Exchange Student Experience

These are my experiences as an exchange student in Stony Brook in New York.

I spent the Fall 2009 semester at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and had a great time there. A semester abroad is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. It gives you so much: you improve your language skills, you get the chance to study subjects that are different from yours at home, you get to know friends from all over the world and learn there languages. Moreover you see a lot of new places like New York City and have the opportunity to travel around in an amazing country like the United States. But there are a couple of things I have to warn you about before you go, while you are there and after you came home:

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Campus recreation: Swimming Pool

Because there are always only few people swimming I would like to point out that SBU has an open pool in the Indoor Sports Complex (ISC). There are open pool hours every day so it is free for students to enter. You can pick up a schedule at the beginning of every month and go as often as you want. Though the time periods are short and at weird times, for instance in the morning from 9 to 10 or in the middle of the day from 12.45 to 2 it is enough time to work out and relax afterwards. The pool is divided into 6 lines, two for fast swimmers, two for medium and two for slow.

So why not go swimming once in a while, it’s free and fun!

This is the link to the schedule:

Walk Around Florida

This is the new chapter in my project “Walk Around the World”. I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving Break in Miami and travelled to the Everglades National Park and to Key West the southernmost point of the US.

Have a look at my new photos:

Campus recreation: Intense Cross Training

This class will make your arms look like those of a bodybuilder, well maybe in two years.

Intense Cross Training is offered by Liz on Wednesday nights from 6.25pm until 7.20pm. This class is a more “calm” one compared to the two others I told you about. It has nothing to do with speed or running but with muscle strength. You will use all the utensils you can see in the picture: different weights, heavy bars and the flexible circles you can see on the left. This class makes sense especially if you combine it with a high-pulse one to complete your weekly training.

If you cannot force yourself to go sometimes and even the thought of the massive cake you just ate doesn’t help maybe the fact that you already paid 100 Dollars per semester will do it.

Campus recreation: Kickboxing

The Kickboxing Class with Jemi takes place on Tuesday nights 6.20pm until 7.15pm in the Indoor Sports Complex (ISC) Dance Studio. As I already mentioned in my last post this class will calm down your anger. You are supposed to kick and box your imaginary opponent and as you are training hard for one hour you can also ease your guilty conscience about the last bar of chocolate. Make sure to be on time to receive a wristband because this class is pretty popular. But don’t force yourself to come if you don’t like jumping jacks, because you will do lots of them.

Campus recreation: Boot Camp

SBU offers a very good Campus Recreation Program. There are between 4 and 9 courses every weekday. The schedule shows a wide range of different trainers and types of sports. You can enjoy a Spinning class every day or try a Pilates class or calm down your anger with Kickboxing.

I can highly recommend Dan’s class “Boot Camp” on Friday afternoon 1pm until 1.55pm taking place in the SAC Aerobic Studio (located at the lower level next to the bank). It is a total body workout that makes you gasp and sweat. It starts with regular jogging in a circle, goes on with weight exercises for your arms and shoulders and continues with push-ups and sit-up combinations on a mat. It is definitely a tough training but it’s worth the stress. You will feel proud and relieved when you take a shower afterwards and maybe soon feel ready to attend “Advanced Boot Camp” on Tuesday nights.

Karneval in Germany

As I told you that we don’t celebrate Halloween in Europe, here are some facts about Karneval, the event when we wear costumes:

Karneval/Fastnacht – Mardi Gras in Germany

Germans call the pre-Lenten Carnival season die närrische Saison (“the foolish season”) or die fünfte Jahreszeit (“the fifth season”). Except for Munich’s Oktoberfest, it is the one time of year when many normally staid Germans (and Austrians and Swiss) loosen up and go a little crazy. Fastnacht or Karneval is a “movable feast” (ein beweglicher Festtag) that depends on the date of Easter (Ostern). The official start of the Fasching season is either January 7 (the day after Ephiphany, Dreikönige) or the 11th day of the 11th month (Elfter im Elften, Nov. 11), depending on the region. That gives the Carnival guilds (Zünfte) three to four months to organize each year’s events (Carnival balls, parades, royalty, etc.) leading up to the big bash in the week before Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch), when the Lenten season (die Fastenzeit) begins.

Carnival in Rio is probably the world’s most famous. In the U.S., New Orleans is well known for Mardi Gras. While that former French possession is one of the few cities in the United States with a major Carnival celebration, almost all of the Catholic regions and cities across the German-speaking world (and the rest of Europe) celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way. Only a few Protestant areas in northern and eastern Germany also observe Karneval. Some of Germany’s best known celebrations are held in Cologne (Köln), Mainz, Munich (München) and Rottweil. But Cologne’sKarneval is not really the same as Munich’s Fasching. Germanic Carnival celebrations vary from region to region, sometimes even taking place at different times! (The Fasnacht event in Basel, Switzerland happens a week after most other Carnivals.) The main event of Karneval in Köln is the parade on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday). Further south in Bavaria and Austria, the culmination of Fasching takes place on Shrove Tuesday (Faschingsdienstag), like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. These and other differences reflect the long history and local traditions of the celebration, and they are also seen in the language.

The Bench


Within walking distance there is a little bar near the Campus. It is called The Bench and is located next to the Stony Brook train station. They have food like burgers and wings which is not expensive, they show sports games and most important: there’s a Lady’s night every Thursday night which means a 5$ admission and free drinks until midnight. Of course it’s not a Manhattan-hotspot and you will hardly ever meet Beyonce but it is a nice place to go with your friends. So there’s no more reason to stay in at night and call Stony Brook a “ghost city”.

NY Marathon

The New York Marathon is an important event for people living in NY, but also for everybody all around the world who is watching it on television. For the runners themselves it is often a once-in-a-life-time chance to take part and means a lot of time to prepare for it. If they finally make it it is the fulfillment of a dream which most of them were dreaming for a long time like Maria who is portrayed in this short video.

Club promoter, a student job

in "Highline Ballroom"

You are running out of money but you don’t want to miss a good party night with your friends to go to work? Be a promoter!

On Halloween I went to a cool club in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, called Highline Ballroom. A friend of mine is working there as a promoter which means he goes to different clubs in Manhattan and brings along his friends. They pay only 20$ (girls)/30$ (guys) and get free drinks the whole evening. On “normal-non-halloween-evenings” it is even cheaper. Sounds like a lot of fun, and it is!