GlobalMBA Cohort 19

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Our small groups of international dual-degree graduate students that had been trickling into Cologne from different parts of the world became Cohort 19 on Monday, September 30, when we were all together for the first time. Students from the United States, Germany, Poland, China, France and Italy filled the seats in Ubierring 48, room 211.

We started the day with orientation and a campus tour which included the other building, Claudiusstraße, and had lunch in the Mensa (student cafeteria). We thought we were going on a City Tour after lunch, per the schedule, but it turned out to be a hurried scavenger hunt.

We returned to Claudiusstraße, and champagne was poured. There was even a barrel of Kölsch specifically for us. (Talk about cultural differences! Drinking has never been encouraged in an academic setting in the U.S. in my experience.) At this point, everyone was exhausted, but managed to keep drinking, eating and socializing through the full 10-hour day.

Tuesday and Wednesday were Intercultural Training days. This presented us the opportunity to get to know each other a little better with games and activities before classes begin next week. We talked of differences in the university settings in each country, among other surface cultural differences. While some of us looked forward to delving a bit deeper, we are going to keep looking forward to it, because it was not the space for dialogue beyond the bullet points. The place for those conversations will likely be in our actual Intercultural Communication classes.

October 3rd is Germany’s National Day of Unity, so everyone had Thursday day off, and the shops were all closed (like on Sundays here). Friday we had off, too! Monday we have our introduction class with Professor Sander, and on Tuesday the semester officially begins. 

“There is no peace in weakness.”

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“There is no peace in weakness.”

opened at Richas Digest on Friday, September 27.

Art by Nikolas Müller

Curated by Aneta Rostkowska

This exhibit generated conversations about the traits of males in society, and asked questions about how these traits are perceived as “masculine,” but are they inherently?

A much-needed conversation starter in a world still grappling with allowing boys the emotional right to cry, I had to step out of the exhibit and step back in again because there was so much going on in the pieces.

Worth the visit.

The Last Day of Summer

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It has been raining everyday since last Sunday, September 22, 2019. So long, summer.

Luckily, I was told about the waterfront on the other side of the river (in the area called Poll, though I’ve heard locals refer to it as Kalk, which is technically a further inland area according to Google Maps), that has parks, grass, trees, football fields, and even a beach with real sand.So the day before the gray set in, my peers and I, fresh to Cologne, set out to the Southeast of the Inner City to a walking bridge that leads to the other side.Watching out for geese droppings, we laid our yoga mats out in the sun at the corner of an out-of-play football field and relaxed with stretching and yoga.Then we walked further South and dipped our feet in the cold, cold Rhine, played games and absorbed as much of the last rays of sunshine as the sun would allow. 

Into the Current at Richas Digest

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I stopped into Richas Digest, an art space in Cologne for the last day of “Into the Current.” On a rack outside, held a beautiful pink color, which were cloaks. I donned one and stepped inside.

The swirls, the movements of paint, and the fabric it was on reminded me of dancing. As I walked by, the sheer fabric with it’s paint felt the air going by and it showed by not staying still.

I walked around, and suddenly the direction the paint was going was the course of my life, and it was up and up. But, when I looked back through the fabric from the other side I did not like what I saw. The shapes were not as they had been, and frightened me.

I walked the other way, and I zig-zagged, with the white sheets with black paint forming different images from each angle, and I decided the only way to walk through was the way I had first gone.

INTO THE CURRENT

FRIEDERIKE HAUG and MARTHA HVIID

curated by Nina Nowak

Severinstraße Fair: a street party

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Delicious fried fish, endless Kölsch, a variety of wares from clothes to wooden spoons, and even a pianist street musician filled Severinstraße with color and celebration on the third weekend in September.

I had happened to be in town for the 40th annual Severinstraße Fair, or “Dä Längste Desch, vun Köll Severinstraße.”  By day was great, but by night was awesome.

If you also happen to be in Cologne that time of year, I recommend experiencing it!

What they don’t tell you about the Immigration Office

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I arrived at the Immigration Office late in the morning on a Monday, so I knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to take care of getting my residence permit that day. The hours are 08:00 to 12:00. The woman at the front desk told me that they open at 08:00.

I thought 08:00 was a bit extreme, but if I arrived before 09:00, at least, I’d be fine. With three more hours until close, how could I not be? I arrived Tuesday morning shortly after 08:30. A friend of mine was already there. As I’m in the elevator on the way up to the fourth floor, she said they just put a “CLOSED” sign on the number dispenser. They would not be seeing anyone who didn’t already have a number.

I decided to wait it out and see what would happen. There were two small waiting rooms. All the seats were full, so people were sitting on the hallway floors. We were, too. Eventually, a couple of seats opened up and we snagged them. A man who had to go, for work or another daily obligation, gave my friend his ticket. His was earlier than hers. She gave me hers. 037. It was around 10. Around noon, my friend went in. She came out empty-handed. She didn’t get it, and the woman was mean and rolled her eyes at her. I thought since I had everything the university told me to provide, and understood a bit of German, I’d be fine. Well, she was nicer to me, but no cigar. Wednesdays they are closed.

I arrived at 07:14 on Thursday morning and was seventh in line. The doors opened at 08:00. I am not going to go into detail about the events that followed between going up the elevator and getting my number (09), but it was not a good look on humanity at all. Looking back, I would have attempted to organize a line. I wish that the people who work there did. In the mad rush up the four floors to the number dispenser, it didn’t matter how early you got there, it only mattered that you were aggressive. I let my friend  who helped me on Tuesday go ahead of me (bumping me to 08), and a woman who was not there early anywhere near as early as us somehow got up there, too (bumping me to 09).

Still, 09 wasn’t a long wait. I went in with everything I was told the previous time that I needed. Plus, I filled out the application I was given the previous time to the best of my ability while I waited.

So here is what you actually need for the Immigration Office:
1. Your number. (Get there at 07:15, and it will go fast. Get there at 7:30, and you could wait for hours.)
2. Your passport.
3. Your insurance exemption letter that says your insurance works for Germany.
4. Your AirBnB receipt or renter’s agreement. (You must have something printed out. Digital copies are not accepted.) The university will say that we need our City Registration confirmation, but this does not suffice.
5. A “biometric passport photo” that is 35 x 45 mm. On photo paper. Cut out. (Note: this is not the same size as a U.S. passport photo.) You can get this done at a Copy Shop. I went to one right by Chlodwigplatz, a stop from TH Köln.
6. Stamped certificate of university enrollment. (The letter that you received when you arrived so you could use public transport.)
7. Proof of sufficient funding. Currently, you need proof of 853 euros for each month you are staying in Germany. I printed a balance letter saying that I had an amount in excess of the amount I needed. If you have Charles Schwab, this letter is easily accessible online. However, it is not likely to be in the correct currency. Do the calculation and write amount of euros your currency equals on the letter.
8. The application, if you have received it before. Plus, the information that will go into the application such as your address, your German phone number, your insurance information. Basically, the things you probably have accessible in your wallet or on your phone.

I brought these things in when my number was called. I was told I need to pay 50 euro and I was ready to pull it out of my pocket. (Note: for my friend, it was 56 euro. Bring excess.)

But, the cash register is at City Registration. So, she held onto my passport, I took the blue form she gave me around the block from Ludwigstraße to Laurensplatz to the person at the desk entitled “Kasse” and paid the 50 euro.

I went back to Ludwigstraße, went up the elevator, knocked on the person’s door who was helping me, and waited. She came from the outside, said “Komm rein.” I followed her in and handed her the blue receipt. She handed me my passport complete with the residence permit inside.

“Das ist alles?” I asked.

“Das ist alles,” she said.