It’s just any typical day with class. I join in 10 minutes early, but why does it feel like an eternity on the university website? It’s probably the thousands of students who also have online classes on a Monday! I eventually am connected to the Zoom room. I hear interesting stories from students, like of a giant that may have inspired stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, or news about dolphins where the class creates an ending for the story. It’s a great and fun day!
It’s nighttime, and I should wake up earlier tomorrow. Maybe I’ll make it to an in-person class! I can do more readings while I’m at the university. I was about to drift off to sleep, but suddenly…I hear a loud popping noise! What happened to the lights? Did something exploded? Hey, why isn’t my laptop charging? Wha–
Pop goes the modem! And the electricity…
Am I back online?
No, not yet.
Uh-oh, something has happened to the internet…come back until I finish troubleshooting!
For the past week, I’ve been to and from stores to troubleshoot my modem and internet problems, and finding which modem and router works in my room. One, it was official, that the modem that was already in my room ceased to function…for however long it survived from previous tenants, it must’ve been very old. Two, I need a needed a cable modem, which I could hardly find in stores, and they were expensive! Three, how do I participate in class without internet and how do I continue my work back in the U.S.? And four…how long will I be without internet?!
Then it was Friday morning, my beacon of hope has arrived.
Who’s there? Even though I had just woken up, it would be rude to keep whoever is there waiting.
“Coming!” I said. I quickly got up from bed, swiftly put on my glasses, and opened the door.
“Hallo!” It was the caretaker! He spoke fast in German, so I could not catch the full sentence. But with some simple words I picked out from the conversation, I figured the caretaker said along the lines of, “Hello, a new modem for you?” Luckily, it was a duplicate modem!
It was a working modem- lights green and new wires…and I have to register the modem. Quick! To the phone! This was certainly an experience. The lady I spoke to over the phone knew some English, but needed me to try and say some words and numbers in German. Let’s put some basic German speaking skills to the test! She was cheering me on, and that made me feel better. Will I be able to use the internet by next week? I hope so! I am already behind on emails and readings!
September 24 was also the day that the climate strike protest was happening in many locations across the globe. One was happening right in Innenstadt. I’ve seen small protests here and there in Philadelphia, but this was a lot! Imagine looking towards the front of the line of the protest, where’s the start? Then you look to the back of the line, where’s the end? Protesters held up signs in German and English, megaphones in hand, bikes rang out continuously, even kids were part of the protest!
“What do we want?!”
“When do we want it?!”
“Now!” The protest was loud, but I was able to understand some phrases (apart from reading signs) after having done some climate research in German before.
The climate strike protest started at Alte Feuerwache and ends at Marktplatz.
If there was anything that I learned this week, it’s to not stress over the internet! I may not be able to work in my room, but that gives me more reasons to visit the university and the library (Bibliothek). I can focus on work there, and the library is available every day! It also takes my eyes off technology, and I have more time to walk around the city!
Universitätsbibliothek Mannheim, Bibliotheksbereich A3. Image by the University of Mannheim.
And time for appreciation because there isn’t enough of it! Thank you to:
Sofia for helping me get the electricity back on even though it was midnight!
Claudia and Carly for allowing me to use their internet so I can continue working!
The Saturn employees for dealing with my modem problems 4-5 times in a week!
The caretaker who came early in the morning to give me a new modem!
The mywire support team who assisted me in registering my modem!
And of course, to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and Drexel University, for giving me the opportunity to study and stay comfortably in Germany!
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.