I’m back from Berlin, where I spent Wednesday to Saturday first being introduced to the course, the lecturers, and my fellow students, and then being taught intensely. It was a good time and overall, a very good start to the course. There were, of course, the usual admin type things (some of which I felt could have well been done in advance), then there was socialising and going out for a meal with the lecturers. We pretty much took over the restaurant since there were about 70 of us!
We also had a tour of the new Jacob- und Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (link goes to a flickr set of photos taken by one of my fellow students), the brand new university library of the Humboldt-Universität. Apparently, before this was built, they had no proper university library. There was the Staatsbibliothek, which was purely a “Magazinbibliothek” – a library with stacks but no social areas or reading rooms. Basically, you’d order your books in advance, go get them there, and then go find a place to work with them somewhere else. The university library collections were housed in the same building, but eventually they ran out of space and decided to separate the two and build a new library while they were at it. So now, the LIS institute is between two large and very important libraries, which I think is an extremely fitting position!
After all this fun part, there were two days of intense teaching and learning.
Friday teaching was alright because it started at nine. One thing I already like about the course is the atmosphere. In my previous course, I have experienced the relationship between students and lecturers/teachers as an often quite tense one, with teachers being so hopelessly overworked that there was simply no chance to build any sort of personal relationship with most of them. This course seems very different, largely because everyone in the room has already completed a first degree and most are working in the LIS field.
Saturday started at eight in the morning and was therefore more exhaustive than I would have thought, but it went ok and I got back to the airport in good time. The whole travelling part of all of it went quite smoothly there and back, and I’m grateful that my friend’s parents let me stay at their flat for the four days.
Now, I have a lot of reading and assignments to do – not all of it due next time, but enough to keep me busy for a little while. I hope I can keep up my enthusiasm for the remainder of the course, but if this weekend is to be taken as any indicator for thigns to come, I’m not worried about that.