A summer in Germany: A beginning

-this is the first of a two part series composed before going to Germany-

In this first post, I would like to do a number of things.

First, welcome to this blog. I am writing this to keep track of my adventures abroad, to have something to hand to those curious about what I’m doing, to convince the doubters that study abroad is a good idea (or not), and to fulfill a requirement for a project for the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship Association. I hope to entertain and educate with my posts this summer. I hope to average about two posts a week, for a total of around twenty posts when it’s all said and done.

Second, I would like to introduce myself. My name is James Nantze. I am a second year senior at the University of Oklahoma. I am currently majoring in European history and German language. I have lived in Oklahoma most of my life. I am in my mid twenties. I have never crossed the border out of the United States before. I own two cats. I drive a 91’ Chevy Lumina. I don’t make a lot of money. I have been going to school full time for five years now. I like to hike, I am learning to run, I like to watch and play baseball, and I play computer games. I currently dabble in part time contracting outside of the school year as a facility maintenance and remodel specialist.

I am going to Germany as a part of the College of Arts and Science’s Summer in Germany Program. I opted for the two month program, which consists of a class on German culture at OU before going worth three credits, and then two expedited language classes, each a month long and worth three credits, in Leipzig, Germany.

Third, I would like to list out a few stereotypes and cliches that I have about Germany and Germans. The largest of these, a result of a recent class on the subject, is environmentally aware. Germans are leading the world in the effort toward environmentally friendly energy. They have set huge goals toward implementing renewable energy and most of the population and government is on board with this. I would like to find out if this is truly changing lifestyles in Germany.

Another stereotype is that Germans love their laws and the enforcement of such. From what I’ve heard, anyone caught doing something out of line face stiff fines and worse. Traffic laws are an example of such. You mess up in traffic, you lose your license. Related to this is jaywalking. I have been warned countless times by countless people not to jaywalk. Another example is the law requiring Germans to always carry some form of identification. I have been told that I can expect major yelling if I cross a cultural or legal boundary by accident. I would like to get a feel for how this really affects daily life.




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