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The easiest way to be able to receive your mail from your Juniata is to have it forwarded to a web based E-mail server. By doing this all mail that you choose to be forwarded from your Exchange account at JC can be accessed from any computer in the world that has an InterNet connection and is running a web client (like Netscape or InterNet Explorer). To do this start an account on a service like Hotmail (www.hotmail.com), just go to the site and follow the instructions you see. It would be recommended that you select the "No Frames" option as your default since this can slow a web connection.
Before you leave Juniata, in Exchange mail go to the "Inbox Manager" and select a new filter. Check mail sent to and have it forwarded to your web E-mail client address. It might also be prudent to have it deleted so that mail does not pile up in your Exchange account. Once you are in Germany you can log on to the E-mail website and read your mail. You will not be able to forward your mail from Juniata to your Germany account once it is open unless someone at Juniata does it for you. But the web client is a good holding area for your mail and a way to communicate with home until you get an account at Marburg if you so choose. The disadvantage is that the connection may at times be quite slow.
By far the best way to handle E-mail is to get an account with the University. This lets a bigger computer handle the trans-Atlantic problem. The University has a computer called Student-Mailer. Itís an IBM RICS mini computer running a flavor of UNIX (an operating system). This means that it is nothing like Windows NT at Juniata. You can get an account on this machine by paying 10 DM per semester at the Universitätskasse or at a bank (Konto 108, Bank Marburg-Biedenkopf BLZ 533 500 00, Verwendungszweck: Matriculation number and "InterNet-Zugang") and giving the receipt to someone in the Studentensekretariat. You can do this at the same time you register (Section 4.10). Account activations and reactivations are sent to HRZ each Monday and accounts are activated on Wednesday. So if you give your receipt to the Sekretariat on Tuesday you have to wait a week and a day for your account to be activated. Be sure to access your account within two weeks. Otherwise the account will be canceled and you have to talk to HRZ (Hochschulerechnenzentrum) to get it reactivated.
This section will outline the basic use of an account on the Student-Mailer computer for the purpose of E-mail. It is assumed that the user has a basic knowledge of the use of computers (specifically MS-DOS and Windows machines), that they have previously used E-mail on a Exchange Mail system, and have a basic knowledge of the InterNet.
You can also get an account on other computers. Some departments have there own mailers and give accounts to students. Check with German students or members of the departments for details. As with computers in general this information is bound to change. Check with the literature provided by HRZ for up-to-date information.
All of the computers at the public sites at Marburg are connected to the local network. Much of the software used is located on a server on the network. This means that the PC must connect to the server to have access to all of its software.
When you turn a computer on at Marburg you will first see the usual MS-DOS garbage followed by a Please enter Username: prompt. Enter the letter and number combination (Ex. pcrz17) that you will find printed on a sticker on the front of the computer. The computer will they ask you what type of virus scan you want. They are self explanatory. Following the scan it will ask you what you want to start, DOS, Windows, or a Novell Netware menu. After this step you should be in familiar territory.
The best ways to send and receive are with a Windows program called Pegasus Mail or from UNIX by Telneting into your Student-mailer account and using Pine.
On-line help can be found through HRZís web pages. Address: http://www.uni-marburg.de/hrz/services/instud.html (access through Netscape or Mosaic in Windows Kommunikations window). These pages provide answers to common questions, allow you to check to see if your account has been activated, and tell you who to contact if you need more information. They are a good guide if you can wade through the German. Also at each of the major computer sites (except for the UB) you will find a computer staff member. HRZ itself is located on the Lahnberge, Hans-Meerwein-Str. in the building opposite chemistry on floors A4-A5.
The one thing that you need to know about the German Post, itís expensive. To send about seven sheets of airmail paper outside of the EU is 3 DM (within the EU 1 DM). Postcards are 2 DM. The most convenient post offices are at the end of Bahnhoffstr., on Neue Kasseler. (the tall gray building by the highway) and in the Klinikum Cafeteria (closed during lunch). You can buy stamps from the clerks or from the machines.
Normal air mail usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks (though times of 6 days have been reported). You can send packages air mail (takes about 2 weeks), but if you donít mind them taking 4-6 weeks to get back to the states surface mail is much cheaper.
Packages that will not fit in you mailbox or could not be delivered will be kept at the post office. You will get a notice in your mailbox telling you when and where you can pick it up.
Note: The postal rates listed here were for 1995 and early 1996. A rate increase of about 10% was proposed for mid 1996.
Unlike at Juniata you do not get your own phone in Marburg. If you want one in your room you have to contact the phone company and have it instilled. This can get to be very expensive, because Deutsche Telekom is pricey and it is very easy to use a phone when it is in you room. In short it is an expensive convenience.
Most floors in the Studentwohnheime will have a communal phone. To make and receive calls on it you pay a monthly fee (divided among the users). When you have a call you write down how many units you used on the attached counter. At the end of the month you just pay for the monthly fee and for the calls you made. Most floors will require you to place a security deposit (usually 20-50 DM) into a Konto. This is just in case you donít pay. To sign up ask on your floor who is responsible for the telephone. You can still rack up a nice bill but at least you don't have to pay instillation fees and the whole monthly charge.
Yet another option is to use prepaid phone cards from Deutsche Telekom. These are debt cards that you use in special phones that subtract money as you make you calls. They are much more convenient than using coins. You can buy them at any post office for 12 or 50 DM.
Foreign calling is expensive. You can lessen the costs with some savings plans from U.S. long distance companies. But the easiest way is just to have people from the States call you, itís about a third of the price going the other way. A trick used by many people is to call the party in the states collect. They give a name, but it is a prearranged passkey. The party in the States then just refuses the charges and later calls you back.
A long distance phone card is a good thing to have. Once you have the access numbers for different countries you can make calls back to the states or to other countries. Each company publishes a booklet that tells you the international access numbers and how to use the card. They are handy for travel in countries that donít believe in coin phones (France for example) and emergencies.
This is another fast way to get in touch with Juniata. This is best done by going through the Auslandsamt. Ask the secretary and she will direct you as where to go or how to send a FAX. For other FAXs there is a public FAX at the post office on Bahnhofstr.