at Römerstraße 13, Aachen , 52064
Die preStep GmbH ist eine Tochterfirma der Sprachenakademie Aachen. Unser Dienstleistungsangebot richtet sich an (inter‐)nationale Studenten, Absolventen, Wissenschaftler und Forscher. preStep leistet Hilfestellung bei kurz- oder langfristigen Ortswechseln durch die Vermittlung zentral gelegener, privater Wohnräume und bietet Unterstützung bei der Abwicklung verschiedener Formalitäten, die im Laufe der ersten Wochen des Aufenthalts erledigt werden müssen. Zusätzlich bieten wir eine Reihe von attraktiven Freizeitangeboten und Exkursionen in der Region an, welche den Aufbau eines neuen sozialen Umfelds am Wohnort begünstigen - denn Wohlfühlen bedeutet "Ankommen".
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preStep wishes all of you HAPPY HOLIDAYS and MERRY CHRISTMAS! We are back for you on 28.12.2015. To shorten the time until then, Millie has written another article for you about presents...Have fun! **Millie- the world lover. A brazilian in Aachen. Today: Christmas time is here and so is the time to talk about presents… A word loved by most of us, but ‘handled’ differently in each country! Have you ever thought about how giving and receiving presents are handled in foreign countries? Well, in Germany presents are shared in big quantities on several different occasions (e.g. Eastern, Saint Nikolaus, Christmas, birthdays…). Curiously, it is common to see relatives and friends asking each other about what they would like to get as a present. This way, people make sure that the present is always appropriate – really practical, right? =) On the other hand, in Brazil – the country I come from – presents are wished, but the receiver hardly ever directly talks about his/her wish, apart from children, who usually scream out loud what they want to get from their parents or from the beloved Santa Claus! Since I was curious about the ‘different behaviors’ while exchanging presents, I decided to ask some friends of mine which come from other countries what are their opinions about it. In Mexico for example, it is similar to how Germans deal with it… givers usually ask and receivers usually openly say what they would like to get. In Taiwan, they are more ‘reserved’ like Brazilians… usually letting the giver to be creative and give a present as he/she wants. Most of Taiwan does not celebrate Christmas, so presents are not shared on this date, but on Chinese New Year’s envelopes for children and elderly people are given instead. What about you? How is it in your country? We would like to know how are presents shared in your country! Feel free to leave a comment =)
Happy New Year everyone! We hope all of you had a great start into 2016. The whole preStep Team wishes you all the best, adventures, friendly people and a lot of new experiences for the next 365 days! We are looking forward sharing some of these moments with you!
Over the holidays you sometimes have a few guests at home, you celebrate, you eat, you laugh, you drink...what about all the bottles left over? Millie, our brazilian in Aachen, tells you all about the German Pfandflaschen system.... **Millie- the world lover. A brazilian in Aachen. Today:Pfandflaschen In case you have never been to Germany before, I am sure that you will be confused with the word ‘Pfandflaschen’. Well, translating it to English, we would have to separate the word into ‘Pfand’ which means ‘fund’, and ‘-flaschen’ which means ‘bottles’ – what we call ‘returnable bottles’. In my opinion, Germans are really imaginative, especially when it comes to create a system which will benefit many parts of society, and that is also the case in the pfandflaschen system, which functions this way: you buy a drink at the supermarket/store, consume it, and instead of just throwing the bottle into the plastic/glass bin, you return it to the place where you bought it and get a fund for it. Amazing right? Apart from being really practical, it ‘forces’ us to be environmentally friendly citizens. Another good thing about it is that, most of the times, whenever you buy returnable drinks you know exactly how much you are actually paying for the drink and how much you will get back in case you return the bottle. Unfortunately, not every drink (or producers) offers us the possibility to do that – many are still not included in the system. The same happens with other countries, which do not even know that this system exists. Hopefully, in the near future, more companies and countries will understand how useful and smart it is to protect the environment using such an easy way!***
Millie has some thoughts about crossing streets in Germany...Have a look: I have to say that crossing the streets in Germany is one of the most interesting and funny things to talk about whenever I am abroad. If you have never been to Germany yet, I guess you are probably be confused right now… so let me explain. Traffic lights are one of the most ‘respected’ things in the German society. Here, crossing the streets while the lamp is still green can be considered really disrespectful! Well… I completely agree that it is dangerous to cross the street while there are cars coming and going – security comes first! No doubt! But: would you stop in the traffic light while a heavy rain/snow without seeing a single car on the street just because the light is still not red? Yep! I wouldn’t say that every single German would wait till the red light comes, but several would be really angry if they see you crossing the street this way (it happened to me once)! Well, one of the good things about Germans is their brilliant ability to be creative. So, to decrease the boredom while the long waits in the traffic lights, they created the StreetPong, which allows pedestrians to play a friendly game of Pong as they safely wait their turn to cross the street. An awesome idea, right? Unfortunately, this game exists not in every city yet. I guess they were only installed in bigger cities like Berlin until now. Hopefully these games will come to Aachen very soon =)
Yay! Today the USE-it Team published the new free map for young people in Aachen! You can download it on their webpage or find it in our office soon! What is your favorite spot in Aachen?
Aachen and around! Have a look at Millies new article about the opportunities Aachen offers: All in one: Aachen and its borders to Belgium and the Netherlands I know from personal experience that moving to an isolated city might be a nightmare for many international students! Having mobility and options to go in our surrounding area is one of the most comfortable things a city can possibly offer us, and I can assure you that Aachen is a perfect example! Aachen belongs to one of the so called ‘Dreiländereck’ areas, in English the ‘Tripoint’, indicating the place where 3 countries meet (check the picture). In our case, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium meet, giving us the possibility to be in 3 different countries in only a couple of minutes. For you to have a clear ‘picture’ about it, I will tell you a good example that happened to me last weekend. I went to visit a friend of mine who just moved to Belgium. Since everything was so spontaneous and I do not have a car, I quickly had to find a way to get there. Everything was actually practical and smooth: in a couple of hours I found very cheap (minimum 3,00€ - maximum 15,00€) and fast possibilities to go there, all really convenient – in 45 minutes I was in Belgium, enjoying some delicious chocolate! Knowing that I come from the North East part of Brazil, you might know how exciting the ability of easily being in different countries is! Brazil is simply huge, which means that being in another country (leaving from the city I live, Salvador) takes me at least 5 hours (by airplane) or some days (by car). As a matter of fact, even going to the next state/province by car takes me at least 4 hours. That is why being in Aachen gives me a feeling of freedom, and whenever I feel like visiting another country, I simply take the next train/bus/shared drives and I’m there If you ever have the chance to come to Aachen, you will know exactly what I mean!
Last week was International Music Night at the Boarding House and we had some fun listening to music from all over the world...We want to share a few of the songs all of you who were not able to join us! First song is from a band that our guest Dan knows very well, because they are from his hometown - Cleveland, Ohio, USA! Their music might not be for everyone, but we enjoyed hearing a true Cleveland original! Thank you, Dan!
11:11! Alaaf! Happy Carnival everyone! Millie our Brazilian world lover has some interesting points of view to this topic! February is coming and so is the time to celebrate Carnival in Germany… like Oktoberfest, one of the most expected days during the year =) To tell you the truth, Carnival does not really start in February, but on the 11th of November (11/11), where the season is officially opened. February is just its high season, and that is the time where people go to the streets to celebrate =) Carnival here varies considerably from county to county, but also from one small region to another. In North Rhein Westphalia – the state where Aachen is located – small variations differentiate how Carnival is celebrated in the main cities, for instance how people greet each other in Cologne and Düsseldorf. In Cologne – biggest Carnival celebrations in Germany – people greet each other with the word “Alaaf”, which basically means “enjoy Carnival”; but in Düsseldorf the word “Helau” is used instead! Interesting right?! Well, even though they greet differently, the way they celebrate is usually the same. Trains are full in the morning (no driving after drinking alcohol) where people in all ages are dressed with as animals, fairy tale characters, different professions’ costumes, (etc.) heading to the places where they gather with friends to celebrate! It is an amazing atmosphere, everyone is simply happy and ready to have a day of pure fun =) On the streets, we can see big cars/trucks decorated with a lot of colors, playing loud music and with people throwing all types of candies to those who are in the crowd. As a person that comes from Brazil, I see a big difference comparing to the Carnival I am used to see back at home. Firstly, our Carnival is celebrated during the summer break, which makes a big difference in terms of enjoying the party outdoors here Germany with such cold weather. Secondly, dressing costumes as people do here is not exactly the same as we do in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro’s carnival – probably the most famous – is also characterized with the costumes, but in a completely different style. Moreover, the Brazilian Carnival is also more focused on the famous attractions that will be performing live, rather than the way we dress. In all, even though there are many differences, the main purpose is to have fun! What about you? How is Carnival celebrated in your country? Feel free to leave a comment =)
On 26.01.2016 there was International Music Night at the Boarding House and we had some fun listening to music from all over the world...We want to share a few of the songs all of you who were not able to join us! Next song comes from Egypt! We heard that most songs are very romantic...so Amr presented the following song to us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W55NOjJJuRc&app=desktop
More Music Inspiration from International Music Night: Selah Sue from Belgium! Thank you, Sophie!
Sometimes you want to visit us in our office and you find a sign in our door: saying: "Sorry! We are having lunch! We will be back soon!" Have you ever wondered what we are eating behind closed doors? Sophie is a great cook. This is what we had today: Tortelloni with zucchini, tomato and bacon...hmmm delicious
International GAME Night with Millie was on! You guys rocked the ( Boarding) House! Thank you for a really fun night!
We have missed her soooo much! You, too? MILLIE is back! She went for a vacation back home to Brazil and brought back the sun for you! Thank you Millie! On her first day back she has already met a lot of new international students on the RWTH Aachen International Office Welcome&Orientation Day!
Summer is coming... What about the extra pounds gained over the last holidays? How to get rid of them? As I told you last week, Millie is back in town from a trip home to sunny Brazilian beaches. Now she shares her thoughts about sports and gyms in Aachen with you! For a competition or not, it is one of the most effective ways to make us feel fit and as well as giving us the chance to have fun. To be honest, I grew up as a “non-sportive” person… not liking doing sports at school and refusing to do anything that I would consider physically exhausting. As time passed by, I slowly started to enjoy watching (e.g. football matches), and eventually playing for inter school futsal tournaments. Later on, going to the gym (back in Brazil) also became part of my life, even though there was not much fun involved – it was just to be fit and healthy =) As I came to Germany, it took me a while to join any sportive activity, but eventually there was a click in my mind as soon as I arrived in Aachen. On my second day in the city – which was still very much unknown – I found a so called ‘Fitnessstudio’ (the german word for a gym), got excited with the courses they had and directly enrolled myself. That is when I started liking doing sports, since I realized the change it actually did to my body – it gave me more energy/motivation to do things during the day. Dancing, for example, comes at first in my ‘favorites list’ and it is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing (maybe it comes from my ballet classes when I was a child). As a surprise, I also started enjoying watching winter sports – something that is not common in Brazilian TV channels. It is actually mesmerizing to see so many different types of sports which are related to snow/ice. I actually tried once during skiing holidays, but I can definitely tell you that it is not ‘my thing’ – I guess I was born to enjoy the heat =) haha What about you? What experiences do you have to share with us about sports?
How well do you know the city of Aachen already? Let's see: Who can guess where the building on the picture is? What does the letter "i" stand for?
Socke on his way to work: He is happy because it is Friday and the weekend is just a few hours away! Happy Friday everyone!
Gestern haben wir bei der International Night zusammen gespielt und eine Menge Spaß gehabt! Vielen Dank an alle die dabei waren! #SBar #Sprachenakademie #prestep #InternationalNight
Aachen has some interesting corners...do you know where to find this painting? Do you like it?
Every year at the 1st of May you will find the streets of Aachen and the cities around decorated with beautiful, colorful trees. Red, blue, orange, yellow, green ribbons...ribbons of all colors dangling from the branches of the traditional birch trees. It is one of my favorite traditions of the year: the tradition of putting a colorful tree in front of the house of the one that you love or have a crush on. What Valentine’s Day is for the others – the first of May is for the Aacheners. Normally the boys are the ones to cut down a tree, decorate it with paper ribbons and put it up in front of the house of the girl that they have a crush on. In leap years like, 2016, it is the girls who have the task to put a decorated tree in front of the house of the one that they love. Besides this there are always big dances – “Maibälle” where a queen gets crowned – the “Maikönigin”. Most of the traditions are strongest in smaller towns and villages around Aachen. So, when you see a few beautiful decorated trees in the streets in the next weeks, think that each tree stands for a loved one! Love is in the air…<3