After last week’s travelling shenanigans, this week has really been back to the reality of drinking enough coffee to get me through 3 hours of competition law on a Monday afternoon, trying to blend in with the natives at karate despite not really understanding the instructions and wearing my ‘czech me out’ t-shirt from Prague because I forgot my gi, and trying not to freak out about impending exams.
By the end of this semester, I’ll have (touch wood) sat 4 oral exams, 1 written exams in German and 1 written exam in English. Oral exams appear to be some kind of hell invented specifically for ERASMUS students – I’ve never heard of them being used as a normal method of assessment, but they seem popular within Europe. This is a bullet I managed to dodge last semester, but this semester I could either pick from a variety of delights offering written exams such as ‘German testament law’ or ‘Administrative procedure in today’s courts’ or man up and speak the Deutsch. Anyways, as the exams involve having a conversation about the subject and your opinions on it with the lecturer (in small groups, if you’re lucky) I’ve been trying to chit chat in German as much as possible. So far this has only really involved giving directions to tourists and talking to the guy who cleans his shisha pipe in the kitchen sink.
Besides from my lack of linguistic skills, this week’s been a bit hectic because of visits to German doctors. Nothing, as far as we know and again touch wood, is badly wrong but dealing with a foreign health care system and being ill away from home pretty much sucks. I’ve spent a large part of my week skulking around the LMU/ my room wishing I was at home watching Vampire Diaries with my mum (she listens to my whining over skype, but it’s more far therapeutic when I get to do it in person!).
At any rate, I would definitely advise that anyone going abroad susses out the health care situation before they go or as soon as possible after they get there. It saves a lot of hassle and a ‘what the hell am I meant to do?’ meltdown if you actually need to see a doctor at some point. If it’s at all useful to anyone, the equivalent of a GP in Germany is an ‘Allgemeinarzt’. You can easily find various options on Google, including doctors who speak fluent English, and just double check that you can use your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to cover your appointment. You should be able to make an appointment over the phone for the next day or the day after – it’s very quick, but it’s 10 euros (as good as it gets here – with an EHIC we pay the same as natives). You need to take a passport as well. Don’t worry about the form that says you have health insurance that you need to matriculate (for some reason the EHIC is good enough to get you access to health care, but not enough to prove that you’re safe enough to enrole at university – don’t ask).
Today has been amazingly chilled out, which was a welcome break after this week’s uni/ Dr stresses. I’ve been shopping for festival things (I have psychedelic blue wellies made out of whatever crocs are made of – only 5 euros!) had my cooking skills put to great shame by a friend who made awesome vegetarian chilli, and hung out at said friend’s watching the Big Lebowski – pretty much cured this week’s homesickness and stress:)