I am neither a music expert nor a composer, but if someone would ask me about my first semester, I would ask him to listen to Dvořaks 9th symphony. It is not about the name. Honestly speaking, calling Dresden a “new world” for me would be an exaggeration. It is the tunes, the melody and the overall structure of the 9th that remind me of the past months.
The violins and cellos are going up and down. The tunes' rotation of muted and dynamic tunes is abruptly interrupted by the powerful thunder of the whole orchestra. And finally, the escalating final part comes. My first weeks at university were very similar to that. The first movement of the symphony expresses the spirit and the feeling of new beginnings, e.g. of meeting new people, exploring the city and familiarising with the university. Everything was so new and just waited to be discovered by me.
In the second part of November my sentiment changed. I enjoyed the romantic December walks in a city decorated in Christmas atmosphere. The seminars and lectures became a regular and thus less challenging part of my daily life. I no longer had to wander and search for the right classrooms. Everything became so familiar as if I never would have lived in a different city before. Nothing describes my feelings in those days better than the beautiful and peaceful melody of the second movement. Spending Christmas with my family at our cottage in the countryside was the completion of this episode. There, I could dedicate my attention to just reading books and learning Russian vocabulary.
Already the beginning of the third movement reflects a sudden change. The Christmas spirit was abruptly replaced by a concentrated preparation for my exams. During January, the firstly systematised preparation changed into a chaotic repetition of all courses. The third movement of the “semester symphony” culminates in the preparation of a group presentation on “International financial institutions – World Bank”, during which we argued until very late in the night about the development policies of the World Bank.
The thrilling dynamics and stunning strength of the fourth and last movement reflect my feelings during the examination period. I felt deep relief after finishing one of the so-called Klausuren. In the moment after an exam the tension falls for a little while away. But it returns after a few days again and rises during the next exam to an even higher level. While the drums are still rumbling and the trumpets are not yet silent, I am already siting in an airplane. Just a few hours after finishing the last exam I am on my way towards a really new world, South-East Asia.
You can read about my Asia-trip and the Thai political crisis in the next blog post.
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