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.

1 thought on “School’s In Session”

  1. Physics texts in Graduate School tend to be pretty standardized across the US, and I am guessing internationally as well.
    For example, you WILL be using Jackson’s Electrodynamics for E&M. In Solid State the standard texts are Ashcroft & Merman or Kitell. The main exception is Quantum Mechanics. There are no good quantum books, so the best you can do is have 3 to 4 quantum books and work through all of them on each subject.
    Viel Gluck!

Comments are closed.