My semester abroad in Sheffield:

In this blog you can read about the adventures I'm having during my semester abroad in England.
The exchange is supported by Erasmus+ and gives me the opportunity to experience new things while continuing my studies. The idea to go abroad was strengthend by my professor U. Kloos, who lives in Entringen, too. But why England? Well, "Hallam University" in Sheffield is keeping up an active connection to my university in Germany, especially maintained by our professor G. Tullius. I was also interested in the topics which are taught in Sheffield: I was told that there would be modules about computer graphics, artistic design for media and professional filmproduction.
But one of the most important things to me was improving my English...
They gave a lot of effort at my university to help me with the preparations for the exchange, even though many things took a long time to be done. It was very difficult, for example, to find an accommodation offer with a contract that would last only one semester. But a miraculous solution opened up for this: As I couldn't find anything adequate, I contacted a former priest and his wife (B. & M. Hopkins) from Sheffield, who I got to know while they were in our village this spring. They visited the Junghans family and wanted to be at a church event in Stuttgart. On their demand T. Guest found two offers in the church community. Now I'm staying in the house of R. & A. Smith together with their good friend T. Stewart until Christmas while they are in America. After Christmas, I'll consider the other offer of T. Holling.
Thanks to my native speaking flatmate, who checked my texts until the 12th entry!
I'm very happy that so many people are keeping track of my journey and contributing to it.

To be up to date and occasionally read something from Sheffield, you can be automatically informed about new entries via the RSS feed by clicking on the symbol next to this text.

I want to say thanks to all the people who are supporting me.
In return, I hope it's interesting and entertaining for you to read through this blog! Now have fun with all my writing:

News aus Sheffield als RSS feed.

8th of September 2017

#48: A new chapter begins...

With my new flat as a background, I stand there with my ever-blue jacket next to a picture of the housing complex "Challenge Works".

It's been quiet in this blog about Sheffield for more than a year now, which is because I had to finish my bachelor's studies in Germany. I spent more of my time on working as a research assistant and writing my bachelor's thesis than I originally planned. In fact, I wasn't even able to finish my film about Sheffield yet, but it is the project I'm hoping to make the most progress with until Christmas 2017. Also, my decision to switch to Linux and open-source software as far as possible in spring 2016 had a heavy impact on my productivity, although I'm sure I've learned a great deal from this. But now to the really important things: I'm in Sheffield again! And I will stay here for one year! Last year, I decided to study the technically-oriented master's course "Games Software Development" at Sheffield Hallam University before finishing a German master at Reutlingen University. This is something I was extremely looking forward to, as my favourite special field in informatics is computer graphics and I always liked the idea of professionally developing games. If this sounds interesting to you please feel free to follow the new blog about my master's studies. See you there!

29th of May 2016

#47: The results of my studies in Sheffield

The little robot is just a part of the work I've done while studying in Sheffield...

Although it has taken a very long time, you can now have a look at the results of my studies in Sheffield. On the website about my studies, you can not only find my thoughts about the progress of my studies, but also a short summary of the topics we've been going through for several modules. Especially for modules that included finishing some kind of project you'll find some interesting materials and the project itself on the site I linked just now. I hope you have fun exploring some of the materials!

30th of January 2016

#46: Closing words: The end of my semester abroad

Somehow, I understood it as a sign that there appeared a rainbow on my last day in Sheffield! I'm now back in Germany.

An eternity seems to have passed since I wrote my first entry for this blog. To be precise: 139 days elapsed in this time, which certainly have been the hitherto most exciting days of my life. And now, I'm back in Germany and the chapter of my semester abroad ends. I'm very happy I'm now able to say that my time in England was simply great! I made many new acquaintances, had fun while working on my studies, learned a lot of new things and also had some time to get to know the country and the environment. Even though the preparations were sometimes connected to a huge expense, it was a very good decision to go on a semester abroad. Of course, my English improved considerably and it's now a lot easier for me to write a text or conduct a spontaneous conversation. Regarding the marks, this semester was the best until now, as I was enthusiastic about the interesting modules I took. But also apart from my studies, this time certainly was formative for me: To run the own household and organise the own life surely has been an important experience. Luckily, I always had many friendly people around me, who were happy to help me with problems. Sheffield actually even became the first far-off place at which I'm really feeling at home because I'm normally not visiting such a place longer than two weeks e.g. for vacation. But that's also connected to all the nice people I got to know during my time there! I plan to work on the production of my film about Sheffield over the next months, but probably it'll take some time to release, since I've got many ideas and even more video footage... On top of that, my placement at the Max-Planck-Institute in Tübingen will directly start on the 1st of February 2016, so this will presumably request the majority of my time. Anyway, I'm going to try to get it finished as soon as possible. Although the title implies it, this won't be the very last entry in this blog! I'm surely going to notify you when the film about Sheffield has been released and also when I published the results of my studies on my website. Until then, I wish you a good time and want to thank you very much for your interest in my semester abroad. Many thanks to everyone who helped me - with the organisation, the search for accommodation, the studies, the household problems, the life in Sheffield and Erasmus+ for supporting me, of course!
I will surely return someday!

28th of January 2016

#45: The last interviews

On my last day, I had a double interview with Ian and Jim first, then I visited Vino!

Just like last time, today was a very busy last day: I recorded two new interviews and prepared almost everything for tomorrow's departure.
First, I met Ian and Jim with whom I've been in Castleton last weekend. During a funny double interview, they both sat on a bench in the Winter Gardens and talked about all kinds of topics. This was my longest interview so far because we always found new interesting topics to talk about. Among them were, for example: Pub culture, stereotypes, England & Scottland and some special features of Sheffield, of course. After the interview, we had some Fish & Chips together, which was the first time I tried it out! It was very nice to get to know this famous dish before leaving, as well. Directly after this, I met Vino, whom I already know since my first week in Sheffield. He also had great fun while talking about his student life, his way to England and the particularities of the British culture. I'm very glad I was also able to interview three of my fellow students for my film, since I exclusively had staff from the university speaking in an interview until then. Now, I have to say goodbye to Sheffield again - this time for a much longer time... But I am very happy I have been in England for another three weeks. I finished all tasks for my studies and collected lots of new material for my film. Furthermore, I was even able to go on several trips and say goodbye to everyone. Even though I now know the way, I hope that tomorrow's journey will go well again.

27th of January 2016

#44: My trip to York

These three pictures show where I've been in York: National Railway Museum, York Minster and York Art Gallery.

Since yesterday, I've finished all work for my studies at Sheffield Hallam! Time to quickly organise some trips on my own and use the remaining time appropriately. Then, indeed, I haven't been in London because this would request a higher organisational effort, but I wanted to visit York in every case before leaving England. I already got train tickets for around £20 in advance, but with a stunning naturalness, all circumstances worked closely together on letting me miss my train. The bus was terribly delayed, traffic wasn't very fluid and at every bus stop there was a legion of grannies waiting for the bus. At the end, I bought a ticket for the next train to York for another £18. -Yawn- I should try to not be angry about this anymore. However, the day got much better after my arrival in York: The National Railway Museum accommodates countless exhibits related to the railway in England. This was a great place to start for me, as I'm enthusiastic about this topic since my childhood. They even had a restaurant integrated into a railway wagon and some interesting exhibits from outside the United Kingdom. For example, I also saw express trains from Japan and steam locomotives which were exported to China. I've spent a long time there because there was so much to discover.
But nevertheless, I was also interested in other things in York! My next destination was York Minster, where I took part of a guided tour, which was included in the entrance fee. My guide was very friendly and first thought I would study archaeology or history... There were only the two of us until a young couple joined the tour later. During our walk through the breathtaking building, he told us many interesting things: I remember some of them until now because that made an impression on me. The York Minster holds approximately two million pieces of glass which make up 128 wonderful lancet windows - they haven't been destroyed for historical reasons like it was done in other churches and became a distinctive mark of this church. I really enjoyed that! Lastly, I went to the York Art Gallery, where I've only had one hour because of the opening times. But I've been using this time to get a good look around: Again, I liked many of the exhibits very much, especially some of the paintings. And the gallery even showed much more than paintings, since there hasn't been a lack of sculptures, masks and special art constructions. After the gallery closed, I had enough time for getting back to the train station. Although the day didn't start very pleasant, I've got even more very nice memories to balance it out. Good that I visited York!

24th of January 2016

#43: With Ian and Jim in Castleton

Actually, this odd-looking cliff was a street many years ago... But the force of the mountain caused a partial landslide!

I planned to go on a trip with my fellow student Ian for a while now, as he is also enthusiastic about the beautiful environment of Sheffield. Yesterday, we have finally been in Castleton, together with some of Ian's relatives and friends: Jim also joined the trip, he's a very nice friend of Ian. After riding the bus for about an hour, we got to the small English village which is located in the heart of the Peak District. I very much enjoyed the bus ride, as well: You could see some more great views on other villages and the unique landscape between them. I'm sure Castleton itself has even much more to look at but we decided to use our time for a hike to the 'Mam Tor' - it's a quite special mountain near the village. A very interesting phenomenon frequent landslips on the mountain's eastern face, which were caused by an unstable layer of rather soft shale! The picture shows a 'street' on which you could've been able to drive on forty years ago: But it had to be closed quite quickly after that time because large parts of the street kept sliding down... While climbing up, we hiked most of the time on rather paved roads, but getting down again consisted mostly of sliding around: Almost everyone slid at minimum once and got a corresponding amount of mud on their trousers. This was because Ian found it to be quicker if everyone would just stumble down the grassy slope..! But in the end, this even seemed to have been much quicker. In every case, it was a very nice activity, during which I also got to know Ian and Jim a little bit better. They even agreed to giving an interview for my film together this week!
This is something I'm looking forward to, of course.

22nd of January 2016

#42: Interview with C. Holmes

C. Holmes told me many interesting facts and theories about the multicultural city Sheffield. She's very engaged in several faculties of the university!

Since the first session took place, I almost always attended an English course which is held by C. Holmes and especially deals with English pronunciation. It is part of the 'University English Scheme' which gives students the opportunity to improve their English by having some additional workshops and modules. Today, she took some time for an interview for my film, too! One of her main topics was Sheffield as a multicultural city and her theory about this, which reads as follows: In her opinion, Sheffield is such an unstressed city with many different cultures because there are so many of them that one cannot determine a clear majority of one specific culture. Immigrated people don't separate themselves into certain districts - they mix up with other people living here, which leads to a better integration. Furthermore, immigration is a part of the everyday life in Sheffield since a long time (1920) on a small scale. It isn't a recent phenomenon here.
A really interesting comment, which surely will be part of my film about Sheffield!

21st of January 2016

#41: Interview with A. Bromley

That's Andrew in one of the interview rooms of the main building. He's International Experience Senior Officer and very enthusiastic about his job!

Andrew, who already accompanied us international students during our first days in Sheffield, talked about his favourite city in my third interview. His occupation is called International Experience Senior Officer: It is his job to assist the international students while they are studying at Sheffield Hallam. As a member of the International Experience Team, he organises many big events, welcomes new students very warmly during the orientation days and is available as a contact person almost all the time. I'm quite a fan of him because he has already helped newcomers for eight years with constant enthusiasm to get used to the new country, the city and the university, of course. That's why he was also able to tell me interesting things about Sheffield as a city and his job. In my opinion, it's laudable that the university employed such a friendly person for the good of all Internationals!

18th of January 2016

#40: A little bit of snow

Here you can see the river Rivelin, which is quite near to where I live at the moment. There's also some snow on the right!

Now, the snow which was announced in the last days, finally came to Sheffield! But it luckily keeps in bounds, so the traffic isn't really affected. Lottie already warned me against a snowy weather situation because this seems to be a little less common in England than it is in Germany. Yesterday, we had a relaxing walk with the two dogs through a park along the river Rivelin. It's great to see the environment being very natural there, although it's still located in the city. I need to hand in the last two projects for this semester on Friday, so I'm working on these quite focused at the moment. But I'm also having a lot of fun with learning the roots of Unity, which is a powerful game engine. Furthermore, there are two more interviews planned for this week!

14th of January 2016

#39: The first two interviews

M. Ternan and R. Mather both took some time for an interview today! Thanks a lot.

For my film about Sheffield, I've had the first two interviews today! I have met M. Ternan first, who leads the Visual Effects and Animation module. We filmed in the Stop Motion Animation lab, which turned out to be quite a nice scenery. He left interesting comments on his teaching, work in the industry, Sheffield as a city and some more topics. Originally, he's from Northern Ireland, so he was able to tell me very lively about his first time in Sheffield after he moved here. Directly after that, I met R. Mather, who I got to know from his Interactive Media Case Studies module. He doesn't live in Sheffield and used the opportunity to tell me his view of the city. He's already working at Sheffield Hallam University for 16 years and took over more and more modules handling interactive media, creative media and virtual reality because he found it satisfying to work together with students. In addition, he supports several projects of final year students.
I'm very glad that they both took a short time for me today!

10th of January 2016

#38: The second part of my semester in Sheffield

Charlie and Deno, observing the window cleaner on the other side of the street.

I was very relieved when I finally arrived in Sheffield and was immediately welcomed by British rain yesterday. It's been a long and exhausting day, even though this is my second travel to England! I've had absolutely no problems with all flight-related matters this time. Surprisingly, I even had the full row of seats all for myself because this flight wasn't completely booked up... This time, the train from Manchester Airport to Sheffield caused kind of a hurry for me: First, I needed more than a quarter of an hour to find a ticket machine. It wasn't located - as it would be useful - in the waiting rooms directly on the platform. I found them in the darkest, farthest corner of the station building! Because of that, I missed my preferred train, which I would've caught easily without this confusion. It also wasn't easy to find out the right track of my train, since the big screen doesn't show any intermediate stops. But at the latest when I bought another student week ticket in the bus after my arrival in Sheffield, I got familiar feelings again! I was welcomed very friendly by T. Holling and her nice daughters, Charlotte and Sophie. The house is very comfortable, but I'm also having a healthy walk to the bus stop every day. A thing I need to get used to is the domesticated early warning system, consisting of two little dogs: They're barking every time I've been in my room for a while and open the door again. Charlotte went to church with me this morning, which was very nice. Now, I already know four different churches here...

5th of January 2016

#37: Another episode of Hyrule Harmonics

This episode also contains some visual effects work again! It's a quite special one that took me a lot of time and effort to produce...

Just a short notice, by the way:
My series called Hyrule Harmonics celebrates its first anniversary with the release of its 7th episode now! In view of the occasion, I wanted to carry out a very special production, for which I already got several ideas a year ago. I invested a lot of time and effort in this during the last days, but now I'm very happy to see this project finally implemented. I'm also very satisfied with the audio recording, which was qualitatively done by using my new device! But from tomorrow on, I'm really going to work on my studies again...

1st of January 2016

#36: ...and a happy new year!

The 7th episode of Hyrule Harmonics is going to take place in our village's church again!

My hitherto most eventful year came to an end yesterday. I wish you a happy new year and hope that you also had great holidays!
Today, I've spent most of the time on filming for a brand new episode of Hyrule Harmonics, which will be released in the next days. This time, the legendary 3DS game 'Fire Emblem: Awakening' will be there as a guest: You can already look forward to a very special and elaborate production!
From tomorrow on, I'm going to resume my work on all remaining projects for my studies, as well. There are still several tasks to accomplish. I also need to organise several things for my placement semester at the Max-Planck-Institute in Tübingen, which will follow immediately on my last three weeks in Sheffield. It seems like I then won't be able to work as much on my own projects as I want to. At least, I'll try to get on with all those projects equally in the background, almost like a CPU... I'm sure that the new year will be very eventful, too!

25th of December 2015

#35: Merry Christmas!

This is a lovely picture with my father after he returned from the Christmas service. I'm wearing my new T-Shirt with the epic Zelda symbol!

Dear readers, I wish you all happy Christmas and want to thank you for being interested in my semester abroad in Sheffield! I hope you had fun while reading reports and stories from England until now. But as I promised earlier, it's not over yet: You're definitely going to read some more exciting stories over the next month.
Of course, I enjoyed it very much to spend another Christmas together with my family here! A very successful surprise from my sister and my mother was the T-Shirt with the epic symbol of the "Legend of Zelda" video game series on it. It also seems to go very well in combination with my father's robe in the picture together with him! It was made directly after he came back home from his Christmas service. My main present is a professional and compact digital recording device which surely will help me for the next episode of Hyrule Harmonics to achieve super sound! Of course, I also jumped at the chance to get some appropriate presents from England for my family: Among them, there's a teddy bear wearing a 'Sheffield Hallam University' pullover, a vinyl record of Joe Cocker (a famous musician from Sheffield) made in the United Kingdom and a pencil sharpener which looks like the well-known British telephone box...
My family seemed to be very happy with these presents! It's good to be home.

22nd of December 2015

#34: Holidays

Time to play a Christmassy tune on our grand piano! I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my family.

Finally, I'm now having my well-deserved holidays! This gives me a lot of time to play on my Nintendo consoles or the piano again... I looked forward to this for a long time. Yesterday, we placed our Christmas tree in the living room, ready for being decorated by my mother. It now looks great, as you can see in the picture. At the moment, it almost feels like a short vacation because I know that I'll be back in Sheffield soon. By the way, I've got tickets for my next flight to England this morning: I'll be there for another three weeks between the 9th and the 29th of January again, to which I'm already looking forward to!
This even leaves me a free week at the beginning of January for getting as far as possible with all remaining tasks. The more I'm able to accomplish then, the more other things can be done in those last three weeks. This could be some interesting trips, for example!
But this is all for the new year. Now, I'm going to have some peaceful days.

19th of December 2015

#33: Back in Germany

It's good to be back home! Finally, I can have a long walk through the beautiful fields of Entringen again.

Yesterday I arrived safely in Germany! My flight was late again because of a technical defect, but otherwise almost everything went very well.
All passengers had to leave the plane just after successfully finding their seats to wait for a replacement plane at the next gate. This can happen sometimes, so I had no problem with that. It's good to know they won't fly without knowing that everything is going to work fine! I used the time to have a nice conversation with a very friendly Englishman who was quite fit for his age and told me some exciting stories: He already made his way from Manchester to Stuttgart many times by using a bus, train, truck, motorbike, plane and some more methods of transportation. Which such a nice interlocutor, the time literally flew by! (Got it? :D) Of course, I had many stories to tell after my arrival, as well. My family received me cordially, as they prepared some small surprises. It's been a great time in Sheffield, but I was also very happy to live in my own house with my family having plenty of space again. I already played on our pianos and had a long walk through the almost springlike fields of Entringen. A rather warm winter, isn't it? Now, I'm going to enjoy the tranquility while celebrating Christmas. But I'm planning to go back to Sheffield for three weeks in January to finish some recordings for my film about the semester abroad and also to be there for a last programming test. As you see, the adventure hasn't ended yet! I visited T. Holling this week, who will rent a room to me during those weeks in January. It'll also be a good thing to go on some remaining trips and say goodbye to everyone I've got to know, since yesterday's departure was quite a rush.
But for the moment, I'm going to adapt myself to the German rhythm of life again!

17th of December 2015

#32: Last complications

A newer version of my little robot tries to remove a forgotten USB stick from a university computer. My animation project is now done!

It's all quite stressful at the moment, so I wasn't able to work a lot on new entries for this blog. I've got plenty of feedback and suggestions for improvement regarding my 3D animation project yesterday, but I also need a corresponding amount of time to integrate all the improvements. To accomplish this, I had to work on my animation both yesterday and today until the Cantor building closed: It was sometimes quite a mess. After applying many changes to the movements of the robot and its appearance using new, own materials and an edge smoothing modifier, I animated the camera and wanted to have the rendering done as quickly as possible. For all interested readers: This process is about letting the computer calculate the whole sequence of images with all effects and physical correctness e.g. for lights. It's always quite tricky, as it can take several hours! That's why you better find any mistakes before starting to render. Actually, I had enough time - at least until I noticed that any change in the field of view value of my virtual camera isn't meant to be animated and V-Ray render engine doesn't ask for any changes there. If you want to zoom with the virtual camera, you need to animate a 'zoom factor', which I didn't know, of course.
As a result, I rendered three hours for nothing, for a very important zoom wasn't applied in the final result. While rendering everything again, I finished my project report and then merged the rendered clips to produce a final video. My work is now submitted! But, to crown it all, I first forgot to render out a range of frames because I rendered on two computers in parallel and mixed-up two frame numbers. After saying goodbye to our very friendly security guard who wanted to close the building, I noticed I missed the last 95 to Walkley again. After all, my way home for today wasn't as adventurous as it was yesterday: By sprinting through the city centre, I finally got the last 52a which also heads towards Walkley. Yesterday, following Google Maps' recommendation, I tried to catch a 52: But in the heat of the moment, I got on a 52 in the wrong direction! Luckily, I quickly became aware of my error and caught a 52 in the opposite direction... As you can see, it’s all haywire at the moment. It's good to have (almost) everything prepared for my departure tomorrow. At the least, I've already got my train ticket: I didn't expect anything different, but this was also a great vexation!
First, I bought a ticket for the train at 09:11 to Manchester Airport for roughly £10. Surprised to not being rooked there by all means, I was very happy with my purchase. However, this changed when I realised that my flight is not going to take off at the same time it did when my parents got back to Germany... Changing the time of departure from 09:11 to 13:11 took me another £22 today! Yeah! Service. This is in no way inferior to the 'Deutsche Bahn' (The largest German railway company) I'm also going to mess with again when I'm back in Germany!
But now I'm going to have some rest and hope that everything will work tomorrow.

15th of December 2015

#31: Pre-Christmas final spurt

Several stalls of the Christmas market in Sheffield! I've got some nice presents for my family there.

There is one final, but big piece of work I have to accomplish before leaving Sheffield: The 3D Animation Project. We've learned many interesting things about the 3D software 3dsMax and the CAT system from R. Fleming during the whole semester, but now it's time to finish a small project ourselves. I simply used the little robot I invented already for the visual effects and animation project earlier. The animation will feature the robot while it collects a forgotten USB stick from a university computer to bring it back to its owner. This sequence seems quite appropriate for the animation assessment because it must contain several specified actions: The character is not only requested to climb to an elevated position and jump down again, but also to interact with one or more other objects. These rules exist because we focused on those topics in our lectures, so we should be able to apply all the actions. I'd like to have much more time for this project but it's obvious that you cannot start with a project until you've internalised all important contents of the lecture. The problem is that, unfortunately, I was very busy in the last time, especially with working on the visual effects shot. But at the least, I'm now familiar with the two systems for character animation because I already animated the robot in six scenes for this project.
By the way, yesterday I had an appointment with P. Vacher regarding the object-oriented programming task, which I regrettably had to continue without the help of Ian because he apparently didn't work very much on it. Anyway, she seemed to be very satisfied, though. I even had fun with solving the questions: I never thought that I'd acquire a taste for C++ so much...

11th of December 2015

#30: Deadline

My little robot needs to put a great effort in pushing this relatively heavy door...

The first module is done now! Not later than today, I was required to hand in my little project for the visual effects and animation module, in which I've invested a lot of work over the whole semester. But now, I'm even more satisfied with the result: The short video is about a little (computer generated) robot which brings USB sticks back to their owners when they accidentally forget them after using one of the university computers. On its way to a room with an 'USB-stick-less' student, it even interacts with the heavy door of the room, which he gets opened at the end, despite its size. I'm going to add this short film to the 'visual effects' category on my website, but this has to wait until I made some improvements which I simply wasn't able to do in the last week. In addition, I'm also going to make my short report for this module available: It contains some more information about the video clip and also its development. Actually, I already handed this in yesterday because I had the final test for the programming for games module today, which put our knowledge about DirectX programming to the test. It was very good to have some additional time for preparing for this. Luckily, I've got full marks this time because I hurried up a little bit and didn't put too much effort in the extensibility of my functions. The last thing I need to carry out for this module is a game prototype which I'm planning to do over Christmas.
And speaking of it: I'll already be back in Germany again in one week...
Time to prepare my departure.

6th of December 2015

#29: Trip to Cambridge

Here you can see the famous King's College, my GPS tracked route, a statue of Isaac Newton and a punt on the Cam.

After some time, I went on a trip again yesterday! Even though I'm very busy at the moment, I didn't want to miss the trip to Cambridge, which was offered by the university for only £12. This contained a bus ride to Cambridge and back: It's hardly surprising that the organisers managed to fill three large coach buses with students... Despite the weather condition wasn't very stable, it actually didn't rain - but it was so windy that my hair went in all directions. Anyway, that's much better than rain! I've explored Cambridge on my own because I normally enjoy such trips to big cities more if I don't need to fit into a certain group of people.
To get some ideas of what we could do there, we were given a sheet of paper with several recommendations for interesting attractions and a basic map. This was very helpful - I visited some of the places they listed on the sheet. It seemed like there was some kind of Christmas market at the same day, why the city was quite crowded. I don't know if this is the normal situation, however, that didn't prevent me from exploring the city in detail: All in all, I covered a distance of quite exactly 10km in those five hours we had. These data were recorded during a GPS track, which I started to know where I already have been. My first destination was the Trinity College, where Isaac Newton studied together with many other luminaries. For a small fee, I was allowed to take a look inside and walk through the spacious campus and it was also possible to enter its own chapel which was elegantly furnished. Punting seemed to enjoy great popularity: It's an activity that consists of a boat tour on the Cam, the river floating through Cambridge. This reminded me of the punts for which my native town Tübingen is famous for, but I preferred it to have a nice walk along the river instead. My next very interesting destination was the Museum of Cambridge. There was an exhibition with a variety of historic objects from many eras, which were all somehow connected to the city or generally to England. After I viewed all three floors of this remarkable building, I had a lovely break in a tea room, which also belonged to the museum. Of course, I saw many other places of Cambridge in passing on my way through the city, so I got a quite good impression of the city when it was time to leave again. This was really a rewarding trip again - I'm glad to have been there. And by the way: Today, I've been visiting Bob & Mary a second time, which of course was very nice again. But now it's time to focus strongly on the last, huge bit of work! I'll be at home in two weeks now...

1st of December 2015

#28: Releasing a new episode of Hyrule Harmonics

Thanks to Ruth and Ali, there is an electronic piano in the office room. Great for recording my new episode of Hyrule Harmonics.

Actually, I was planning to release the 6th episode of my almost one year old series "Hyrule Harmonics", in which I perform music from the fascinating video game series "The Legend of Zelda", already in early November. But as you can imagine, I'm busy here in Sheffield, why I haven't as much time for my own projects left as normally. Although with a delay of one month, I'm even more glad to present you a new work from the Zelda universe today: This new episode is mainly about the peaceful song "Kakariko Village", which can be heard in some of the games when Link visits the idyllic village "Kakariko". I've got the idea for playing this song because I didn't really have much time for practicing a new music sheet, so I decided to choose something easy that I already figured out while playing it by ear. In addition, I started to play "A Link Between Worlds" again a few weeks ago, which also contains this song. A great game that I already really loved to play when it was released two years ago during my first semester of study. As a little bonus, you'll hear the short but ingenious game intro at the beginning and the well-known song of the fairy fountains at the end. All in all, it was fun to record the first time with an electronic piano because it's (at least from the technical point of view) much easier and problem-free than recording for example a grand piano. I'm very happy to even have a piano in my house while being in Sheffield! Thanks to Ruth and Ali. I also used one of the integrated synthesizer instruments which simulates a vibraphone to improvise a second part, like it was done in the new arrangement of that song in "A Link Between Worlds". Very funny...
But now, have fun with my new episode!

30th of November 2015

#27: It's getting Christmassy!

A little Christmas tree, bought and decorated by Tim and Sophie today. What a nice Christmassy atmosphere!

When the days are drawing in and (almost) everyone buries oneself in one’s work, I'm looking forward to the Christmas time every year. But this year, it's all a bit different because I'll stay in Sheffield until just before Christmas... Therefore, my parents brought specially for me some packages with my favourite gingerbread and a little Advent calendar with them, as they visited Sheffield together with my sister a month ago. Of course, I'm noticing that I always felt very comfortable with our home life, which perhaps sometime has been taken for granted. I'm already missing many things which traditionally belonged to the Advent season at home. I was even more happy when Tim and Sophie brought a small Christmas tree with them today and set it up right away in the living room! After a short time, the tree was even already decorated with fairy lights and Christmas baubles, so the room looked almost like it would look at the day before Christmas. I never would've thought of this because in my family, we only set up the Christmas tree a few days before Christmas... It was lovely to have my dinner in a dim room while listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Great, it seems like I'll have an atmospheric Advent here, as well!

24th of November 2015

#26: My first live football match

The match between Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town took place in the Bramall Lane Stadium. But Sheffield United lost...

Someone who knows me could probably confirm that I'd never voluntarily go to the football stadium or even pay money for it. But today, I was surprised by an invitation from Vino, who got some free tickets for a football match between Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town from the students' union. Since I probably won't get another opportunity to see a real football match just like that back in Germany, I gladly accepted his invitation. Of course, I had some doubts at the beginning because judging by the average volume level produced by the fans in TV broadcasts I've watched so far, you're most likely not surrounded by people you'd also meet in a classical concert. But on the whole, I must say that I was even fairly satisfied regarding this concern! It was just a little bit too narrow for sitting properly on the seat (especially with long legs) and when I left the stadium, I felt like being already half way in hibernation because this year's nice and warm autumn subsided now. And furthermore, Sheffield United lost the match 2 : 4 at the end... Well.
But regardless of the outcome, I have to confess that I simply can't get very excited about this sport... In any case, this was a good chance to meet my international friends again! It's been a while since our last activity, so I was happy to meet them even during stressful times.

21st of November 2015

#25: A lot to do

Here, I'm still working at the university around 8pm in order to finish countless tasks...

Now, we had the longest break between my last entry and this one since I started this blog.
But the main reason for this is that the first deadlines are approaching in almost two weeks and I'll need to have some of my projects done until then. And to be quite frank, I'm now doing almost nothing else than working on my projects because otherwise, I wouldn't get them finished before their deadline. This weekend, I'll be writing my short research task about activity games for the Nintendo Wii. After that, it'll be the highest priority to finish my short clip with visual effects and the affiliated project report. I'm using camera tracking in order to integrate a little computer generated robot into handheld real-world footage. Because the camera was moved, I need to take care while transferring tracking data: Otherwise, the computer generated robot won't "stay" on the real ground. The next aim should be to finish all exercises which we received this week for the object-oriented programming module together with my friendly project partner Ian. I talked a lot with Ian during the last weeks and we seem to be quite similar! In parallel, I need to create a 3D animation with any bipedal character climbing, jumping, falling and also interacting with other objects. I'll just use my little robot here, again. All movements are completely produced with the computer, why it's very challenging to create a natural motion. Last but not least, I have to keep up with the programming for games module: We're going through lighting in computer graphics and how to represent light behaviour mathematically in shaders. Phew, four more weeks of discipline to go! But then, I'm going to enjoy Christmas back in Germany...

14th of November 2015

#24: Money, money, money...

Normally, the text on my credit card reads "Gut." which means "good" in German. But I think "Nicht gut." which means "not good" is more appropriate in my case.

Somehow, I have some problems with my motivation since my family is gone. That's why I'm only staying at home again and trying to make some progress with my studies this weekend. Accordingly, there aren't lots of new things to tell, also because I had to cancel today's trip to the "Ladybower Reservoir" due to the bad weather. But I want to seize the opportunity to complain about something that annoyed me, even though it isn't a very serious problem. During the preparations for my semester abroad, I got a credit card (MasterCard) with a basic contract.
I was told that everyone uses credit cards and it would be super easy to access my money. The concept is easy: "Simply top up your credit card just like the SIM card in your beloved smart phone and use it for paying worldwide wherever a credit card is needed." Basically, this sounded like a convenient system to me. But I think, I'd now add another sentence just for completeness: "...and then, look forward to receiving unreasonably high charges for every single stupid transaction with a delay of several days after hitting on the fact that you have to activate the online transaction log manually!"
Yes, I know, sounds great. You'll not only be charged with a percentage fee for the unbelievable exhausting "mission abroad" (done by my local bank). You'll also have to pay at least 5€ just for using the cash machine! Exceeding a defined amount of money will also turn this into a percentage fee. Initially, I didn't know about this, of course, as there wasn't a single word about those fees in the ever so great brochures I got from my local bank. I've already payed 25€ (around £18) only for accessing a cash machine three times. If you add the unbelievable-exhausting-mission-abroad fee (also charged for online payments) to this, I've now spent 32€ (around £23) for nothing! Yay! This is three times as much as the basic charge for just having the credit card one semester and would've been sufficient for supplying my household with food over almost two weeks. As I also mentioned earlier, the online system refreshes the transaction list so slow that I was often waiting several days for seeing my current balance. Wow, I've actually expected this somehow right from the beginning, but I wouldn't have thought they'd squeeze money out of their customers by this means...
But now, I quickly need to motivate myself because I've lots of other work to do!

10th of November 2015

#23: Reconfigured to the British biological rhythms

The entrance of our cafeteria. You can choose from two hot meals every day, which are £4.50 each. (Roughly three times more than in my cafeteria in Germany)

In the last time, I've been noticing more and more that I already adapted myself quite well to the British biological rhythms. The most striking difference, however, is that you don't really get a proper lunch. It was often the case that I only had a meal again at 5pm in the evening since my extensive breakfast. In between, you're trying to restrain the hunger with little things like sandwiches or muffins. Only for the dinner, it's usual to have a hot meal. The interesting thing is that I actually got used to that! And it seems to me like this is even a way of being more productive because one uses the main daytime for making progress with their work and not spending much time with eating. But in the evening, when it's probably harder to work concentrated on something, you can reward yourself with an extended cooking session. Maybe, this was the reason why my initial search for a good and cheap opportunity for having lunch has been disappointed a bit: In the cafeteria named "Chef Hallam" are only half as many dishes offered than in our cafeteria in Germany. Additionally, it's much more expensive because students don't have to pay less than normal guests. And for the most part, I wouldn't say that the meals are better here... This simply seems to be the result of the not really needed lunch meal. Accordingly, restaurants open around 4pm in the evening for serving the dinner. But what I'm really missing is the apple spritzer from my region. (I had to smile while looking up this word because "spritzer" is the exact German word for "spatter"...) Anyway, I couldn't find anything comparable here (except from Coca Cola). The bottled apple spritzer I tried so far tasted terribly sweetened and quite artificial.
Even it's not very healthy, I normally have some Coca Cola for the dinner...

7th of November 2015

#22: Saying goodbye to my family again

My mother took this picture at the railway station of Sheffield. Goodbye!

Yesterday, we savored dishes from the British cuisine during a nice dinner in the Fox House. Although we had some problems reading the menu because of some unknown words, we all were very satisfied with our order. Also, I finally got the opportunity to taste an original British apple crumble for the dessert! However, today was a day of farewell again: I joined my family at the railway station, where they boarded the train to Manchester. Now we'll see each other only at Christmas again. But we agreed in this evening's video conference that we had a great time together in Sheffield and I've been able to show some of the best things in Sheffield to my family. I'm very glad that they liked it to be here. As for me, I'll first have to catch up on my to do list for now because I was of course rather on the move with my family than working something for my studies during the last week...

5th of November 2015

#21: British Afternoon Tea

A fantastic place for having a rest and enjoying delicious food! Music and lovely waitress included.

Today, I had the most time to do something with my family because Thursday is my day off. The female part of us was out for shopping in the morning, while the male part had a nice hike in the Peak District. I know a path to the Burbage Edge, where we went a month ago, so I decided to visit this place together with my father again. We got quite a misty day, which gave the valley a very special atmosphere. I was a little bit surprised by the sparse bus service to this area, which probably has been reduced with the recent timetable change on the 1st of November.
But the very highlight of the day was our subsequent visit of Jameson's Tea House: We felt all very comfortable there because one seemed to have thought about every detail. A piano player was playing some relaxing live music for the guests (I would also love to do that) and when he was finished, there was well-chosen jazz music played at a pleasant volume. The tableware was differently decorated on every table and the rooms were generally very stylish. The comely waitress was very friendly to us and it was hard to decide what to pick from the menu because it contains a wide range of the most delicious specialties for every taste. And of course, I really enjoyed my meal. With that, the tea house even compensated the terrible bus ride in a crowded bus to get there...
I'll certainly pop in there again. In the evening, I cooked something nice for my family at home. I was glad to sit at the table with my family again. Thankfully, my parents took charge of washing the dishes. In Addition, they helped me with what they discovered after that: On top of the cupboard, there were sprouts growing out of some onions which have been put there! I never noticed that before. A closer look discovered that some of them were totally rotten and lying in a small, very bad smelling puddle of liquid. Hence, my parents disposed the onions and tried to clean the top of the cupboard with some cleansers and an odor spray. I'm happy that my parents were able to help me with that. I presumably would have freaked out after discovering this (although I should have been accustomed to that kind of surprises now).
I'm going to have several lectures tomorrow, so my family will get some time for themselves, as they also have to prepare their return journey again. But for the dinner, I booked a table in the "Fox House Inn" this morning, which isn't far from the route to Burbage Edge.

4th of November 2015

#20: My family is visiting Sheffield!

There we are as a (temporary) united family again: Sitting in the 95 to Walkley and enjoying a nice tour.

Since yesterday, my family is now in Sheffield to visit me for four days! I'm very glad it was possible for them to come to Sheffield during the German autumn holidays. My mother rented a nice little house in the inner city district named "Highfield" over an internet platform. It looked very nice and the landlady seems to be concerned about the welfare of her guests. The weather we've got until now was quite British with some rain from time to time, but nevertheless we went in for many things. I'm surprised how quickly my family was able to orientate themselves in the city! After buying some sandwiches, we went to my house for having lunch and a look around there. In the afternoon, we had a nice tour in the bus line I'm usually taking (95) further up to Walkley and then back to town. This was a great opportunity to see more of the city without the need of walking the whole distance. Furthermore, it's one of the best feelings for newcomers to sit in the upper front of a double-decker bus and literally hover over the street... Luckily, we've had no rain during the bus tour. While my parents organised something for their return journey on Saturday at the train station, I've got a chance to try out the piano in the main hall. It was funny, even though some keys weren't producing a sound and it was quite out of tune. But then, we had a wonderful end of the day during a dinner at Piccolo's small (and very noble) pizzeria located in the West Street. It was enjoyable to go out for food together as a family again!

1st of November 2015

#19: Beautiful weather on Halloween

This is a nice street in my neighbourhood. The sun was shining bright today!

I used the previous day to go on a photo tour through Sheffield on my own. I got again to many places where I've been before. And although it was the day of the in England extensive celebrated Halloween, I got a surprisingly beautiful weather! As you can see in the picture, the sun was shining in the blue sky like it would've been a lovely summer day. Today it was even so warm that I was able to have a nice walk in the neighbourhood without my jacket. It was fun to explore the city and discover new places.
I'm not a person who makes a lot of Halloween, but nevertheless it was funny to see how many people here in England like this special eve very much. The staff of the bakery, where I'm already among the regulars, even wore matching headgears: Witty headband boppers, witches hats and devil horns. Also, small firecrackers were sold, as they apparently are part of Halloween here. And by the way: I'm very glad that Adam installed the new boiler on Friday! We've now a pleasant temperature in our house again. The new boiler even works better than the old...

28th of October 2015

#18: Sitting in the cold but not getting a cold

Ok, I confess it's not that bad... But I couldn't help doing this photomontage.

...this is my motto for the current situation in my house. The reason for that is our boiler, which decided to quit his approximately twenty years of lifetime exactly in those three months in which I'm here. Last week on Thursday, I heard a loud bang, which I would've situated in the kitchen, while requesting warm water in the bathroom. For the moment I found nothing special there, so I thought it might have come from the outside because of its loudness. But at the latest when a small puddle emerged in front of the cupboard on Friday and there was no more warm water coming for the faucets and radiators, I contacted S. Evans, who has set up a contract with Ruth & Ali to look after the house. In addition, I discovered the source of the puddle in front of the cupboard: Water was slowly dripping out of the boiler, floating right behind the cupboard and collecting in front of it again. Luckily, one of our metal plates was the right size to catch the drops directly under the boiler. Sam organised that I got visited by Adam, who is plumber by profession, directly at Monday morning. He is a very nice person! He spoke especially clear for me, so I was able to understand the problem with the boiler. He also told me that he has been on a tour through Germany and visited Reutlingen, the city where I'm studying! Fortunately, he knew his stuff very well, so he found the problem(s) very quick. The diagnosis was: "Kaputt". This is German for "totally broken". The pressure regulation unit hasn't done its job properly, whereby the temperature exchange unit exploded! (So I've heard correctly...) Additionally, the water dripped over the main board, therefore the gas ignition wasn't triggered anymore.
Now I'm waiting for Ruth & Ali arranging something with Adam, so he can install a new boiler at the end of the week. Until that, I need to wear my winter jacket indoors, because the house temperature is around 15°C. But it's not that cold and I'm happy it didn't happen in the middle of December while having negative temperatures... Furthermore, I've an electrical heater in my room and the shower heats its water separately. Cooking also warms up the kitchen.
And thanks to Sam, Adam and Ruth & Ali it'll be repaired as quickly as possible.

25th of October 2015

#17: Visiting Bob & Mary

This are Bob & Mary, sitting in the main room of the St Philip's church in Sheffield. We went there together.

Today I visited Bob & Mary, a friendly couple from Sheffield. They helped me with my search for accommodation very much. As mentioned in the introduction text, I got to know them while they visited my village in Germany this spring. And it was so nice to meet them here again! Luckily, their house is just a few bus stops away from my house, so it was very easy to get there. But it was very confusing that there were two bus routes with the number 52 on the distance section which I used. One is owned by the company "First", for which I got a week ticket, and the other is owned by "Stagecoach". But of course the one from Stagecoach arrived first and I payed for a ticket because I didn't know anything about the two bus lines... Now I know it. Mary cooked two very delicious types of "Quiche Lorraine" for us, which we had together with salad and potato wedges! It was a good thing to have a lively conversation in English after a week I had spent more withdrawn. The two also told me about their travel plans: They love travelling around a lot to visit various countries and build up an international network of Christians. By doing that, they work for the organisation "fresh expressions". Of course we also went together to the church in the evening for a special student gathering. This was another opportunity for me to meet new people: One of my enthusiastic interlocutors has even sung the German national anthem for me! I think, I'll certainly stop by there once again. And by pure coincidence, my friend Vino, who invited me to another church a few weeks ago, suddenly took a seat next to me...
When we got home to Bob & Mary again, I got a very special dessert: Toffee pudding with custard. This was outstanding - I enjoyed it very much! This is actually one of the very British dishes. As a German hearing the word pudding, I thought of a blancmange first, but it's more of a "sticky cake". It was also very important for Bob to have custard (vanilla sauce) with the chocolatey dessert. I really enjoyed this Sunday with Bob & Mary!

23rd of October 2015

#16: Problems with the household

Slugs, spiders, caterpillars, mould and more. Not everything works well, especially the household...

In the last days, I had to waste plenty of time, which I would have really needed to make a good progress with my studies, with hundreds of adversities regarding the household - that really annoyed me. As a person who feels disgusted quickly, it therefore spoiled my mood to face new problems of this kind every day. If you'd rather like to read about the next great event with great people and great conversations having great weather, then I'd recommend you to skip this entry for health reasons. Because I had almost a bit of everything. And it's not a thing of the last days because I was already put to the test since my arrival here - this topic only has reached gigantic proportions recently. But first things first: It somehow got my task to look after the garbage over the time. But at the beginning, it wasn't done by simply changing the trash bag and putting the trash can on the street: The bin didn't seem to have been emptied over a month until my clean-up operations. One can certainly imagine, how especially the organic waste (complete paprika, wedged of apple and much more) has looked and smelled like. In addition, the waste for recycling was sorted incorrectly into the blue trash can and the blue box. As a Swabian, I sorted that of course, too. A few weeks ago, I came into the kitchen in the middle of the night (I've had to complete some work for the next day), when I spotted three slugs crawling over the not yet cleaned tableware, which we left there after the dinner. They probably came through the window, that we've left open by mistake. Some days after that, I noticed a movement from the corner of my eye while working on something in the office room. When I turned my head to the side, I looked directly at a gigantic spider which was pretty sure a lot bigger than the whoppers you can find in our garage in Entringen. A similar exemplar was even suddenly sitting in the middle of the kitchen a few days ago. This week, a caterpillar, that was probably going to develop into a moth, crawled out of a package of spaghetti. I even previously noticed some of them flying around in the house. Their small, white eggs stuck at the bottom of the noodles. I don't really want to know what else is crawling there without being spotted by me. But the most awful and most recent vexation was the three days old washing tub, filled with water and tableware, which I attended to after the mentioned time. The underside was already partially covered with a black fur of mould. There was also mould in the sink where the tub was standing in. After washing the slippery dishes from the tub, I removed the fur of mould using my pajama pants as a face mask. But with that, the terrible stench, which I already noticed, got even more intense. Only after washing all remaining dishes and applying a bunch of cleansers and odor sprays yesterday, it got better.
Whatever awaits me during my remaining time here: I'm going to proceed against that with quick and rigorous actions, but hopefully I'll just don't have to endure even more of that. Namely, together with the normal work of cooking, washing, tidying and shopping, it then completely distracts me from my studies. Who knows, maybe it serves my toughening up...

20th of October 2015

#15: Working for my studies

One of our lab rooms in the Cantor building. Everything you need for doing great work!

My university offers a well maintained IT infrastructure. Countless applications from all sections of modern media production are available for the students at the computers in the lab rooms. And they are always kept up to date! With this, it's very easy to try different ways of getting tasks done, while learning about new applications. Furthermore, I've never found myself standing in front of closed doors, as the lab rooms seem to be open for independent working. This is great if you like to have more time for thinking about your work.
At the moment, I'm seeking intently for an idea for my video with visual effects. But now it's time to find something good to start with, because I'm going to record my scenes in two days. I've even borrowed a professional camera already, which is offered by the "Creative Media Center" of the university. It's really easy to book things from there via the online system. Students are allowed to get a camera even for four days at a stretch! I hope that everything will work for my recordings...

17th of October 2015

#14: A calm weekend

Wow. When I saw this tooltip the first time, I thought: "I really only want to do a very basic thing!".

I think I'll have some rest this weekend. Because after so many events in the last month, it's even more important to have also some quiet days. Now the weather gets noticeably colder, why I need to be careful to not getting ill. This allows me for these days to do some things for my studies, bring up to date the household and of course playing again on my Nintendo 3DS a little bit. One of my major tasks at the moment is to get a better understanding of our main programming language. The most things are easy to transfer from Java, but some little things seem to be completely different. In C++, a distinction is made between variables, references to variables and pointers to variables. In Java, there are only references and primitive data types. This is one of the topics which are difficult for me to transfer from one language into the other. Because a declaration of a variable in Java does the same thing as a null pointer in C++. But an actual instantiation in C++ exactly matches a declaration in Java. And as you can see in the image even with a very simple example, the tooltips seem to be not very helpful... The module "Programming for Games" is a lot of work to do. But I have to laud Mr. Featherstone for his thoughtful materials! You're approaching slowly to a complex application, while adding a few more functions every week. And the topic is so exciting: Finally, I'm taught the principles of modern computer graphics.
This contains not only further tricks in C++ and mathematical knowledge, but also the hardware interaction and data flow! Here I'm really learning a lot.

13th of October 2015

#13: Picnic in the autumnal park

It was a very nice place to have a picnic there. We're all from different countries!

Although we have October already, I was invited to a lovely picnic at the Norfolk Park. This was an idea of the same people, with whom I had the picnic on top of the Burbage Edge last Sunday. But originally, I didn't know about that and planned other things for my Sunday: I actually only wanted to attend a service together with my friendly fellow student Vino, who offered me to visit the "Elim" church sometime. There were so many kind people that I was quite overwhelmed with satisfying all the greetings I got in the crowded room. As many of the pastries, which were offered after the service, seemed to be left, they gave a paper plate full of them to me! The friendly elderly man, who had baked them, seemed very happy with distributing them among the remaining people. On our way back, Vino wanted to show me his room in his hall of residence, what sounded also interesting to me. Until I got an extra bag for putting the pastries in, I carried them all the way through the city in my hands. Suddenly, a man spoke to me in the pedestrian zone: "Can I have something to eat?". Although I was very surprised because of his forthright enquiry, he got one of my pastries, of course. I think, that was probably my good deed for this Sunday...
After Vino told me about the picnic and showed his room to me, we moved together to the meeting place. It was nice to see the round of the people from our walk to the Burbage Edge again! I even think, we were only international students. We talked about many topics, walked through the park and ate tasty snacks. It was funny to compare specific things between our countries. After all, every one of us was able to report about a different country. On the whole, I was almost out during the complete Sunday, though.
I better start completing some deferred tasks...

10th of October 2015

#12: The Burbage Edge

That's me in front of a great view of a valley located in the Peak District.

Two weeks ago I wrote about a hiking trip to the Peak District. Today I was again on a trip to the beautiful national park and realised that we only brushed against the edge of the huge area during our last trip. For our hike today, we took the bus to the Fox House, which is a pub "in the middle of nowhere", as my flatmate had described. But he told me, that even so it's visited by many people because of the nice atmosphere. We stood around for some time to wait for the other part of the group, which took a later bus, enough time for realising that the temperatures out there are much colder than in the city...
From there, we walked a long path up to Burbage Edge, while having very friendly conversations with other students. Many of them are internationals, as well! Then, at a certain point, the variety of photo opportunities seemed to increase with every passing step: When we were walking up the path close to the edge, a great view of the complete valley slowly offered itself to us. Every time I carefully stowed my camera in the bag, I saw another amazing view, which I wanted to record immediately. Once at the top, we had a nice picnic:
I ate together with some very nice people and enjoyed the fantastic view. What a beautiful place! So much nature, so quiet. The descent was a lot more adventurous, because we had to jump over sticks, stones and creeks. All in all, that was the best trip in Sheffield so far!

7th of October 2015

#11: Living in Sheffield

Sheffield by night. I took this picture on a very steep street near to my house.

Three weeks ago, it was my first day at Hallam University and I seem to be settled in now. At least I grabbed my camera again for taking this night scene of Sheffield. As you can see in the picture, I'm living in quite a hilly city. Coming from the region around Tübingen and Stuttgart, I'm indeed used to that. But I wouldn't have thougt that Sheffield would have so many hills. I discovered the place for taking this picture while having a walk around in the neighborhood... The steep street offers a great view of the city, especially at night. By the way, I finally managed to wash my first batch of clothes at the weekend. Well, you never stop learning... Furthermore I'm glad to have permanent internet in our house now. My flatmate found a special and very cheap deal for that! It will be much easier to work with that. Since yesterday, it started raining again. But I also have to defend the famous British weather: This is the first time since my arrival in England it's actually raining again.
Nevertheless, it is time to think about buying an umbrella...

4th of October 2015

#10: Trip to the park

Our group of students in front of the most beautiful view of Sheffield.

The weekend is simply the best time to go for some trips: Today we visited Sheffield's biggest park and the Bishop's House. It was one of the most varied trips so far, because it combined several interesting things: At first, we took the bus to the Graves Park. We had a walk through the beautiful area and also some time for visiting a small farm, which holds many animals of the most interesting species. Then, we walked to the Bishop's House and got a guided tour with a friendly elderly gentlemen through the historical rooms. The house itself was inhabited by many families over the years, at one point in time even by two bishops with seven and eleven children... Finally, we enjoyed probably the best view of Sheffield: There is a large and steep meadow near to the Bishop's House from which you can see the entire city. You can find me in the photo by my inconspicuous blue jacket on the edge. But now I shoudn't forget to do some preparations for next week, as there are already some things to work on.

2nd of October 2015

#9: Studying at Hallam University

A big and very modern lecture hall of Hallam University.

After my free day on Thursday, I've had my other two new modules today. The morning was occupied by the "3D Animation Project" with R. Fleming, which will teach me advanced techniques for 3D design and 3D Animation. That was very interesting for me! The last lecture for this week was "Programming for Games" with M. Featherstone, to whom I like to listen to very much because of his dry humor, even though I occasionally don't understand some words. In this module, we will work with DirectX for programming games. The timetables at Hallam University seem to be more relaxed, since a lecture normally lasts only an hour. I think this is a good duration, because this topic reminds me of the the module "Internetworking" in my third semester Wednesdays, which had two breaks and lasted 4.5 hours! In return you have to watch out in Sheffield if you have to change the building, because your ways between the lectures are much longer here. Furthermore I'm happy with the lectures not starting before 9am and having only one lecture scheduled there, for I'm mostly not online early in the morning. Something I'm missing here at the end of the lectures is that the students don't knock with their knuckles on the desks after the lecturer spoke his concluding words. In Germany, that is practiced to formally close the lecture and thank the professor for his work. It's not very respectful if the noise level slowly covers up the final words of the lecturer...

30th of September 2015

#8: My studies got started!

This chinese take-away restaurant is very close to my house. Great food!

Now for three out of five modules I know how my studies will look! At first I've had a lecture about visual effects with the very entertaining M. Ternan. This is about effects, which are put in films digitally during postproduction. After that, I've been at the first appointment for my module called "Interactive Media Case Studies". There are only eight people there! The aim is to develop a game for a device named "SmartFloor". This invention consists of a pressure sensitive floor with 36 panels and two projectors for displaying something on both the floor and a screen in front of it. With that, it's possible to determine the position of a person on the floor and the amount of pressure that is caused by the person. I think this inspires everyone loving games to have ideas, which let you jump and run around. R. Mather, who teaches the module, cares about my special situation very much: I'm only here for one semester, and studying here seems to be divided into academic years with two connected semesters. I've also had my first lecture of "Object-oriented Programming" with P. Vacher. Although I did a lot of this in Germany with Java, it'll be a great possibility to get even more into the C++ language. And anyway: Every repetition strengthens knowledge and broadens the mind! The day before yesterday I had a cozy dinner with my flatmate, who cooked delicious pasta for us, and today I tentatively bought "Chow Mein with chicken", a chinese dish: That was really outstanding! As you can see, I'm discovering some culinary delights, too. I even cooked a few easy dishes for students by myself...

27th of September 2015

#7: An eventful weekend

We hiked together from our university through Sheffield to the edge of the Peak District.

This weekend I went on two trips, which were organised by the university. Yesterday we hiked to the edge of the "Peak District". Again, we crossed many of Sheffield's streets and had a nice view of the city. I was surprised how many other students wanted to join this excursion: There were about thirty to forty people. Today we went to the museum in Weston Park in Sheffield. Many topics from the history of the city and the British Culture were covered, but there was also a huge part which was about world history. You could say it was a very interesting combination of a History Museum and a Museum of Natural History. Of course, there have been some materials about Sheffield in the role of an industrial city, which is well-known for its steel production. With many media and museum pieces of all types, it didn't become boring. And Weston Park is a nice place to be, too!
Tomorrow will be my first regular day with lectures at the university. According to my timetable I will luckily have a free day on Thursday. I'm very excited about what the teaching will look like. However, it's good to know that I'll have my mixture of very interesting modules! So I'm going to trust that it will be motivating and fun to work through the topics.

25th of September 2015

#6: The cryptographic challenge

I was glad to even get a price of £10 for our programming work!

I trained my C++ skills over the last two days for the cryptographic challenge, which took place at our faculty today. Groups of two people had to complete programming tasks: The aim was to get quickly through a series of encrypted messages by getting the password from each message. Therefore, it was necessary to write a program for decrypting the message. After typing the password from one message into a web system, we got the next encrypted text together with some useful information about the algorithm used. My partner and I even won a £10 Amazon gift card each! It was very fun to work together and figure out the solutions. He had a very good proposal for our team name:
We went as "Team Stuttgart" to the competition... The methods we had to use ranged from the well-known Caesar's code to the modern one-time pad. In every case I'm very glad to both meet a nice fellow student and improve my basic C++ knowledge. Again, I realise positively that Sheffield Hallam University cares about the students very much: There is almost always something planned one can participate in. That makes a very good impression.

23rd of September 2015

#5: Fully enrolled since Monday!

Taking the bus is a lot cheaper with my student card...

I finally got my student card today! The first thing I did with it was to buy a week ticket for the bus. I need that because my street is located on one of the seven hills in Sheffield, which is called "Walkley". On foot it would take roughly 40 minutes to get into the city, for which reason I prefer to take the bus for 10 to 20 minutes. Unfortunately, without a student card I had to pay £1.80 per trip last week. The week ticket for students is only £8 in comparison! I've also got some formal things done, for example the council tax certificate for students, and I finally met with my contact person for Erasmus here in Sheffield, P. Collier. She told me that my studies would be consisting of a various modules out of a total of three courses! So I will be together with three different groups of people.
I'm very glad to have this diverse selection of modules for getting as many interesting topics as possible! There was a general induction into the library and other main systems on Tuesday, which I attended together with some not very talkative ACES freshers. But it was pretty much the same I've heard during the orientation programme. Today and tomorrow I intend to familiarise with the C++ programming language, because this will be very important for some of my modules. In addition, on Friday I will be at the "cryptographic challenge", where this basic knowledge is needed. I hope it's possible to transfer some parts of my Java knowledge to the C++ programming language, which I've never used by myself before in a project...

20th of September 2015

#4: In the botanical gardens

The main building of the botanical gardens. I have to confess that the squirrel was a little bit smaller...

After having some rest yesterday, I joined a trip to the botanical gardens in Sheffield. Even though the summer is gone for this year, there were still many blooming flowers with bumble bees on them. It was also very funny to observe the squirrels scurrying over the grass! After this little walk, I seem to know the streets in Sheffield a bit better. My flatmate invited me to the opening event of a Baptist church on Ecclesall Road this evening. As a member of the staff and a musician in the band, he invested a lot of time and effort into the preparation of this event. So of course I wanted to visit the event: The way of doing the service is indeed very different from the way I know, but it was really interesting to be there and listen to the music. The people are so friendly: I was welcomed from all sides and had many nice conversations. Tomorrow is the first day of the induction week, where the students will be welcomed at their respective faculties. My faculty is called ACES, which stands for "Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences".
I'm looking forward to learning something about the professional aspects of my studies. This is probably the point in time when the other students from England will join in.
It will be nice to meet them. Furthermore, I will get to know my future teachers.
In every case it will be interesting!

18th of September 2015

#3: The orientation days

An enthusiastic member of the international support team in front of the main building.

Today the last events of the orientation programme took place. It's amazing how many people I've met in the last three days.
Even with my simplified "object model" consisting of Student {firstName, country, faculty} I could not remember everything! But I'm sure it was very good training to speak English with people from dozens of countries. There were plenty of possibilities to do so: Tours through the campus and the city, a city game, a tea party, talks about the culture, a very entertaining introduction into a safer life in Sheffield from the police, a welcome dinner and much more.
The university itself is well organised and, compared to my university in Reutlingen, gigantic. But I slowly seem to understand how I can get from one building to the other. The city campus consists of many buildings, which are placed close to each other in the city centre. And even now I need to have my calendar ready: Loads of events are announced and some of them, especially the trips, look quite interesting. I'll have one on Sunday!
The international students went to the pub yesterday: And I have to say that I liked it! I'm simply more comfortable with having a good conversation and experiencing a new culture than getting drunk under deafening noise... I also have to laud the people from the international support team for their great job. One can ask them any question and will surely get help. The start in Sheffield is also made a lot easier with lots of small extras, for example a welcome bag with useful stuff like a SIM card, registered in the UK. With that, it was easy to order 500 international minutes together with some other services for a reasonable price. Very useful to phone my family! I now generally have the impression that I could have saved some worries if I had known these things before.

15th of September 2015

#2: The most exciting day of this year

As if it would have been the first time for me to fly, I was fascinated by the cloud formations.

After a long period of planning the journey and imagining things, the day of departure from my hometown came yesterday, on the 14th of September. I'm still surprised how problem-free my journey to Sheffield went! Although my flight was delayed by two hours, the airport pick up service worked well and brought me safely to my house, where my nice flatmate welcomed me.
Of course I was exhausted and looked forward to getting some rest. But already today I've got enough strength and curiosity again to explore my new environment. Luckily for me it's just a walk up the road to reach a bus stop and the bakery. Walking about ten minutes further on the main road, I can reach many takeaway restaurants and a super market. Things seem to be a little more expensive than in Germany if I convert the prices roughly to Euros. I've also noticed an interesting detail: The British seem to have understood that people don't fall for the trick with the psychological prices anymore. Or at least I saw most of the prices being even, like 50p or £1. I like that somehow...
Today I'm very curious how tomorrow will be: Because the orientation programme will start, for which I have to take the bus into the city for the first time. The programme is designed for international students and will offer many events to introduce the new students to each other and the university. This seems well organised and I trust it will be great!
I just hope that I'll get out at the proper bus stop and find the main building...

13th of September 2015

#1: Preparation for my journey

A great view on my village named "Entringen", taken by my mother.

There was a lot to do during the last two weeks, which will be my last weeks in Germany for several months. Not only some final tasks regarding my own projects needed to be done, but also many preparations for my journey were waiting for me when I came back from summer vacation. It is very exciting to think about the other country with its own policies and currency, the new language and not least the big city and the people I will meet in my everyday life.
On top of that, I am not experienced in taking a flight on my own... But it's really good to know that there will be friendly people waiting for me in England. After all, I finally found accommodation in August, although it took me almost a month! Hallam University won't leave me alone, too: I'm registered for the airport pick up service, which contains not only a bus from Manchester to Sheffield but also a free taxi directly up to my house! That is something I can rely on. I know that I'll have to learn many new things - not only at the university. It's even more of a challenge for me to accept...

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