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.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Returning to the United States.
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.
This is a preview of One Year in Germany: WM Fever.
It’s commonly said that there is a difference between Berlin and Germany. Sure, German is spoken here, German food is eaten here, and the German government convenes here, but the experience one receives in Berlin is generally thought to be incomparable with most other German cities. I experienced that firsthand back in Autumn when the BCGS group traveled to München. Everything seemed more conservative and slowed-down. That proved to be a great trip, but at the same time, the amount of museum visits and excursions on our itinerary gave it a bit of a hectic and touristy feel. This past weekend however, I had the opportunity to head north to the small town of Fliegenfelde, located just outside of Lübeck, where I was able to enjoy a radical change of pace from the sometimes stressful Berlin atmosphere.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: A Trip to Lübeck.
Many people in the past have asked me how I obtained the right to live and work in Germany; particularly as a student. Although the answer is somewhat short and sweet, the process you take to have the eligibility to stay is somewhat not. Many people juggle with the concept of living and working abroad and there are various reasons as to why they choose to go or not. Hopefully, after reading this short narrative, you can cross getting a visa off of your reasons not to become an expat!
This is a preview of How I Got a Visa for Germany (And How You Can Get One Too!).
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.