Fulbright Orientation was really not that eventful. It took place at Haus Altenberg, which is just north of Cologne. I was warned by my Fulbright Advisor that Fulbright spoils you so much, you’ll be a little skeptical of whether or not it can be real. I experienced my first taste of this at the training. They pay for everything. Really – everything. We (140 Americans, 5 Englanders, 5 Canadians, 5 Australians, 5 New Zealanders) met in front of the Cologne train station and rode 2 charter buses to Altenberg. Before our departure, I did indeed purchase my German sim card and set up my account. Great news.
We were so busy in Altenberg that the time really flew by. We were there for 3 days. I felt like we were always eating. When I registered for the orientation, I checked the box for “Vegetarian meals” (also included were “Vegan meals”, “Gluten free meals”, “Lactose free meals”, and “Peanut Allergy meals”). In the days to come, I received many envious stares while I ate a variety of seemingly gourmet meals while the others ate meat loaf and roast beef that may or may not have come from an elementary school cafeteria. My meals were always great, though! I can’t complain.
Fulbright assigned us our roommates according to geographic placement, so my roommate at the Orientation is living and working very close to Nuremberg. All of our training courses were done according to state, so I spent the majority of my time with other “Bavarian people”. This is quite smart. As there’s no way one can really get to know 160 people in 3 days’ time, it’s best to get to know the people in your state since you’ll see them the most anyway.
I will admit I was a bit anti-social during this weekend and I have a great book to blame. I was reading Devil in the White City and I could not put it down. I found myself running to my room every little break I could so I could read for 5 or 10 minutes. Such a good read – I highly recommend it.
And that's the end of that. Here's to a great Fulbright year! :)