School’s In Session

So, Monday was my first day at graduate school. So far, I’m a bit less worried about the whole “grad school” thing as I am with the “learning to speak advanced German necessary for doing advanced physics”.

While the program information mentioned that the classes would all be conducted in English, this is not the case: several are in English, but a few have English lectures and German-language handouts/PowerPoints, one has German lectures and English handouts/PowerPoints, while another is all-German.

Being that the local language here is German and the majority of students are Swiss, I don’t fault them for wanting to teach the majority of students in their native language. I’ve privately met with professors to discuss the issue, and they’re willing to be flexible and work with me so that I can succeed. That’s nice.

Fortunately, I am very much a learn-by-reading person, so I was pleased when one professor recommended a few textbooks that would get me the same information as the lectures.

The whole situation is mildly frustrating, to be certain, but it gives me more incentive to study harder. It also gives me an excuse to improve my German.

Note to those looking to study in a country or region that does not speak their native language: caveat emptor. Even though the courses here are listed as being conducted in English, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Relocation Update

Greetings from Bern!

My wife and I moved out here two weeks ago and are in our temporary apartment in Bern while we search for more permanent housing. So far, so good.

It’s rather amusing to see off-duty soldiers (both in uniform and out) carrying slung SIG SG 550 rifles on the bus as they head home. It’s evidently such an ingrained part of Swiss cuture that nobody so much as bats an eye.

More updates as they happen.

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