The end of my second semester In Deggendorf was filled with events. First of all, I was recruited for our University intramural basketball team. The highlight of this was a state-wide university tournament. While we didn’t win the tournament or really come close for that matter, it was a great opportunity to play side by side with guys. We were quite the international bunch with players from Russia, Brazil, Korea, Turkey and Iraq. At one point in the tournament there was a rough foul and a German player on the opposing team got pretty heated. He began chewing out a guy in our team in German and while most of us only understood half of the words coming out of his mouth, he sure as hell wasn’t going to mess with us!
During the second semester in Deggendorf there were two other American students who were from Ohio. The three of us took the upper hand in putting together a Thanksgiving Pot-Luck dinner together for everyone. This was something really special for me. Students from all over the world took part in what was for many of them their first Thanksgiving. We had the traditional food of course but also cuisine from all over the world. At one point I gave a little thank you speech for everyone who came and explained how this meant so much to me as Thanksgiving has always been a very holiday in my life back in the US.
I also wanted to include here a photo from the local Karaoke bar. About once a month all the international students would get together and take over “Sam’s Bar”. It a bar for somewhat of the older crowd and they occasionally got frustrated with so many crazy kids on the microphone all the time. At times like this, the DJ would play a traditional Bavarian song which we would of course butcher the heck out of. However, in the end, it was all good fun with many laughs.
The student organization AKI at Deggendorf University organized an end of the semester trip to Munich. Munich was a city that most of us had been visited many times before, however, this time there was a convention for all international students across Europe. An entire hostel was rented out and the weekend was full of festivals and fun for students from all over the world.
Another AKI organized event was a trip to Nürnberg to Germany’s largest Christmas Market. Nearly every international student attended, dressed in Santa caps, while consuming a large amount of the traditional holiday Glühwein.
Another nice thing about Deggendorf is that it's so close to the Bavarian forest. One day in January I was able to board the train in Deggendorf and one hour later I was on the mountain skiing. The solo ski trip was icy but my first time skiing in Europe. I had purchased my skis for 25 euros off Ebay in the summer and found boots at the local swap meet in Deggendorf.
Returning home from this trip brought the final semester of studies to an end. In Germany, finals are take place at the end of January and the beginning of February. My biggest accomplishment of the semester was completing level B1 German. When I arrived in Germany I was enrolled in A1 and completed within only one year levels A1, A2 and B1.