Studying (almost) like Harry Potter
Letter from Sydney! Jennifer Gaschler arrived in Sydney in the middle of the Australian winter – she felt welcome right from the start!
Oct 22, 2019
For theatre enthusiasts like me there is probably no more interesting place in the southern hemisphere than the Sydney Opera House. In the three months I’ve been in Australia, I’ve been there so often Google Maps thinks it’s my home address!
No chance for homesickness! The casual Australians are so friendly that I’ve felt at home ever since I got here.
Both Familiar and Unfamiliar
Right after the German summer semester, I arrived in the middle of the Australian winter. It was surprisingly rainy and made me think of my year abroad in London during my bachelor’s degree program.
That was also intended, at least with regard to the architecture: The British emigrants wanted to have a university that resembled the time-honored ones at home, and so the University of Sydney was designed similar to the knowledge temples of Oxbridge. Some students live in colleges on campus. They organize everything from balls to daily dinners in academic robes. Their slogan: “Live like Harry Potter.” There is even a university Quidditch team.
BBQs Are Part of the National Feeling
I myself live in a shared flat with two Australian women because in Sydney there are green terraced housing estates in the center of the city. We even have a small garden. That is especially important for the Aussies because BBQs are part of the national feeling.
At Australian universities you can also take classes in things that would only be covered in apprenticeships in Germany. So I am now practicing glass blowing and making experimental films with historical analog cameras. The first, somewhat abstract vases and candlesticks are already on display in our living room. In the theatre studies classes, we visit productions and analyze them.
My lecturers and fellow students shake their heads when they comment on my decision to study in Sydney, asking, “Isn’t Berlin still a utopia for people involved in cultural affairs?" Nevertheless, they are happy to have a “real German” in the seminars, which often revolve around Goethe, Schiller, and Brecht. I’m curious whether this will give me an advantage in the upcoming mid-term exams.