Use google.com/ncr to get the U.S. version of Google (where ncr stands for "No Country Redirect").
Newcomers to Germany:
- Take classes through the Volkhochschule (adult education) as it is quite cheap, but the teachers are the same ones that work at the more expensive language schools.
- Try to schedule at least three sessions/conversations per week.
- Most researchers pick up the grammar relatively quickly. It's the noncognitive parts of language acquisition - memorizing vocabulary, and learning to parse spoken German (with accents and all manner of native speaker tricks) into its components - that takes time and practive.
- The first six months are critical to learning a language in a foreign country. Thereafter, you will have solved most of the problems associated with living somewhere new. People who don't make the effort in the first six months tend to never pick up the language.
When flying between the U.S. and Germany, I recommend making connections on the U.S. side when possible (i.e., through Delta in Atlanta). The worst part about the red-eye flights to Europe is wobbling around in some European airport during a layover when your brain wants to be asleep.
Unlike typical U.S. web sites, most domains in Germany have not aliased their base domain name to www.domain-name.com. So either use some kind of browser extension that automatically tries adding on the www. prefix (possible through Privoxy) or else get used to typing those four extra letters.
Toytown Germany is a web site for English speakers living in Germany and is an invaluable resource.
Newcomers to Munich:
The URL for figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B via Munich public transportation is http://efa.mvv-muenchen.de/mvv/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en
If you want to download Munich public transportation schedules to your PDA, try http://www.mvv-muenchen.de/en/home/fahrgastinformation/efa/efa-services/pda_download/index.html.
Newcomers to Garching:
Now that the U6 U-Bahn goes all the way to Garching, and to the institutes and university, Garching is a more viable place to live without a car. The biggest problem is that the U-Bahn STILL (as of November 2006) cuts off early every night of the week, stopping just short of Garching-Hochbrück at Fröttmaning. The last train from Marienplatz that goes all the way to Garching leaves at 12:38am most days, at 1:24am on Fridays and Saturdays. There are U-Bahns that go to Fröttmaning up to almost an hour later. (Parts of Munich are served by night buses to deal with these kind of cut-offs. It may be that since Garching is no longer a part of Munich, it gets short shrift.)
You can of course take a Taxi from Marienplatz or Münchner Freiheit, or maybe call one to Fröttmaning, but it is possible to walk from Fröttmaning to Garching - the main problem is that that area (the Arena) is separated from Garching by intersecting highways. Here is one way around them:
- Take the south exit from the U-Bahn station, in the direction of Hans-Jensen Weg.
- Walk east and you will see Hans-Jensen Weg running straight below the U-Bahn station, with bus stops along the side. (For bonus points, zig a bit to the left so that you are walking over the bus stops, still in the bus terminal, and check out the map that is posted somewhere along the wall.)
- Take the stairs down. Proceed to the end of Hans-Jensen Weg (where you will see the street sign, so you know where you are).
- Cross the road, and a bit to the left you will see a sidewalk heading toward the big grassy barrier of the highway.
- Follow the sidewalk to its end, and turn left on to the wide street-like thing.
- Head straight until you see a bridge over the highway. This should correspond to Lottlisa-Behling-Weg. Cross it.
- On the other side Lottlisa-whatever goes to the left and then later turns to the right. Follow it. After about half a mile, you should get to Freisinger Landstrasse which you can walk north along until you get to Garching. There may be a more consistent sidewalk on the east side of the road. There sure isn't on the west side!
- If you manage to survive Freisinger Landstrasse without getting hit by a car, you will have walked from Fröttmaning to Garching in 60 to 70 minutes. Congratulations, you just saved 20 Euros!