Dienstag, 29. September 2009

G-20, baseball game and homecoming

As probably all of you know, Pittsburgh hosted the G20 summit from 24th until 25th of September. Therefore Robert Morris University provided all the visitors a fun, free walking tour of Downtown Pittsburgh for their MP3 player. Due to the fact that Thomas and I speak German fluently, we were in charge of translating the whole city tour in German. Afterwards we had to record it and now it is online under
http://www.rmu.edu/web/cms/g20/Pages/g20-tour.aspx. The most of the other international students did the same job as we in their language and therefore the city tour is now available in 10 different languages. So, if you want to know something about Pittsburgh’s wonderful Downtown, then download and enjoy the tour ;-) We probably also get community service credits for our services but so far anyone knows what those credits are.

The American Grischetta ;-)

Baseball game
To recover from the translation and the recording of the city tour, we went to a baseball game of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thanks God, they played against the best team ever, the San Diego Padres. Therefore, I enjoyed the game a lot although the Padres lost. The most international students couldn’t enjoy the game as much as I did because baseball is a real American sport and therefore not as interesting as Soccer or Floorball. However, it was also for them a great experience to be once in such a nice stadium with view on Downtown.

Baseball is not a game for Italians

Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back of former residents and alumni of an institution. It most commonly refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in North America. It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town (source: www.wikipedia.org). Activities at RMU were for example the Homecoming Dance, RMU Rock Show or the Homecoming Football game. The Homecoming Dance is a ball and everyone wears formal dresses. Therefore, almost all the international students had to buy nice pants, shirts and ties. As usual, there was a party at some friend’s apartment before and after the Homecoming Dance. At the Homecoming Football game the Homecoming Queen and King were elected. Those football games are always very entertaining because of the band, the cheerleader, half-time specials and so on. Unfortunately, our team lost all the games this season :-(

Last week we also had our first mid-term exams but we probably did pretty well and therefore we already plan for the time after the semester. Our destinations of choice are Miami over Christmas and New York over New Year but we see where will finally spend our leisure time.

Dienstag, 8. September 2009

First impressions

After a little delay, we finally arrived on the 20th of August in Pittsburgh. First we got our Freedom Cards which are quite the same as the Students IDs we know in Switzerland. Then, we moved in our dorm which is at Marshall Hall. The rooms are not as comfortable as they usually are in Switzerland but they are ok. In the meanwhile we also got a fridge to have cool beers all day long. Because of having beer in our room, we are not allowed to have visitors under 21. It is also forbidden to play games like beer pong on campus because our University wants to be a serious one.

We took 5 different classes this semester which are on Monday evening, Tuesday and Thursday. On Monday evening we have Spanish but so far we haven’t spoken any word in Spanish and instead of three hours we only had 40 minutes of classes. On Tuesday we have first Investment Analysis 1 which is quite tough so far. Afterwards we have Free Market Economics which is interesting because it is more a vivid discussion than a boring taught class. Then we have usually one and a half hour time for lunch and in the afternoon we took the class Consumer Behavior. On Thursday we have those three classes again and in addition we have Management Simulation. There we had to build groups and every group stands for one company which needs to be managed.

Instead of one final exam at the end of the semester, we will have a lot of quizzes, assignments, mid-term exams and final exams. Therefore, we have always enough to do on Monday and Wednesday and can’t just chill out all the time.

To stay in a good shape we go to gym three times a week. Otherwise we probably would gain a lot of weight with the food they serve us. Although we love Rips, Steaks and Burgers, we already miss good Pasta or other European food. Especially the one from the
Restaurant Traube ;-)

Last Friday we finally could buy a car. It is a Pontiac Sunfire and it cost almost $ 2,500. Due to the fact that we don’t possess a Pennsylvanian driving license, our American friend had to sign the contract with me. The only problem we faced with our car is that the display is defect which should show how much gas is still in our tank. Therefore we never know if we suddenly run out of gas.

Because we finally had our car, we went to South Side last Saturday which is the district to go out in Pittsburgh. There is one main street packed with bars and clubs. Some American friends showed us the best bars and therefore we are now ready to rock Pittburghs nightlife. A beer usually costs around $ 2.00 and a whiskey mixed with coke $ 2.50 ;-)

So, that were our experiences of the first days and weeks in Pittsb

Donnerstag, 20. August 2009

NYC - New York City

After a nine hour flight Thomas and I finally arrived at the JFK airport in New York. Five more hours later we checked in at the L-Hostel in Harlem. This part of the city is mostly inhabited by afro-americans and hence we felt as we were part of a rap video while walking through this district. Everywhere were groups sitting together and listening to Hip Hop music which came out of a ghettoblaster.

On our first day we were walking from our Hostel in Harlem down to the south end of Manhatten. To reach our destination we had to cross the Central Park first. Because of the sunny and hot weather the park was full of people who enjoyed the Sunday in the Greens. After the Central Park we followed the famous 5th Avenue and after eight hours (with breaks) we finally reached the end of Manhatten and in front of us was the Statue of Liberty.

The following days we did some other sightseeing such as taking the ferry to Staten Island, enjoying the view from the Empire State Building or strolling along the Broadway or 5th Avenue. Of course we also ate a lot of very “healthy” American food such as Hot dogs, Burgers or American style breakfast. However, my favorite kitchen is still the Korean and especially the dish called “Tteockbockki”. Therefore we went once to the Korean Avenue and ate a very delicious dinner in the middle of Koreans.

Boredom never appears in New York and therefore the days past too fast for us. But fortunately we will go back to the Big Apple for New Year's Eve.