Sunday, August 24, 2008

A stroll through the city and first glimpse of University.

Yesterday was the first day of this trip that we have had nothing scheduled or planned out to do. So we headed into the city to explore a little bit on our own. It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day and we found some really pretty parts of the city that we hadn't seen yet. It was comforting to see this side of the city as opposed to the soviet industrialism of much of downtown. We found a beautiful restaurant that we think might be a good place to have a nice dinner one of these days, perhaps after we have starved for a bit. 

We also discovered that in order to fulfill the normal credit load for UO, we do not have to take very many class hours here. So far, I think this will mean one class on monday and one on wednesday. There are exams one saturday out of each month, but this should still allow for ample travel time on the weekends, which opens up lots of opportunities! As long as money allows, of course. Eek. 

Last night some of the other international students went around and knocked on everyone's doors to get every to get together and hang out in the upstairs hall, since there is no common room or anything (but there are two saunas. strange.) so it was really fun to meet everyone. There are people from London, Jordan, Slovenia, Germany, France, Greece, Mexico, Nepal, Czech Republic, China, Turkey, and Ecuador. It's a pretty crazy mix, but everyone speaks english so that is helpful. It was really nice to arrive at the orientation today and actually see familiar faces, even if we don't know their last names yet. We spent most of the day running around with Isaac from South London, Joe from Jordan (formerly NYC), and Sebastian from Germany. 

We got a lot of practical, boring stuff done like getting bus passes (yay!) and getting accounts at the University. We ate lunch in one of the student cafeterias and I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can get quite a nice buffet of lunch for only 2.30 euros, which is unheard of for any meal here. I think we will be eating there quite a lot. We also went on a University tour around the buildings, which are super modern and futuristic looking. All of the facilities seem very high-tech and clean, which is a change from the traditional college look at UO. 

Tomorrow we continue our orientation with a series of multiple welcome lectures all day long. Hopefully they will keep it interesting!

Here are some photos from our stroll around the city. 

If anyone has any pronunciation tips for the above sign, please let me know. :)

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