Written by Edward Bouldin, Master's of Accountancy, '19
Ahhhh Lufthansa I thought while in front of the computer. I had heard so many good things about the airline from people who had already been to Germany for one reason or another. I bought the rather expensive tickets from Washington Dulles to Frankfurt about three weeks prior to me having to attend the one-week language class before the start of the semester studying abroad. I had it all planned out. I’d fly into Frankfurt Airport and catch the train to Wiesbaden where I would stay until the semester is over. A great plan since Wiesbaden is only a 25 minute train ride away from the European Business School (EBS) at Oestrich-Winkle. When I got to Wiesbaden I didn’t regret the decision at all. The view of the old city was stunning!
I arrived at the Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhoff and immediately began looking for somewhere to get cash out of the ATM. I needed cash in order to catch the train; at least that it was I thought anyway until I looked at my EBS student ID card. In the smallest letters underneath my name read “RMV valid until December 2019”. That meant I would be able to ride all the trains, buses and any other public transportation in and around Hessen. I waited for the RB (Regional Bahn) 10 for about 15 minutes and six stops and 30 minutes later I found myself in Hattenheim.
Hattenheim has one of the smallest train stations I have ever seen. In fact it's more like a stop in between than a station as there is no real building where people can go inside and physically buy tickets. In fact there is only a small-automated machine that allows you to purchase tickets. After I left the Hattenheim train stop I began looking for the direction of the EBS, which I saw immediately after, is located a short walk over a bridge past a vineyard. Usually that would be where I need to go but today I was starting my German Intensive Course offered gratis by the EBS and needed to go to the language center located on the Burg Campus, which was about, 2km walk in the same direction. Thinking I was smart I jumped on the first bus I saw going in that direction and that's where the fun began.
A quick look at my cell phone made me aware that I was about an hour and a half early for the class, which at the time I thought I wouldn’t need, and regretted having came so early. Again, the Burg Campus was about a 2km distance from the Hattenheim train stop with no turn in direction.
That’s where I thought the bus I was on was going until it made a left turn from the path. I thought ok no big deal, this is the time that I must get off and find my way back walking. In theory that was a good idea but the next stop was about 2.5 kilometers away. I got off the bus and switched to the other side thinking that the next bus should be coming soon. I was mistaken. The next bus wouldn’t come until one hour and fifteen minutes had elapsed! Unsure what to do I looked at the “MyTaxi” app (since Germany doesn’t have “Über’and the next taxi would have to come from a city that was 15 minutes away. My direction app told me that the campus was 2.8 KM away and I would need between 35 and 40 minutes to walk there. I than began walking by foot. My first piece of advice to the students thinking of studying here abroad is to ensure that they have done a thorough reconnaissance of the location prior to embarking on a journey that they have never done and also to have some sort of smart phone with internet on it. The EBS Business school is located between two very small communities and beyond them there is nothing else but vineyards, mountains and packs of wild pigs…. Yes, packs of wild pigs.
The walk was probably the most tranquil thing I had done in years. I have never seen so many rolling hills and vineyards in one place. From the top of Ostrich-Winkle I could see the Rhein-Mein River. I felt like I was in a dream, until I saw it. Something walking on all fours about half of my height with what looked like tusks hanging from its oversized mouth. Wow. That was a boar about 100 meters from me. It didn’t see me but I saw it. I froze in the street as there were no sidewalks where I was walking stunned and indecisive. If I kept walking and it did see me there was no telling what its intentions would be. In luck I saw an Opel driving in my direction and I flagged him down. An older German gentlemen who looked as if he was just coming from the town rolled down his window and in the most broken English mustered the words “…How can I help”? I explained to him what I saw and he told me to just keep walking. He explained to me that they are much more afraid of me than I of them. So I did. I made it to class in one piece and began my first course in German.
The rest of the week was much better than the first day. We all had to be in class at 0830 daily so I took the train from Wiesbaden at 0700 and rode 30 minutes to Hattenheim. This time I let the bus to Hallgarten pass me by J. I walked for about 2kms to the Burg Campus and arrived with about 30 minutes to spare before the class started each day. The second day I immediately began looking for café’s to get a coffee as I am an avid coffee drinker and that is usually true for the entire day. I think that may mean I don’t get enough sleep. Anyway there was no coffee shop or café to be found save the one located at the Swan Inn about 30m walk away from the campus. Unfortunately that café was not what we as Americans would consider a café and I was unable to get a coffee. I went the rest of the week without it. Argh!
Next week I’ll be starting the first class of my two that I will take throughout the semester. I really look forward to taking it all in and documenting every part of it.