YG Guest Bloggers are bloggers and writers who write the occasional post for our site. If you have something you'd like to say about your experiences in Germany and would like to become a YG Guest Blogger, then send us an email at contact[AT]young-germany[DOT]de.
I went back and forth with Slate’s Rebecca Schuman a few weeks ago on Twitter after reading her article about German universities. I agreed with a lot of what she had to say, and thought it was great that she was an informed perspective, rather than adding to the glut of dashed-off summaries that have come out in recent weeks. Still, I was a little taken aback by what I took as negativity on her part.
Ultimately, though, I came around to her point of view. In general, she did a good job of discussing some of the challenges that can come with the experience of studying in Germany, drawing on her personal experience studying abroad in Germany and Austria. And these challenges are very important to remember when deciding whether or not to move to Germany to study.
This is a preview of Not Better or Worse, Just Different.
It’s amazing how busy I’ve become in only three weeks here. Although classes at the Freie Universität don’t officially begin until mid-October, the BCGS (Berlin Consortium for German Studies) program is in full swing. During our first six weeks in Berlin, myself and five other students are enrolled in an intensive language course that meets four times per week for about four hours. The class has proven to be more strenuous than I originally expected, but I’m nevertheless thrilled at the opportunity to sharpen my German skills before the semester starts up.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: The First Few Weeks.
For Thanksgiving 2013, I made an all-German menu from my cookbook: Roasted Duck Stuffed with Rum-soaked Raisins and Apples, Potato Dumplings, and Spiced Red Cabbage.
I usually do not like cabbage yet a while ago I decided it was time to take my cabbage dislike head-on. With very few exceptions like okra and celery root, I have always loved vegetables. The more I am centering my cooking around vegetables from my own garden and locally grown, seasonal produce, the less it seemed excusable to avoid an entire vegetable family. Putting a cabbage dish on the Thanksgiving table was part of my self-designed aversion training.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Warming Up to Cabbage.
I’m not a perfect guardian and I was a bad au pair. My temper ran short and my cooking skills didn’t exist and all I wanted to do was go out in Berlin, dance, ride my bike, and talk to boys. But I was an au pair. So I had to work.
I went out in the mornings and late at night and made it, somehow, in time every day to pick Jason up from the Kita, but sometimes we were tired and rode the trains. Sometimes we were rushed and ate french fries. We watched movies. Sometimes I was so frustrated and tired of the six year old who couldn’t take care of himself and followed me around all day and needed to be read bedtime stories, so sometimes at night I just closed his curtains and closed his door and then closed my door, too.
This is a preview of An Au Pair’s Story: The Ups and the Downs.
There’s an old German Coca-Cola sign hanging in my parents’ kitchen. It’s little more than a knickknack from a dusty antique store, but as I prepare for my flight to Berlin tomorrow I can’t help but draw some greater meaning.
The advertisement is nothing if not an American symbol. Yet with the German words “trink” and “eiskalt” we see a fusion of two cultures. The Coca-Cola logo, in its all-too-familiar trademarked cursive, suddenly seems foreign. And isn’t that exactly what my upcoming year in Berlin is all about?
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: So Long, America.
My knowledge of German history is piecemeal. This is not due to lack of interest. In my high-school days the State of Hessia had done away with history as an independent subject of study and blended it with geography, political science, and social studies. A court later ruled that the State Government had to revoke its curriculum – too late for me when I graduated in 1984.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: The King’s Dessert.
In the last decade, two edible wild, or semi-wild, plants have seen a huge comeback in Germany: ramsons (Allium ursinum, “Bärlauch” in German) and elderberries, especially their flowers. Maybe I should not call it a comeback because I doubt that ramsons, the European cousin of ramps, was ever so omnipresent as it is today. Walk into a German supermarket in the spring and you will find ramsons in every possible form, mixed into cheeses, breads, or sausage. And almost every restaurant has something with ramsons on the menu.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Eat Your Elderflowers.