When someone asks me “so how was your trip to Germany?” I would say something like “uh… it was good” (ha ha) and then continue with a quick summary of this eye-opening and exciting trip…
When we first landed in Berlin, we took a bus to the hostel where we were going to stay for the next 5 weeks. After getting settled, we walked around town and got the lay of the land. Since I am not a fan of trying new foods, this trip was a “growing experience” for me. When you’re not fluent in German, your food selection may not be exactly what you thought you ordered. My first German meal was currywurst. It was different –but it was really good! I found my favorite food was döner… and little did I know (until the last week I was in Germany) that I was eating lamb. There was a Döner Kebab stand on the bus route to school so I stopped there a lot!
Monday we started class at the Berlin Technical University’s Engineering Building. We started the day with Engineering 202 and then had a break for lunch. Most of us would go to the mensa, which is a giant cafeteria for the whole university. After lunch, we took our German Culture course taught by a German professor. After class we would head back to the hostel, eat dinner, and finished homework . Some nights we would find time to play soccer or ultimate frissbee at a nearby field. We would repeat this schedule from Monday to Thursday for the next 5 weeks BUT we had three day weekends where we went on small excursions.
On the weekends we visited Heidelberg, Koblenz, Köln, Bremen, Wittenberg, and Lübeck. We took ICE trains to get to most of our destinations. My favorite town was Bremen because it was full of history that was all located in one area. Bremen is a large city, but the part we visited felt like a quaint town. During our free week, I visited Checkpoint Charlie, the Olympic Stadium, saw a soccer game in Cottbus (that’s a whole different story for another blog entry), saw the castles in Potsdam, and explored the town of Dresden.
Overall the trip was exciting. I really liked seeing all the history, especially the WWII historical sites and soccer stadiums. One of my favorite stops was the Olympic Stadium. Because of this trip, I have a better understanding of German culture/history and have more confidence in myself and my abilities (having to navigate the bus and rail systems in foriegn country on your own will do that to you). I also got to know some really cool people on this trip and I am thankful that I had to opportunity to go to Berlin!