Ah yes, the pre-semester weeks. Without much responsibility, without classes, without deadlines and without assignments. One of the most enjoyable parts of the semester.
In case you don’t know what the Orientation Week is, let me tell you. It is, roughly, the 10 days before the start of the semester. Everyone, from the university’s International Office and their student helpers, the International Tutors to ESN, plans events for the incoming students. Day trips, treasure hunts, welcome parties, hikings you name it! (Even online events given the current scenario). Everything is set up for the students to feel at home, feel part of the German way of life and also to meet each other and feel comfortable in Deggendorf. Usually, there is also a city tour for the students to see our cute little town of Deggendorf.
My luck with Orientation Week has been particularly bad. Because of issues with my visa, I missed the first one by a small margin of a month… I felt a bit bad but I also thought ,,I am going to have more semesters. So I can just do Orientation week the next semester”. Just remember the ,,next semester” was summer of 2020. With the alarming onset of the pandemic and increasing cases, I opted against...well, meeting people in general.
What followed the next two semesters were the Orientation Weeks during the lockdown. I was thankful because it meant that I could meet people, make friends and have fun at the comfort of my house, while not having to worry about being affected by corona. It meant that there had to be online events and get-togethers and the events outside were according to the ongoing regulations. For example, last September we could be 10 people in a group so events were structured like that. In March 2021, literally only two people could meet so we got one ,,physical” event, as it was called. The online events were get-togethers and themed evenings like online games, pictionary nights, zoom meetups and virtual cultural exchanges.
It seems like things are slowly getting back to normal now. The International Office and ESN have a lot of exciting events planned (under current regulations and hygiene conditions of course) for the incoming students to have fun and get to meet the students that are coming with them and also the regular students here! Time for some refreshing time together before the semester starts!
Till next time,
Ajay is an Angewandte Informatik Masters Student (he recently learned the pronunciation) from India. He has been an ESN member ever since and keeps saying he is an Arsenal fan like it is a badge of honour. He loves to eat even though it doesn't seem like he does. He is a traveller who likes to experience new adventures.