning and cultural adaption process is to overcoming stuttering. The end goal – if there even is such a thing in either case; I would actually argue not – is so daunting that you can’t measure your progress against it. That way lies madness. So what you do is you set smaller goals for yourself and you work towards those, making new ones to replace ones you’ve achieved. Currently, I’m considering an interaction successful when I can A) never resort […]

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Das Abenteuer macht weiter

Just thought I’d take a break from my themed posts to write a general update. A lot has happened in the last two weeks, and it’s good to reflect and recap. First and foremost, we (the international students) have completed the three-week pre-session, and now have a three-week interim before the semester properly starts. My essay and presentation seemed to impress my Dozent, and I got an overall grade of 1 (as high as it gets, where 6 is the lowest grade). Naturally, this course is pass/fail for UMN students, […]

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Wohin ist das Wasser gegangen?

There are no water fountains here.   Seriously, the last time I saw one was in the Amsterdam airport. They’re not on the street, they’re not in the university, they’re not near bathrooms… and it’s not like German tap water is unsafe to drink or anything. It even tastes great. So what gives? In Freiburg they’ve literally diverted the Dreisam river into little canals, called Bächle, that run along half the streets in the Altstadt but it’s impossible to get a simple drink of water. Carrying a water bottle is […]

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Heidelberg: wie ein Märchen

On Sunday, a group of fellow international students and I decided to take a day trip to Heidelberg, a German city a ways north of Freiburg. We actually had the opportunity to go as part of a field trip through Uni Freiburg, but it was cheaper to buy our own bus tickets and go on our own (€20.50 round-trip; not bad at all!). We were very glad we did it that way, as it ended up being less restrictive.   Heidelberg is the city I visited the last time I […]

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Studium und Sprache

For our program, we actually arrived 6 weeks before the start of the German summer semester. The first 3 weeks are taken up by an intensive pre-session language course, then we have a 3-week break, then the semester begins. After an online placement test, we were sorted into small classes based on our proficiency level. It’s all very approximate, but higher-numbered classes are supposed to be higher-level. I’m in Deutsch 11, and have colleagues who are as low as 7 (though he really should be higher, from the sound of […]

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Die schönste Stadt

 The European aesthetic has always captivated me; cobblestone streets, tiny hole-in-the-wall shops that have been family-owned for generations, and centuries-old castles and cathedrals literally across the street from super-modern monoliths of glass and steel. There is simply nothing like this in America. You almost get whiplash just by crossing the street, like you’re suddenly traveling in time. The main shopping streets in the Altstadt are incredible to me. There aren’t many cars (and in some streets no cars), so people walk all over the street, but tram lines crisscross the […]

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Das Abenteuer fängt an!

The adventure begins! After a slow start at MSP Airport my travels went without a hitch or delay. The 8-hour transatlantic flight was actually rather pleasant, all things considered. One of the complementary movies one could watch on the plane was Mad Max: Fury Road, which I saw for the first time and enjoyed heartily. They were also very diligent with supplying us with food and drink, the former of which was surprisingly tasty and filling. The worst part by far was having to sit down without being able to […]

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Pre-Departure

Well, this certainly came up quickly. I was accepted to the University Study in Freiburg study abroad program in August 2016, and had been gathering materials for the application since May or June. And now I leave for Germany on Sunday the 26th. The reading materiel I’ve been given for class posits that the study abroad experience actually begins before you arrive, while preparing, so I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts. This won’t be terribly eloquent, I’m afraid; I’m too frazzled to write that way right […]

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Stuttering 101

This is a topic that is at once very difficult and very easy for me to talk about, for a plethora of reasons. Many of you are already aware that I am a stutterer, or have at least noted that my speech patterns are a bit unusual. Stuttering is something that has dramatically shaped my life from childhood. As a kid and a teenager it neutered my self-confidence and social skills and drove me to become a near-total hermit for most of my teens, and has taken over six years […]

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Myself and I

Hey folks. If you are reading this then chances are you already know me, but just in case you don’t: My name is Timothy. I was spurred to start blogging in order to chronicle my upcoming adventures in Germany, but I also intend to use this blog to write down my thoughts on other topics. I am a person who stutters, a person who has dramatically (and intentionally!) changed the course of his life at least twice, a massive nerd, an artist, and someone who likes to pretend to be […]

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