The first few days of Fresher’s Week were amazing. They have student societies here, which are a big part of the extracurricular activities. Societies? They’re like clubs, small communities. There’s hockey socities, debating societies, a SciFi society, a pirate party society, there’s a society for everything. The deal is that during Fresher’s Week, every society wants you to sign up for it. It’s an average 4€ and, some offer discounts, others offer free booze, others bring in Hugh Laurie for a talk. That for itself is very interesting. In Hamburg, the orientation week (equivalent to Fresher’s Week) is totally centered on the class you’re doing. It’s intense, but despite meeting many, many people, it’s not that wide of a range of people. Especially the law students seemingly never completely lose that constrained point of view.
But I can only report from the perspective of an international student, my impression is that ‘regular’ new students are pretty much left alone by the university itself. ‘We’, though, have a wide range of institutions whose highest objective is to see to our very special needs to chose from. There’s a Student2Student mentor programme, the (general) international office, our faculty’s international office, an internatioal student tutor programme and two student’s union officers. Quite a lot.
There was a lovely Welcome Reception in the Dining Hall yesterday, quite classy.