Going to Germany this summer was an amazing experience and I am super happy to have been apart of the group. Getting the opportunity to live in a different country for 6 weeks was quite interesting. It was difficult at first to get a feel for the culture and for how Germans do things but after about a week or two, I felt comfortable doing things on my own. We had class for the first 5 weeks in Berlin. We studied statics and dynamics in the mornings and a german language and culture class in the afternoon. The classes went very well, I never felt stressed out and the material was very fun to learn. In the afternoons we would get food, go grocery shopping, and experience the german culture. I never felt bogged down with homework, which was very nice. The two hardest parts of the trip were definitely not having air conditioning and not having access to kitchen appliances (other than a microwave). This summer was very hot and there was very little rain to cool things off. When we were blessed with a cool night, it was extremely relaxing to lay in bed under the covers and enjoy the cool weather. It was crazy how after spending so much time in Berlin, it started to feel like home. The last week in Europe, I traveled to Croatia with my friends and enjoyed the nature of Europe. There are some very pretty lakes and beaches that I would recommend going to. Since Croatias official language is Croatian, it was surprisingly comforting to hear people speak german, even though it’s not my first language, because I felt like I could at least understand a little bit of what they were saying. I am very grateful for everything I was able to experience and I am blessed to have made it back home without any injuries or misfortunes.
I thought Bremen was such a cute little town. I loved walking through the tight alleys in the schnoor and seeing all the little shops. The story of the Bremen city musicians is a very clever story and it was awesome seeing how integrated that story is in their culture. It was an amazing experience and it was definitely one of my favorite cities that we visited.
Living in Germany is a big change from living in America. Berlin is much more fast paced and very set on a specific schedule where as back home, I can live on my own schedule and I don’t have to worry about catching busses or trains. I miss not having my own car but the public transportation here is very good. I really miss air conditioning. Basically every building we go into doesn’t have air conditioning. I also miss having an oven and a refridgerator because we are very limited as to what we can buy from the grocery store. We have been living off microwaveable noodles and bread with Nutella. I wish America was as strong on recycling as Germany is. We save all of our bottles because we can return them for .25 euros each. I also wish America had more german food like good bratwursts, döners, and drinks.
Being able to visit a real concentration camp and walk around inside of it was very mind blowing and disturbing. It was bone chilling to see the conditions that the Germans put the Jews through. This experience is not comparable to just seeing pictures of concentration camps and hearing stories of the horrors. It saddens me to think that people could put other people through such horrible experiences. When I walked around the camp, I tried to imagine what it felt like to be contained there and how I would feel after being torn away from my family.
I think it is really important to not bury these stories but instead educate the world so that we can avoid something like this from happening in the future.
I am very excited to be on this trip. I am looking forward to experiencing a different culture and learning more about engineering and the german language. I hope that by the end of this trip I am comfortable traveling in a different country alone and speaking a foreign language.
I believe that I have a good sense of directions, so I think that my navigation skills will come in handy for the group.
I pray that everyone stays safe on this trip and has a very fun time. I also pray for prof. De Roy’s recovery.