Category Archives: Berlin

One Year in Berlin: Returning to the United States

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

After an 11-month adventure in Berlin I’ve arrived safely in the United States. I’m trying my best to readjust to the American culture but part of my mind is still stuck back in Germany. I could probably write an entire book about my experiences abroad, and one day I just might, but for now I’ll have to keeps things short. On Tuesday morning four of my closest friends in Berlin were kind enough to accompany me to Tegel Airport and bid me farewell before my flight. The night before had been full of laughs and stories in our favorite brewery, where I enjoyed my final sip of fresh German pilsner for the year. The morning after had a slightly different tone though. I was thrilled to have my friends by my side until the very end but there was a bittersweet feeling to everything.

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One Year in Germany: WM Fever

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

The end-of-term workload has begun to pile up quickly. While I’ve been managing to chip slowly away at my three final papers, a game theory exam is still looming on the horizon. To top it off, I’ve got a German C-1 level proficiency exam next week, which will determine if I have the language skills to directly enroll in a master’s program here in Berlin. I’m familiar with the stress from the winter semester, but it’s nevertheless going to be a long couple of weeks before everything is officially over. Luckily however, the World Cup (German: Weltmeisterschaft, or simply WM) is in full swing and helps to take my mind off of all the work. It’s become all the more exciting now that Deutschland has moved on to the final round of the tournament after this week’s remarkable 7:1 victory over Brazil.

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One Year in Berlin: How German Unis Work

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

As my time in Berlin slowly creeps to a close one of the thoughts that’s constantly been on my mind is the impending “reverse culture shock” that so many travelers have warned me about. I may have spent 20 years of my life in the US, but I have a feeling that a year in Germany has done away with many of my American habits and rituals.

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One Year in Berlin: Being in Germany on May 1 and Games in the Park

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

For decades the first of May has been known as an International Worker’s Day all over the globe. In many countries, such as Germany, it’s a federal holiday during which demonstrations (usually peaceful) are held in support of the labor movement.

However, May 1st (known in Germany as “Erster Mai”) holds a somewhat special significance in Berlin. Since the late 80s extreme left organizations have organized protests in districts of the city such as Kreuzberg during which riots have unfortunately broken out, leading to violence and police intervention. In more recent history extreme right groups have also proven to become hostile in the streets of the capital city. The violence has thankfully declined in the past few years, but we were nevertheless all warned by our program director to be wary in certain neighborhoods.

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One Year in Berlin: The Capital City of Opera

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

It’s certainly no secret that Berlin has arguably the biggest club scene in the world. Ever since the wall, fell clubs of all shapes and sizes have popped up throughout neighborhoods such as Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. DJs and music enthusiasts flock here from all corners of the globe for a chance to take part in the Berlin nightlife. What many visitors don’t know is that the city has also managed to cultivate a fairly large opera scene. I enjoy the electronic music of a loud, underground club as much as the next guy, but some days I prefer to sample Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi.

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One Year in Berlin: An Internship

by Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo

After several weeks of juggling term papers, rugby practices, and even a bit of traveling, I’ve finally seemed to settle back into a somewhat normal rhythm here in Berlin. One major advantage of studying in Europe for a full year (as opposed to one semester) is the enormous amount of free time I have in between terms. For about two months my only academic obligation is to choose my courses for the summer. Otherwise, I can more or less do anything I want until mid-April.

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