Monday, September 12, 2005

1st day in uni

So my lectures started on September 12th already but the first week in the Portuguese semester is mostly about presenting the content and examination methods of the class (they call it „disciplina“= discipline or „cadeira“=chair) – that is... if the professor shows up at all. The first lecture I visited was 'Industrial Computation', a 5th year Mechanics course in automation. There were few and „old“ students. It was a bit difficult to follow the professor b/c he was talking very very quickly but I could note some things down and after his introduction I just walked up to him and presented myself as an ERASMUS exchange student. He was really kind and having said that I never had automation courses in Germany he explained to me which kind of „cadeiras“ the students normally have taken before being in the 'Industrial Computation' class. He advised me to have a look at 'Logic Systems'. The second lecture was 'Operational Investigation'. There were three docents: a woman and two men who showed us a power point presentation on what we had to expect. The woman was highly motivated. We'd have to hand in homeworks that make part of the grade and that involve lots of text!! Now this is the first engineering class that involves so much text – and on top of that: in Portuguese. We started to investigate on a problem called „Rio Negro“ (Black River) and I was lucky to have a nice Portuguese guy at my side who served as my live dictionary. A guy 3 seats from him was always looking at me in a curious way. After the lesson was over I went to talk to the lady to tell her that she should expect flawed Portuguese in my homework. She said that having attended the German school and having finished there her 'Abitur' (German „HS“ degree afyer 13 yrs) German was her 2nd language and that I could also hand in the homework in German so that my grade wouldn't be dependent on my language skills. The guy who had looked at me so curiously before seemed to have been the last student in the auditorium because when the lady asked what my first language was and I answered „German“ I heard him say „Oh. Sprechen Sie Deutsch?“ (= Do you speak German). He turned out to be half-German-half-Portuguese and was very delighted to have found someone with whom he could talk German. After the class we went to the Cafeteria together and chatted a bit. For the rest of the week he should offer me his help several times. I spent most of my time w/ him, he would drive me home or ask me what I'd like to do, take me to his favourite café, help me get a Portuguese bank account, take me to his g/f's house (she's from Ecuador) and on the weekend take me to his g/f's mother's house on the countryside where they produce wine.


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