Nutzlos v. Kostenlos

After a weekend of taking thorough notes on how Germans drink and party I was ready for another quick week.

The reviews of my first two weeks at RBZ Technik (school) were mixed for just as I was transitioning into the school, the majority of ‘my’ new students were transitioning out, for their month of Ausbildung (training). This left time for plenty of thumb twiddling, doodling and questioning what I was doing in Germany and why I wasn’t watching the Mariner’s extend another loosing streak with my dad. As the weeks progressed I found a bathroom with toilet paper, a better bus stop and was even given my own cubby and locker. The big success story of it all came in the form of simply getting to introduce myself, edit essays, answer questions and walk around the class checking progress.

But a quick week I did not receive.

I was told on my first or second day that there would be a project coming up that one of my coordinators/mentors wanted me to attend. I wasn’t told what to expect or how to prepare, only that it would be helpful if I could flex some real brainpower and translate a menu. One group turned into two and it became clear that just as I was trying to figure out my role in all of this so were my fellow teachers. On Monday I was asked to ‘tag along’ as an emergency translator while on a tour of my school, but ended up being asked to explain technical equipment, experiments and rooms that I had never seen before and to translate words that I hadn’t heard before.  Working at a technical school, most of the literature that I’ve worked with explained that English is the glue that holds Europe together, It is the spoken language when a German visits Italy or when a Dutch person places a business call to Greece. Naturally, seeing this in person, as I tagged along on tours and business dinners, sat silently or was actively engaged, helped to prove this to be true.

All together I was treated to free food and drinks, incredibly friendly company and a much different experience than I had expected. I was able to take tours of the Town Hall (Rathaus), a shipyard that builds Submarines and off-shore platforms (HDW), a machinery museum, a U-Boot and a large war memorial (Ehrenmal) in Laboe, a high-rope/zip line park, play ping pong at a Hostel and meet people from Portugal, Holland, England, Finland (they even gave me a cook book because I was knew so many stupid things about their country), Poland and Germany. Going forward, I can only get better at translating on the fly, I will continue to be more vocal about how I think I can best help my school/myself and may even get to travel with my school to some of the aforementioned countries.


Here’s to not getting what you want!






From right to left and top to bottom: some jack ass in a torpedo hatch, a view of Kleiner Kiel from the Rathaus, The Ehrenmal and Strandkorbs (wicker beach chairs) in Laboe, and the sunset in Laboe.



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