Party Time at the Student Hostel (Hospiz) in Speyer


I lived and studied for about six years in Speyer. It was a hard and stressful time of learning, but also one which gave me many opportunities to meet students like myself who came from far and wide across the globe to the German University of Administrative Sciences to earn a postgraduate or doctoral degree in public administration. During my student days, I rented an appartment in the Mittelkämmererstrasse 14. It was a cosy place, self-contained and nicely furnished with all facilities. As it was a bit small to also accommodate my parents who visited me every year for a few months, for the duration of their visit, I opted to rent a room in the "Hospiz" which is one of the University's three existing student dormitories (and the only one off campus).

Built in the latter half of the 19th century, the Hospiz was actually intended as a home for convalescing patients. Located in the Ludwigstrasse near the center of Speyer, and hardly five minutes walk from the Cathedral, it has the typical appearance you would normally expect from a classical building in small town Germany of those bygone days - elegant facade, creaky wooden staircases, spacious and high-ceilinged rooms and an aura of elegance which contrasts perceptibly with modern, functional structures. Presently under extensive renovation work and temporarily devoid of occupants, the Hospiz was traditionally used to accommodate the University's foreign student population exclusively, but with the advent of the new millenium its doors have opened to German students as well. I spent time there in 2000 and 2001 and liked the place. Living in a student community does, off course, impose some limitations, such as, hsaving to share the bathroom, kitchen, TV and telephone, and though it can be a nice feeling to have many diverse nationalities living under one roof, differing standards of hygiene and noise tolerance levels can cause friction at times - even to the extent of an occasional scuffle. Happily, I stayed aloof of such perils! There were a few other downsides to living in the Hospiz, but it was warm, comfortable, affordable and safe, and as long a place - or rather any place - satifies these three basic requirements, then I have nothing to gripe about.

A nice thing about about my time spent at the Hospiz is that I got to develop a good acquaintanceship with several German and foreign students, with some of whom I remain in contact to this day, and which I hope to continue doing so long into the future. The photos below were taken on the occasion of party's the Hospiz occupants organized periodically. Often, guests were present. I myself organized parties a few times :=)


  The Hospiz at night and at Christmas time! Standing on the extreme left is Dorothea Postler, who you will see in a series of photos in the Castle Trifels gallery. I don't know the person in white next to her. The girl with the black sweater and cup in her hand is Stefanie Gille, who worked as Assistant to my doctoral supervisor Professor Rainer Pitschas. On the right is a japanese student who lived at the Hospiz. By the way, this is on the first floor of the three-storied Hospiz.
Here you see Dorothea standing on the left. She was an angel. Unlike most of her German colleagues who, like her, were law students spending one semester in Speyer doing their "Referendariat", and who were (and still are) generally averse to socializing with non-German students, Dorothea always found time and energy to interact with foreign students and help them in whatever way she could. In the middle is the Japanese colleague and seated to her right is our Moroccan colleague Hicham. He is now a senior official public official in Morocco. The communal kitchen table is in the center, the communal fridges on the right. The photo was taken from the door to the communal sitting room.    
  Dorothea standing on the left, this time posing with our colleague from Burkina Faso. Both Dorothea and the Burkinian lady are featured in my Castle Trifeld photogallery. On the right, standing in front of the door to the community kitchen, is our Mongolian colleague Nara. She and the Burkinian lady have returned to their respective countries after successfully qualifying the masters programme in public administration in Speyer in 2001. 
This photo was taken in the communal siiting room opposite the communal table. The cute little boy sitting in front of the table to the left is my Moroccan colleague Hicham's son (Hicham came to study in Speyer in the company of his wife and young son). In the middle of the photo, facing the camera, is my Indonesian colleague Samodra "Sam" Wibawa, who did his PhD also under the supervision of my doctoral superviser Professor Rainer Pitschas. Sam graduated a year before I did. The girl on the sofa was a German student visiting the Hospiz.  
  A nice group photo. I'm standing at the extreme left with my back to the window of the communal sitting room. Dorothea and the Japanese colleague are bending slightly and the Burkinian lady is dressed in a splendid traditional African robe. Sam is sitting on the right apparently unware that he is being photographed. Maybe he would have looked straight at the camera if he knew this photo would be uploaded to the internet.
This photo was taken in the short driveway of the Hospiz just outside the front door. It is broad and a good place for walking about and organizing outdoor grill parties. Standing on the left with her back turned to the camera is our German colleague Kirsten. Facing her are my two good German acquaintances Jürgen Intveen and his then long-time girlfriend Katrin whom he married in 2002 in a colourful wedding ceremony in his home-town which I attended.    
  Ahhh! A party at the Hospiz. This one was organized by me :=) Jürgen and Katrin are standing on the left, and Markus, an acquaintance of mine, is facing the camera on the right. Bending over the table is my friend Dagmar Vankova from the Czech Republic who early this year (2006) got her PhD in Speyer with "magna cum laude" (the highest marks)! My Tunesian friend Sami-El-Aouani ("Samoooo"), who qualified the masters programme in 2001 and now works in Tunis, is on the right standing sideways to the camera. By the way, where are you now Samoooo??? My three eMails to you bounced back!
Yours truly standing over a grill and turning over delicious sausages. Yummy. On that day it was rainy as you can see from the wet surface. Also, it was rather cold and I'm wearing my fleece sweater if you look closely.  
  Everyone seated at the table for a delicious meal arranged by me. Sami is seated on the extreme left, chatting up Kirsten whose back is turned to the Camera. Dagmar, Jürgen and his girlfriend are at the table as is Markus and two other German colleagues.
Dagmar seems to be enjoying the meal. Sami and Markus are also helping themselves. And I, as the good host, has left the field to my guests. I seem to be so busy taking photos that I didn't get much to eat - after doing all that work!  
  Kirsten, standing sidways, looks in the direction of the camera. By the way, Kirsten was a very active resident at the Hospiz in the three-months that she spent in Speyer doing her "Referendariat". She was one of the organizers of the hikes in the Palatinate Woods that I went on. Please see the photogallery "Hiking in the Palatinate" to view the photographs. 
Another grillparty I organized on another evening is in full swing in the Hospiz' courtyard. Many more colleagues and friends are present this time, including David from Nigeria (extreme left), Enchburd from Mongolia (facing the camera on the left of the photo), my other Mongolian colleague Burma (see Rigorosum photos) and her teenaged son who are seated to Enchburd's left, and my dear and long-time friend Egbert in the center of the photo leaning over the table.   
  All Smiles! Alexander, Kirsten and Sami pose for this photograph which is one of the best in this photogallery. By virtue of his pleasant personality, and his openess, Sami maintained a close relationship with most of the Hospiz residents throughout his one-and-a-half year stay in Speyer. By the way, in the back you can see the gate of the Hospiz which opens out onto the street and is usually locked in the night.
Another photo from that grill evening. Looking straight into the camera and seated to the left of my Nigerian colleague David, is my colleague Julieta Watanabe from Brazil. She too qualified the masters programme in 2001 and now works for the Brazilian postal service. Seated in the front of the photo with her back turned is a very dear friend of mine, Sigrun Möller. Sigrun was a tremendous help to me when it came down to the arduous task of proof-reading my doctoral thesis. She is now a school teacher in Montabauer.    



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