A letter from Germany

Here is an excerpt from a letter sent to my sister by her German friend –

This autumn/winter we have problems with the pig flu. In the last two month we’ve got the pandemic in our cities. In the medicine laboratory and praxis I work, hundreds of people came with flu and the most of them had the H1N1-“pig”-flu. Especially the little children and otherwise ill-people had to proof of the virus by pharyngeal smear test. So we had to do very much.

Another theme is the protest of the students for better study-circumstances. These are really worse. And in addition to that, because of the contract of Bologna, the old university-system from Germany that made so many good educated engineers and scientists in the past (and knowledge is a high trading-good in Germany)got changed in only few years to a –for us totally new system with bachelors and masters. But there a no jobs for people with a bachelor! They study something that nobody wants to have. Besides this we have the so called “dual system” in Germany, in that people who do not study have to learn their jobs in a dual way in for example a factory and at a special school for that job. So if you want to become the chef-secretary in a concern, you have to get a education-contract from the concern, then you have to learn there about 2 – 3 years and you have to visit a special school where you learn what you need for that job (secretary practices, languages, book keeping, economic practice…). After passing the exam and getting a good note for your education-time from the boss of the concern, you are allowed to say that you are a secretary. So people have to learn for every job with an education. Most of them are regularized about hundred of years! To become a baker, an officer, a policeman, a government officer, an electrician, a nurse … And it is written by law, who is allowed to work what. So nobody has a job for a bachelor and the young people did this way for nothing. They have to become a master! But the new system reduced the number of places to become the master…. It is a very bad joke that these young students have to carry the can. – Only because European Communities think we must do the same than others, but we are not used to Anglo-American system and we have our own ideas. The idea to study with this bachelor- and master-system was to bring more students to go abroad for some time to get new ideas in foreign countries. But because of the other system the students don’t have the time any longer to go in the world and they have to work more for the fees (when I studied, I didn’t have to pay so much!). And: other countries like England have so many problems for example to get good engineers that they are used to get them from Germany…But now Germany is making the same mistakes then England. And that only because in Bologna-Process people think that everybody must be equal and equal means to be like Anglo-American system. So people and students are angry and they are right. This kind of “educational colonialism” is not good. In Europe there are speaking more people NOT-English and living in their way, so we should come together in another way and we should not take a system, because it seems to be “international”! I think it would be better for all European to reform the whole system for getting better conditions and students who have the change to get a job they study for and they like. And there must be the possibility for a German student to study in the German way. That is for what the students are protesting. But behind that problem it seems to be a cultural problem and at the moment our people have some problems with the United Europe that causes such difficulties.

Like every year there are our Christmas-markets in the cities. Even we don’t have snow (Christmas without the silence of snow is not so nice). In this grey and dark season, people usually stay at the houses (at work or at home). But the Christmas markets are nice reasons to go outside with friends to look the nice Christmas-things like spheres for the Christmas-tree, angles, sweets that made with winter-things, hot Christmas wine, wood-carvings, and especially for little children it is a nice fun.

Next week I will go to Berlin, our capital city, to visit a congress that is about infections and strategies to deal with. But I will have some time, to visit great exhibitions and historical places. I had been in Berlin different times, but every time I see totally new things. It is an exciting city.

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