Munich Diaries #3 – The Adventure Unfolds1605 words • 8 minute read
This week was still in essence a random collection of mostly unrelated events, aministrative matters, and feel of excitement about this brand new way of life I was settling into.
I spent the next couple of days organizing my room, and making myself comfortable in my new surroundings. On Tuesday, my father and his wife visited me for a day, and brought some really thoughtful things to help me better settle in. Among other things, shelves, spices and flowers (to plant in front of my windows) were really nice and much needed additions.
Looking for everyday commodities, someone recommended Ebay Kleinanzeigen (classified advertisements, or literally “small advertisements”) to me. It’s a platform to sell mostly used stuff. My proudest purchase was a collection of 10 perfect Eberhard Faber graphite pencils (from an originally 12-piece box set) ranging from the softest 6B to the hardest 5H.
I was extremely fond of all the little things that happened this week. All of us having the same sensation of everything being new, it felt great to be excited, share a breakfast with newfound friends, and wander around Munich in different settings.
So many amazing communities to be a part of!
One of the greatest things in life is connecting with like-minded people through shared interests and common activities. Finding authentic ways for self-expression is not an easy task, but connecting with different kinds of people in diverse settings, one can always shed new light on mundane thought circles, and sometimes even explore a never-before-seen aspect of one’s very self.
Telling stories, acting and improvisation was always dear to my heart, and at one point, a big part of my life. I was of course excited to find AcTUM amongst the listing of student initiatives.
AcTUM is a theater group at the TUM campus, consisting of a very diverse troupe of TUM students, doctoral candidates and staff members, staging plays in their spare time. They do regular improvisational sessions, technical exercises and games to improve their acting skills and have a lot of fun in the process.
The first (fortunately, in-person, but still mask-mandated) info event/gathering will take place next week, which I’m really looking forward to attend.
Playing ultimate frisbee is a lot of fun. The players (at least, in my experience) are some of the most laid-back, fair, chill and cheerful people. The concept and main objective of ultimate frisbee is a bit similar to American football and rugby, although “slight” modifications lend it a very different feeling of playing. Most notably, it is a zero-contact sport, and also has no referee, but instead has rules in place that facilitate and give a framework for discussing and resolving supposed faults and questionable points between the two teams throughout the game. The main objective is for your team to get your frisbee to the other side of the playing field to the “touch-zone”, and of course for the other team to stop this from happening. This involves a lot of running, quick passes, and of course having lots of fun.
I first got into playing ultimate frisbee in my junior and senior (11th and 12th grade) of high school, but it has always been a very on and off experience for me. We trained both years with my fellow students almost exclusively to participate at the Hungarian High School Nationals. I also attended some “regular team practices” (which I absolutely loved), but due to scheduling conflicts, I never stuck with them. Ever since then, getting more into ultimate frisbee was something in the back of my mind.
During my 2nd year of university, ultimate frisbee found me once again, as we started semi-regular sessions for fun with some fellow university students in Budapest. We played in a couple of tournaments, met with a lot of new people, and had a lot of fun. (And also received a university-branded sports t-shirt, whoo!) We practiced ourselves, and of course it was mostly for fun.
Long story short, I had a pretty on-and-off experience with ultimate frisbee so far. As I was throwing around a frisbee last Sunday, I realized once more how much fun this is. On Wednesday, I joined my first practice session with the Munich International (MINT) Frisbee team. It took place at Münich-Freimann, so I had the chance to explore yet another part of the city. The practice was a lot of fun, met a lot of extremely kind, fun and skilled people. As usual, people came from such diverse backgrounds (both in terms of countries and disciplines), that everyone spoke English by default.
Pushing each other, collaborating, and expanding horizons through interdisciplinary projects, workshops and discussions is a must in – or at least the best part of – (university) life.
I feel extremely lucky and thankful to have been a part of the Simonyi Károly College for Advanced Studies at my home university during my studies. While living in the Schönherz Dormitory (that also gives home to the college for advanced studies), I met some of the most skilled, spirited and friendliest people I could have wished for to accompany me during my university studies.
One of the cornerstone values (and one that resonates with me greatly) is the idea of maintaining a “professional playground” for members to gain real life experience while tackling real and challenging problems in a safe and friendly environment.
TUM.ai is a student initiative located at TUM. Centered around the topics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics, they run workshops and projects, often times collaborating with different industry partners. A center theme in what they do is the applicability of AI technologies to different fields, making the domain experts meet the technologists, educating about and demistifying AI technologies, and lowering the barrier of entry.
Munich also has a thriving startup ecosystem – taking the fourth place in the number of startup unicorns1 in Europe. TUM.ai also puts emphasis on the entrepreneurial mindset. Their venture department aims to connect not only potential co-founders, but also other actors from the startup ecosystem.
After applying to become a part of this student initiative, I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them.
Fun events during the second half of the week
There were still a lot of TUMi events happening, but most of them were booked out. I went on a campus tour in Garching. Many TUM departments are placed here, just outside of Munich. I also attended a symphony concert at the Isarphilharmonie. It was a nice evening of classical music. It was also great opportunity to meet some people I met recently, while also getting introduced to some new people.
I also joined a bouldering event in the north of Munich. I haven’t climbed in quite a while, which I could definitely feel in my arms and overall fitness after about 1.5 hours of intense bouldering. I also met there and traveled back with Florian from France, who told me his story of traveling through Europe by car from Paris to Istanbul and back to Munich before starting his studies here. It was really motivational to listen to his semi-dreamlike bucket list worthy story. (And an Erasmus semester is definitely the time and place to gain lots of motivation for expanding your comfort zone.)
On Thursday, a TUM Welcome Event took place on the Garching campus. It felt great to meet some already familiar faces; not only from attending events these past two weeks, but also Hungarians I had the chance to meet beforehand.
German Administrative Matters™
On Friday, I had to take care of some administrative matters. As Dávid (my Hungarian friend I met on the weekend I arrived to Munich) had the same task at hand, we decided to do it together. We registered for an appointment, and ventured together to the local office in the morning. Germany doesn’t always make it easy to get administrative things done efficiently, but we were pleasantly surprised that after the usual (but still tolerable) delay, a friendly administrator helped us, after which we were on our way to grab a breakfast at a nearby café & bakery.
It was yet another pleasant surprise when the girl behind the counter greeted us with “Ó, Ti is magyarok vagytok?” (Hungarian for “Oh, you’re Hungarians as well?”). After a short chat with her, we enjoyed our coffe and baked goods, talked about the big things in life, and then finally packed ourselves up and left the place. We decided to walk back on foot to the dormitory, which gave us a chance to explore yet another part of Munich, as well as to further chat about stuff.
Another lovely Hash
On Saturday, the last event for the week was yet another lovely hash with the Munich Hash House Harriers. It was a really fun and refreshing run in a beautiful part of Munich which I hadn’t been to earlier. It was 8.68 kms in the west of the city starting from a parking lot, leading us through a suburb-like quarter, forests and the garden of the Nymphenburg Castle, and back to the parking lot. This time the weather was worse than usual, so I didn’t stick around for too long after the run. On the train back home though, I stumbled into two familiar faces from the hash; the Scottish “Just” David and Xin from China.
Finally, I closed the week on Sunday by chilling and preparing myself for the start of the semester next week, full of excitement.
unicorn (startup): A very succesful startup, with a valuation of at least one billion USD (or 800 million Euros). ↩︎