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.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: An Internship.
Die Welt wird jeden Tag kleiner. Ich bin in Long Island aufgewachsen aber ich habe mich nie gefühlt, dass ich isoliert bin. Natürlich habe ich eine besondere Beziehung mit meinem Heim in New York, aber ich möchte glauben, dass ich ein Teil von einer großen Gemeinschaft bin. Ich wäre beides kurzsichtig und arrogant, wenn ich dächte, dass mein Leben keine Verbindung mit fremden Menschen zu tun hat. Wir leben in einer Zeit der Globalisierung und deshalb müssen wir lernen, mit verschiedenen Leuten zu interagieren. Mit dem Internet wissen wir sofort, was tausende von Meilen weg passiert ist. Mit neuer Technologie können wir ohne Schwierigkeit mit Freunden in fernen Ländern sprechen. Ich frage daher, warum sollte meine Bildung in New York bleiben?
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Warum Berlin? (in German).
When you imagine going to (and living) in another country, there seems to never be a perfect way that you can capture its essence with your imagination. Considering Germany is a fully developed, 1st-world country, I was naturally under the impression that its infrastructure, population, and overall culture would not vary much from my own country, but seconds after stepping off the plane in Frankfurt Am Main, I realized this could not be further from the truth.
Despite all of the pictures I composed in my head, nothing could truly explain the differences between the United States and Germany. The surreal feeling that smacks you in the face upon arrival is one of the hardest wake up calls you will ever get in your life and although extremely tired and jetlagged, I simply could not get my emotions under control.
This is a preview of Moving to Germany: First Impressions.
Last week I started thinking about all of my friends in New York returning home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. After a semester full of essays, exams, and problem sets it’s always nice to spend some time with family and enjoy a few home cooked meals. On Thursday morning, however, I wasn’t in my living room on Long Island, but rather in a crowded subway car on my way to the university. Here in Berlin (and pretty much everywhere else outside the U.S.) Thanksgiving is just another day. There are no giant balloons floating around the city, no smells of turkey, stuffing, or pumpkin pie wafting through the air, and certainly no football games. Just the whirring sound of German bicycle spokes and the flashing red and green lights of the Ampelmänchen.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Celebrating Thanksgiving Abroad.
If you had asked me two years ago if I would be here in Cologne, Germany, the fourth largest city in the country, I would have likely laughed in your face and asked, “With what money?!”
However, approaching my final year of college and with no clear plans other than graduating, I felt the pressure building; coinciding with this pressure, an urge to explore myself and the world. After all, how much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been uncomfortable, or left to fend for yourself in the unknown?
This is a preview of Expat Life: How I Found a Job and Moved to Germany.
Last week I flew to Munich for three days with the rest of the BCGS group. It was the first extended trip I’ve made outside of Berlin since I first arrived in September. Despite the bitter Bavarian cold, I’m happy to say I enjoyed my visit.
Unlike Berlin, which was more or less destroyed during the war, Munich has managed to retain a more antiquated feel. Many old and beautiful buildings still stand, as we experienced during a walking tour through the central part of the city. Although Munich is certainly more modern than many other towns in southern Germany, it moves at a much slower pace than Berlin.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: A Short Trip to Munich.
Yesterday I visited the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen). I’m currently auditing a B 2.2 language course to sharpen my German skills, and one of our assignments for this week was to visit a memorial in Berlin and write up an account of our general impressions. Among the list of possible locations were the Holocaust Memorial, Jewish Museum, and Checkpoint Charlie, all of which are relatively central and have become rather touristy in recent years. Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, however, is in north-east Berlin in a more-or-less uninteresting part of town. If the name sounds unfamiliar, I had no idea what it was either until very recently.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Stasi Gefängnis.