I have been in Heidelberg for about a month now, and we are finally starting classes! I have been anticipating this for months. I have come a long way since first getting here.
The differences in the school system and the culture were difficult to overcome, but I managed to enroll in all of my classes and stay on top of things. I feel like I have really grown in independence since I started this trip. I have learned how to better use the resources I have at hand, and to seek out help from unlikely places when I need it. For example, when we were being told how things are done here in the German university system, they gave us information that was not completely accurate. As one can imagine, this was extremely confusing. Everyone I went to for help told me something different, and in desperation I emailed a friend I made during the summer. She was, to my surprise, able to clear everything up for me and bring me up to speed! If I had not thought outside of the box and reached out to a friend, I might still be lost.
Other than finding my way through the school system here, I have been trying to enjoy the rest of my break before school as much as I can. I have been exploring and seeing the sights. Heidelberg has so many trees. It really is a drastic difference to my home city of San Diego, California. There are trees everywhere! The whole city is a mix of green and orange, red and yellow, now that Autumn is here. It really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I am going to cherish every day that I have here.
I also have health insurance now. Insurance is an interesting issue coming from the U.S.A. I can’t say that I have ever had “good” health insurance. It has always just been whatever I could afford which was either nothing, or whatever the state was willing to provide, which was not much better. I am trying to get used to the idea of having unlimited access to healthcare, dental care, and it even covers vision. I do not think that I have ever been to the eye doctor, and I have only been to the dentist once in my life. It is just interesting to me to see how something as simple as healthcare is taken for granted here in Europe. I know one thing for sure: I am going to go to the doctor and the dentist as much as they will allow me to before I leave! I’m going to be totally healthy by the time this year is up!