Welcome to the University of Mannheim!

University of Mannheim, just across the street!

August 30

It’s finally Welcome Week at the University of Mannheim! I have been looking forward to this week, where I can meet students from all parts of the world- and it’s all online. It’s definitely going to be more difficult to meet other students this way, but perhaps next week when classes begins, I will be able to make new friends! Today, there’s nothing going on, but how about some exploring on the campus today?

I arrive at the university, let’s see if I can learn more about receiving my ecUM. The ecUM is a student card with multiple uses such as buying the digital semester ticket for transportation. Without it, transportation costs can add up to a lot! Thankfully, I am able to use some of the Gilman Scholarship funds until I get the semester ticket. I can also make cashless payments with the ecUM at the canteen, cafeteria EO and Café Soleil. Speaking of cafeterias, I can’t wait to visit the cafeteria, or other times referred to as the canteen (Mensa)– and as with every food I see or read about, I am already salivating! Unfortunately, the Studentenwerk Mannheim, where I was headed for my ecUM card, was already closed.

Instead of heading back to my room, Carly and I decided to grab some lunch near the university. Here we visited the Zi Xiang Zuan. At this small restaurant, I ordered Spring rolls with chicken (Frühlingsrollen mit Hühnerfleisch). These are spring rolls with chicken, carrots, and some other vegetable fillings. Instead of your traditional spring or egg roll wrapping, this spring roll appeared to be fried. It was served with a sauce that tasted sweet and sour with a hint of paprika. I enjoyed the dish, and it makes me miss my mom’s spring and egg rolls at home!

Frühlingsrollen mit Hühnerfleisch. Spring rolls with chicken and carrots inside.

August 31

    I visited the Wasserturm today. The Wasserturm is a water tower landmark found in Innenstadt. It was like the Neckar, relaxing and beautiful. The flowers looked almost new and fresh, full of color and life! I stayed here for a few hours, lost in thought. Wow, I really am here in Germany, and tomorrow it will be September.

The Wasserturm! It was a cloudy day, but beautiful nonetheless.

The view from the Wasserturm

September 1

    Today’s Wednesday…that means there is an orientation today! Two to be exact, from 2PM – 4PM. These mandatory orientations, just as I mentioned earlier, are online. Most of the information given were repeated, but did you know there are over 500 international exchange students? I never seen this many people in a Zoom room! Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit since I only saw the participant numbers go up to the 400 range.

    I didn’t particularly do anything else that day, except getting a few items off my grocery list at Netto. Netto is discount market that is just outside my building! It’s very convenient and cheap! I was curious about what kind of jam Germany had, and through a quick Google search, my favorite product so far is the Maintal brand (since 1886!), “Waldfrucht”, a fruit spread (Fruchtaufstrich or Marmelade)! Originally when I read the ingredients, I was afraid that there was alcohol in it because it said “beer”…I don’t know why it didn’t click with me right away, but beer is Bier, and berry is Berre! Of course, the ingredients listed are the different berries– there is no “beer” in the jam!

Delicious fruit spread! Image by Maintal.

September 2

Uh-oh, it looks like there is nothing to highlight for this day!

September 3

    It’s Friday and there’s one more orientation to listen into. I learned more about the International student organizations, the Institute of Sports and the counseling services of the Studierendenwerk. I was most interested in the international student organizations, but I was also particularly drawn towards the Institute of Sports.

“Brenda!” I could hear what a few of my friends would think. “But you don’t like to be active! And sports? What has the world come to?!” And hold it! I was thinking about volleyball at that time! However, the more I thought about it, I decided not to be engaged in the Institute of Sports since I like to play volleyball casually. I also tend to engage in other activities like gardening, writing, and drawing. I hope to find some amazing student organizations during my stay here!

I also met up with Fiza and Alex who are also study abroad students from Drexel University at the Wasserturm!

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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