Environmental Contexts

Currently on my fourth attempt at writing this, but at least I’m at home to write about my abroad experience. I really wish that I could turn off the auto save feature, because it’s only deleted progress over the last two months.

This week’s blogpost is about using context clues to solve issues. And I kind of get the feeling that it’s trying to encourage talking about overcoming language barriers using context clues, which kind of puts me in a bind. As simultaneously the only person in the group without the opportunity for collegiate German lessons and one of the only with a confident enough understanding of the German language, I didn’t run into many issues dealing with differences in language.

However, the area where I feel that I most used a semblance of competencies and contexts was using the public transportation system. I never bothered with staying connected to internet or data or cell service for that matter. So instead of using a GPS, I just used maps and local resources. I’d gander that I carried a physical map with me for more than 80% of the trip, which gave me a large confidence boost in regard to navigation. However, both trains and their stations can convey so much information to help people navigate.

Each station has designated places, usually about two at each end of the platform with maps of the train system similar to the one that I carried and some stations even had multiple large maps covering the walls. The stations would also have lists of all the stops of the train by their respective platform entrances with the stops on the closer direction in bold and the stops in the other direction greyed out. In addition to all the information available at the platforms, almost every train had its own methods to inform passengers. Every train had the regional map on the ceilings so that you could easily look at it without having to try to look over or around other passengers during rush hours. Along the walls, there would be lists of all the stops of each train that even showed which trains you could transfer to from each stop. The fancier trains would have electronic displays and when the next stop approached they would show which trains and even buses you could transfer to from that station.