What an incredible first week it has been! I still can’t decide if our time here has felt more like a long month or a short day since we first arrived last Saturday. So far, we have been going non-stop with schoolwork and touring around Berlin. The number of things we have done in just one week is actually quite impressive. Overall, this city is not what I expected it to be. One of the biggest differences between my expectations and reality is the height and architecture of the urban buildings. Before coming here, I was not aware of the height restrictions on city structures, so I was kind of taken aback by how low and spread out Berlin is. The style of the buildings is also more sleek and modern than I expected. I know some of that has to do with the effects of war, but Berlin lacks the old fashion, classical European style that I imagined in my mind.
I was also surprised by how many people speak English. I can basically get around without having to use my weak German skills. I still attempt to say things with my minimal vocabulary, but the Germans always seem to switch right to English once I open my mouth. So much for practicing the German language…
There are two things that I really love here in Berlin. The first is the public transportation. Between the bus and train systems, we can easily and efficiently get around the city. Even after just a week, I already have a decent understanding of the transport routes in our area of the city. And with my handy-dandy map, I think I could probably navigate anywhere I wanted if I was put up to the challenge. The second thing I love is how a large majority of the drinks are in glass bottles. I know most of Europe has this and that it is a popular thing here, but I definitely wish it was more prevalent back home. My favorite drink is the bubbly water (or “water with gas” as opposed to “still water”). It’s much more fun to drink than regular water, especially when it’s in a glass bottle.
As of now, I can’t really tell if I miss anything from back home. I’m still enjoying the thrill of experiencing a new culture and different environment. Maybe after a couple more weeks I will begin to notice some things that I wish I had from back home, but as for now, Germany is continuing to be a great adventure.