the faculty of architecture

Part 4: University

The first days in university were chaotic: Being from a country where every lecturer has their office in which you can find them at specific times, and where you can read the names and contents of seminars on specific internet pages, I felt a bit lost here. I was told by the international office to speak to "Mrs. So-and-so", and when I finally found her - one day she really was where the secretary told me she is going to be - she told me that she can't help me, but maybe a different person could.

Students I met in the hallways were helpful, and after looking for many people, waiting in front of the secretary office many hours, I finally had a time table.

Bucharest university offers Rromanì (Romany, the language of the Gypsies), so I decided to take advantage of this and participate in a language course. Since it was the spring semester there were no beginners classes, but I decided to participate anyway and can now say that I didn't do badly. When the lecturer who was helping me get my timetable together saw that I had Romany on it, she asked me if I knew what Romany was and that it wasn't Romanian. I nodded and she said "Why would you want to learn that? You know, that is the Gypsy language. They are all Gypsies there! Even the professors are Gypsies!"

Being from Germany it sounds quite ironic that the hardest for me was punctuality. Classes started at a time at which no normal German university student would be out of bed yet.
But usually I managed to get up, walk through the still fresh morning air (some hours later the huge amount of cars would have gotten rid of that freshness) along the Cismigiu garden to a little bakery where I bought warm merisori and trigoane - cakes filled with apples or sweet cheese - for breakfast, and then went to class.

Another difficulty was the system of studying: I was used to mainly discuss in class, or listen to the lecturer and take notes only when I found it necessary. Here the lecturers actually scolded students who were not taking notes, and they told everything in a speed that was suited to us writing down every word they said. A refreshing exception was the Romany language class in which we discussed more about the situation of young Gypsies in Romania than about Romany grammar - which for me was very good, as that was something I was interested in learning about, and a class about Romanian folklore.

Part 5: What I saw when I read the newspaper

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
about bookshelf links contact submit