University Life in the Midst of the Pandemic

Life after Zoom
Alumni Club Updates & Scholarships 2021

University Life in the Midst of the Pandemic

Group Discussion in the AYF European Union Course

Teaching and University Life in the Midst of the Pandemic

In early October, the University of Freiburg announced that classes could resume under the so-called “3-G Regeln” (geimpft, genesen, getestet). This allowed for students to attend in-person classes as long as they had been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or could present a negative test that had been taken within the past 24 hours. Students were still required to wear masks during in-person classes, but that was a price they were happy to pay to have more social interactions once again in their university experience.

Mikwah Exhibit in the Jüdisches Museum Emmendingen

Thankfully, vaccinations and booster shots have been readily available in Germany to anyone who desires them. While debates around vaccinations and Covid mitigation rules have been vigorous in Germany, too, and the so-called “Querdenker” have raised many objections, the Freiburg University community appears to prize caution over protest by and large or, as a recent slogan put it, “Impfen statt schimpfen!”

Our Academic Director Peter McIsaac offered a winter semester course organized around historically grounded debates and current issues that are publicly contested in Freiburg and across Germany. To kick off the course in October, students traveled to Constance, Germany, where they visited an eye-opening exhibition called Stoff. Blut. Gold. It focused on the connections of a prominent Constance merchant family to 16th century colonialism in Middle and South America, their participation in the abduction and trade of about 4,000 enslaved Africans, and on traces of colonial history in Constance today. Throughout the semester, students continued to explore a variety of issues by visiting other local and regional landmarks, such as the Jewish Museum in Emmendingen, or a Freiburg housing cooperative.

As the weather turned colder and the number of Covid-19 cases started to increase in late November, many university courses began transitioning back to an online format toward the end of 2021. Even with our cautious group of AYFers, we decided to follow our host University’s strong advice to finish the semester online as an extra precaution to keep everyone healthy.

But we are very optimistic that we will be able to return to in-person classes once again for the summer semester starting in April 2022.