As I begin thinking about Welcome Week commencing on the Butler University campus, I can’t help but think back to the unique Welcome Week experience I encountered while abroad in Germany at Zeppelin University. Welcome Week at any university is the most exciting and exhilarating time. Its a clean slate full of new faces, new opportunities, and tons of potential. But let me just say that I was not quite prepared for the Welcome Week that I was about to experience once I got settled into a week of living in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
After a few minor activities, students were arranged and split into groups of boys and girls, and all of us were placed into a large empty room in a huge circle. We all soon began to realize that this activity is what we in America like to call “speed dating.” The boys rotated around the circle in order to talk to and get to know each one of us a little better. We had three minutes with each person to talk about the topic that was given to us before each round. Hobbies, family, travel, our future goals…anything was up for discussion! At first everyone was a little worried and nervous, but what felt like a speed dating session was actually a very effective way to put names with the faces you had seen all week during other activities. Next up after being introduced to everyone, we were split into teams of ten and given a series of challenges to complete. Among them were creating a cheer about the University and performing it for everyone, watching a slide show of professors pictures and then putting names with these new faces, and last but not least: running into the freezing cold Bodensee Lake smack dab in the middle of January. Each team got more points depending on how far they ventured into the bitterly cold water. Me, being the wimp that I am, didn’t contribute too much to the team score since I only stuck my feet in.
Looking back, even though Butler and Zeppelin varied drastically in the types of activities they required students to participate in during Welcome Week, the goal of both universities was ultimately the same. The first few weeks at a new place with new people can be exciting but also scary at the same time. Bonding activities can really help you form close relationships with the people that may soon become your new found best friends. Even though it might make you uncomfortable or feel unsure of yourself, always open yourself up to new experiences because you never know just where they may take you! Thanks for reading!