1978

I was made aware of an international study program through a professor at the community college attended. Discussing this program with my parents, they decided to grant permission for my participation in this international language, living, and study experience. Arrangements were made for me to attend a school in Germany. I departed the United States on a rainy, cold day in February arriving at a major airport in Germany where I boarded a train to the city of my destination. Someone from the school was supposed to have met me at the local train station but was not there. I hailed a taxi cab to an office address that was provided to me prior to my departure from the United States. At the office, I was informed that my schooling and living arrangements had not yet been confirmed. Worried and tired, I waited in the office until the end of the day when I was finally told that a room was made available at the school on a temporary basis. A few days later, it was confirmed that I could stay in this facility for the duration of the semester. I entered the assigned room on the second floor of the school and found it to be pleasant. The small room contained a desk and book shelves, an armoire, a sofa that converted to a bed, and a sink with an above mirrored cabinet. The large windows offered a view of the front entrance and a small parking area. The toilet and shower facilities for single rooms such as the one assigned to me, were located in another area. The school attended here, was many years ago a hotel that was converted into a school. The students who were assigned two to a room had a full bathroom attached to their private living area. On one occasion while visiting with a fellow classmate in her double room, I used the lavatory that contained a bidet in addition to the other common lavatory porcelain fixtures. Recalling viewing this fixture on my previous trip to Europe in 1970, one was curious about how this apparatus operated. Fully clothed, one fiddled with some knobs attached to the bidet but was unable to turn it on and humorously asked the girl who was assigned to that room for assistance. She entered the lavatory and showed me how to operate this device. We both laughed when viewing the strong jets of water emitted and dispersed around this piece of equipment. I immediately recognized this device, apparently promoted for cleanliness purposes to be a sexually stimulating apparatus perhaps inspiring promiscuity.  For a short time period, I did not have a key to the room and so I confined myself to the room until provided with a key. A student in a neighboring room suggested that I lock the door of the room from the inside, climb out of the window along a ledge and enter this student’s room through a window. I thought this was a dangerous idea and declined this suggestion. Then the student proceeded to demonstrate this tactic. Imploring the student to return to the room, a school official noticed this escapade and the student was reprimanded.

The course of study was one of language immersion. The curriculum consisted of classroom textbook study and practice in a language laboratory where individual cubicles were equipped with headphones to receive recorded lessons in the language. Most of the students attending this school were from regions of the Middle East and the surrounding area. There were students from China, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kurdistan (a region of Iran), Turkey, and the United States. Some students claimed that their parents were politically connected to their home countries. Needless to say, there was much political conversation concerning various perceived inequities regarding government policies. By the time I left this school, I was tired of talking about politics but not about societal issues. Meals were served three times a day, with dinner served at mid-day. Each day of the week had a specific meal