Friday, May 9, 2014

Wait, so I have to pay for my water?

Greetings from Deutschland!

It has officially been a week since we took off from northern Iowa to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to study in the land of beer, potatoes and the currywurst.

This is my first time in Germany (or in any country outside the United States) and I have to say, so far so good! Since our arrival, I have met a lot of new and interesting people, tried a lot of new foods and drinks and I have also gotten to know my peers and professors a lot better. I am also slowly coming to the realization that I am going to have to pay for my water, as most places don't give it to you for free, and if you want to use a public restroom, you're usually going to have to pay for it.

On another note, as you have probably read in other blog posts, we stayed in the Generator Hostel Mitte in Berlin for the first week and left this morning around seven (or midnight in Iowa) for Bonn. I can’t say I enjoyed the size of the rooms at the Hostel in Berlin, but I definitely enjoyed the people there and the convenience of having everything we needed right there.

The lobby desk at the Generator Hostel in Berlin.

The hostel in Berlin had a cafĂ© where you could get food and drinks, a courtyard with a ping-pong table (which we used to school some English guys in beer pong) and right across the courtyard from the hostel’s lobby was the Generator bar. It was nice to have all of that right there, because we could go to the bar downstairs and just walk up the stairs and go to bed. I also met a lot of nice people who worked at the bar. Dirk, Bjorn and Jess were three bartenders that I really got to know and will miss very much, but luckily through Facebook I will be able to keep in touch with them.

Dirk, the bartender at the Generator Hostel Bar. 

I have had a lot of fun doing projects with classmates in my group. Jacque, Michael, Olivia and I have completed two projects so far in Berlin. Our first project was to tell a story about a person or a place. Our original plan for that was to go to the Brandenburg Gate and tell a story about the horse carriages that were there. Much to our surprise, there was an actual event going on at that location. The European Union Protest Day of People with Disabilities was taking place when we arrived, so we were able to focus our story about that event. It has previously been posted, but if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out!

Our second project consisted of approaching strangers to ask them why they love Berlin. This was a fun project because we got a variety of answers from people all over the globe. Most people will say that I can approach anyone and strike up a conversation with them, no trouble at all. But, for me, approaching people to ask them to be apart of our project was the most difficult part about it at first. After we got rolling, it got easier and easier and it was a lot of fun! I also got to take the reigns of Labi the Bubble Man’s bubble making while he talked to Jacque, Michael and Olivia about why he loves Berlin.  

We got a tour of the city early in the week from Jonny and towards the end of the week we got a different kind of tour of the city from our new friend, Max. The first tour we were able to see many sights of Berlin and I also got in touching distance of a duck! The second tour was a pub-crawl, in which we got to experience the nightlife of Berlin. We several people on the pub-crawl went to four bars and got VIP access into a club, and I can’t deny that I had an awesome time!

"Selfie" of the group during the tour of Berlin.

Yesterday, we also visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Oranienburg. That was a real heart clincher and really made me feel so thankful for all that I have been blessed with. It was very informational and it was good that we were all able to visit such a huge part of Germany’s history.

As I mentioned earlier, we left this morning to board a plane for Bonn. We met with the students at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University in which they met us at the airport and directed us to our hotel. They also prepared lunch for us and told us what we would be doing with them for their projects for the remainder of the week. I loved getting to know the students of Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and I look forward to spending time with them this week and getting to know them even better!

Bonn-Rhien-Sieg students greeting us at the airport!

So far my experience overseas has been incredible (even though water is more expensive than beer here in Germany). I have learned a lot about myself as a person, the culture and history of this country and I have met a lot of people that I know I will keep in contact with for a long time. I am making memories with friends, both new and old, that I will never forget and I am loving every second of it!

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1 comment:

  1. Nice job, Ashley... Enjoy every minute of each day.