As my time here in Munich draws slowly to a close, it astounds me that a year has already gone by. After missing so much news back in the US, it is odd to think that I will be back there so soon and be right back in the middle of things in DC. But, alas, “so it is” as the Germans say. At the end of such a long, immersive program, many speak of how they learned more about themselves and how their time in another place truly changed their lives. I will try to stay away from clichés, but this year abroad was truly one of the best experiences of my undergraduate life and I will sincerely miss and think fondly of the time that I spent here in southern Germany. ...continue reading "Saying Auf Wiedersehen"
You all know how the rest of it goes. July 15 is my last day in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Around 8.30 p.m., I will be leave Ezeiza International Airport and fly for 10 hours until I return to the United States (i.e., JFK). I can't really describe how I feel as I finish packing up my things and think about ending this experience. During my time in Argentina I had the good fortune of meeting excellent people from all around the world, learning from great professors, and enjoying Argentina's natural wonders, history, and culture. Studying abroad changed my life. It made me more independent, more confident in my abilities to connect across cultures, and it showed me how much we can learn from one another. ...continue reading "All Good Things"
Now that I’ve finished telling the story of my wonderful and epic adventures around the world with Morgan over the course of our semester break, I’d like to talk briefly about how life in Munich has changed since being back from vacation and how I’ve been getting by in my second semester at the Ludwig Maximillians Universität.
Since the second semester here has started, the Junior Year in Munich program has gained over 40 new students who study with us for one semester and generally leave around the same time as the full-year students like me. It has certainly been nice getting to know and experience life abroad with other like-minded people, but this has also served as a catalyst for me to get out and really try to engage with Germans at the university and who live near me. These friendships, while perhaps not having a huge possibility of being re-kindled later, have not only improved my ability to speak German, but they have provided great insights into how Germans think about particular subjects and how they treat friendships in comparison to Americans. On average, I can say that the Germans are much more serious about their friendships than us Americans. In the States, short-term friends are certainly not uncommon. An example of this could be someone that you sit next to on a bus or subway and have a great conversation with, but never see again and make no attempt to contact. Here in Germany, if both parties show interest in starting a friendship, you had better be prepared to work that person into your schedule and really put forth effort into the relationship before you two can be considered friends and more than just acquaintances. In this sense, I suppose the word “Freund” is used far less loosely than we use “friend” or “pal.” Despite this, I have made some great friends here in Germany and hope very much that they can make it over to the U.S. soon, so that I can give them a taste of where I’m from and why I think like I do. ...continue reading "Getting By With Help From My Freunde"
Sorry for the lull guys. Things really picked up down here in the past two weeks! June 28 was the last day of the "cuatrimestre" at UCA. That means I am finally done with those three hour-long classes that start at 7.45 am and spending way too many pesos on photocopies. It also means that I'm pretty much done with eating delicious medialunas (sweet butter croissants). The last one is hard for me because I became a medialuna convert on Day 1 and know that it will be hard to find them in Washington, D.C.
This week has been filled with work. I don't usually stress about academics (I'm of the belief that you should study the subjects you love so you never think of them as work), but when you still haven't packed, bought souvenirs for the family, finished the final touches on those fall internship applications, and your 13 hour intercontinental flight leaves on July 15, you can probably get the picture. ...continue reading "Finals Week"
Semester Break Vacation Part 10: Paris
Ah, finally, our end destination: the city of love, the city of lights, Paname, PARIS! After quite a long time discussing in broken French with a customer service agent how we would get to Paris from Lyon, we finally made it in around 7pm and, of course, it was snowing. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem, had the soles of my boots not begun to separate a few days before from all of the walking. You know what that means: wet, cold feet. Morgan was also having some issues with her shoes, so as soon as we dropped our stuff off with our host, stop #1 was a shoe store.
With dry shoes and a much better attitude, around 8:30 on our first night, we got to do what we had been dreaming of for weeks…eat Chipotle. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of really experiencing the culture in foreign lands, and specifically experiencing the food culture. However, just for one night, we allowed ourselves to be nostalgic for our homeland and compensate for Germany’s lack of Chipotle, having lived without it for nearly 7 months. Bellies full, we strolled over to the Louvre Museum, although it was closed, and simply enjoyed the great views of the palace and glass pyramids being lit while the snow fell gently on the ground. A better first night could not have been had! ...continue reading "And a Baguette for the Road"