Auf wiedersehen not only means goodbye; it also means “until we see each other again,” which is how I felt leaving Germany.
I greatly enjoyed my time living and learning in Germany this summer. I started the trip nervous and uncertain of how things would go. However, from the end of the first week, I was comfortable in Berlin and excited about the rest of the trip.
The Statics and Dynamics engineering course challenged me, but I had my professors as well as other students who were all working toward success with me. I also enjoyed the close community I shared with the other students at St-Michaels-Heim. It was valuable both for studying and for socializing. I got to know many students on this trip better through class and through our weekend trips.
Speaking of weekend trips, we had long weekends that took us all over Germany. We went to almost every place I had heard of in Germany, and some places that I hadn’t. The trips were valuable in learning more about the culture and history of Germany. In addition, these trips helped me grow my comfort zone. From asking for open seats on a crowded train to ordering food at German restaurants, I couldn’t just talk in English to my friends. I went from hacking my way through a little German to fooling (some) waiters into thinking I was German. I learned to enjoy interacting with the many strangers who surrounded me and learning their stories.
In Berlin, I became familiar with bus stops, train stops, and our favorite restaurants. At some places, they knew our orders before we said a word. At Mario’s Pizza & Pasta in Adenaur Platz, some students and I got to know the owner and would always say hello when we passed his restaurant. Before this trip, I had little experience with public transportation. However, in just a couple of weeks I became a pro at checking bus schedules, train schedules, bus routes, train lines, etc. Knowing where I was going and how to get there helped me feel comfortable in a big city far from home.
At TU Berlin, where we studied, we also took a German class. I liked that culture was a focus as well as learning the German language, because it helped me understand the people around me as well as communicate with them. For our German class, we took several excursions around the city of Berlin, which helped me discover parts of the city I wouldn’t have seen. For example, we climbed a hill and visited an old anti-aircraft bunker and station. We also visited a memorial to Russian soldiers, right in the center of the city. All these experiences helped me understand who the German people are as a nation and how their history affects who they are today.
In the end, my time in Germany was very good. Part of me wanted to stay, but I was also ready to come back home again. I truly enjoyed studying, exploring, traveling, and adventuring in Germany, and I’d love to find a time to go back!
Vielen Dank (many thanks),