Hallo Alles! 🙂
I am on my THIRD week here in Graz, and its starting to feel like I’m at home instead of in a foreign country. The last time I updated I talked about the first couple of days here in Graz, but now a lot of the newness is wearing off. I think that having to do any mundane tasks (i.e. filling out paperwork, going to meetings, etc.) will remind anyone that the time to get serious is approaching. The first couple of days I felt like a tourist, but this week I have felt like I am transforming more into a part of the society here. For this blog, I decided to talk about all of the various processes (school, housing stuff, etc.) that make me feel like a resident in Graz as opposed to a tourist.
1.) Public Transport
While bikes are very popular here in Graz, I’ve been hesitant to purchase one. The roads in the morning are pretty chaotic, and with buses, trams, cars, and other bikes, it is quite intimidating, not to mention I have poor peripheral vision. So I’ve decided to stick with a bus/tram card. The process to obtain things here is very complex. My initial thought was that I could go to a transport office and tell them I wanted to buy a card for so many months, and then that would be the end of that (I was wrong). In Graz, I’ve realized that there are many middle men, and the steps that need to be taken aren’t always clear. In order to secure a bus card for a 5-month period I had to make various emails, fill out various forms, and then endlich (finally!) I got a card for the bus/tram for 109 euros (SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS)! Obtaining the bus card here for that amount of time made me realize that I would be in Graz for quite some time.
2.) Housing Issues:
There is nothing better than having to deal with apartment issues *sarcasm intended*. I’m not at a fancy hotel where I could switch rooms if something inconvenient happens, no, I’m at my apartment, and unfortunately I have to deal with the fact that the water in my toilet is constantly running (I had no clue what was wrong). Luckily my roommate was able to get the water to stop, and I was able to put in a maintenance request in the office. So around 3pm I hear my doorbell go off, and it’s the mechanic here to help. “Grüß Gott! Haben Sie ein Problem mit ihren Badezimmer?” Immediately I remember, that “oh yeah, this conversations will have to be in German..” So I answer, “Ja, I have a problem with my bathroom.” I point to the bathroom and then he asks me the words that many students dread: Can you Explain? How can I explain what’s wrong with my bathroom toilet? I can’t even explain that in English. Then I reply “Die Toilette… sie ist… kaputt.. uhh das Wasser…” At this point I’ve accidentally told the man that my entire toilet is broken, and his eyes light up. Through a series of miscommunication the man finally fixes the toilet (at least I think it’s fixed, I guess we’ll see) and he leaves. Having to deal with the menace that is housing issues makes me realize that this apartment is just as much mine as it is my roommates. Graz is my home now, and I live here and will have to deal with any issues that arise.
3.) Registering for Classes:
Registering for classes is much more difficult than it is a Tech. At Tech you research what classes you want to take, and then you meet with your adviser, and it’s done within a couple of minutes of being in their office. Here in Graz it’s completely different. Being at such a large university (second largest in Austria with 30,000 students!) makes the process much more intricate. Here in Graz we had to go through several meetings telling us how to register, and it took 3 days for us to get all of the information we needed. Finally, I go on the computer and I’m on the waiting list for every single class I sign up for (luckily this is no cause for alarm, international students get priority for class selection). Instead of meeting with one adviser students are encouraged to meet with every single adviser for the subject that their class is in. So for example, if I took a history course I’d have to go to the head history professor and talk about if the class is a good fit for me, and so on. It’s very different, and the classes here often meet once a week for roughly 2-3 hours. Registering for classes made me realize that it’s time to get back to business and remember that the reason I came here was to learn while exploring.
This week has made me feel more like a resident than a tourist, but I am really starting to love my new home. There is still so much to explore, but it’s nice falling into a routine and getting a sense of home when I’m in my room. Soon classes will begin and I’ll be able to tell you all about that as well. Now the weekend is approaching and I’ve got some pretty exciting plans! I’ll be going to Zagreb, Croatia for the weekend and I’ll tell you all about traveling within Europe and the costs!
To conclude I’ll leave you with some photos from this past week, bis später! 🙂