My time in Germany has just hit the halfway point and I have just completed my first semester abroad — oh how time flies by so fast!
My German has significantly improved since being in Germany; I was an A1 level speaker before leaving the U.S. and am now considered B1 level (that’s a massive jump in just one semester!). Not only that but as of today I have traveled to 15 different countries since leaving the U.S. That’s a great accomplish that I am very proud of!
This year I was not able to go home for the holiday season, and wanted to do something extra special because of it. Therefore, at the last minute, I decided to book an excursion to Scandinavia that included a cruise to four cities: Helsinki, Finland; Saint Petersburg Russia (visa free!); Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm Sweden. This was a student trip led by an organization in Germany, so I got a steal for what I did!
I also went to Prague for New Year’s to visit a few SDSU friends who were also studying abroad. What an experience to celebrate New Year’s in the second most popular European city to visit for the occasion.
Below are a bunch of pictures from my travels, as well as descriptions to give you a little bit of background.
My first actual winter, what a cool experience! (see what I did there? 😉 )
Christmas is just around the corner and it is getting cold here with snow falling pretty often. But throughout the country of Germany, there are many towns that host a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt). They are unlike anything I’ve seen in the U.S.
One drawback of studying abroad is not being able to be with family during the holiday season, which makes it a little more difficult not to miss home this time of year. Unfortunately I was not able to go home and celebrate with any of my family this year. It honestly made me sad to think that my family was all together (one of the two holidays where this is the case) and I missed out on the occasion.
But, luckily, something happened the weekend before that made up for it every single bit.
Last weekend, the California State University students who are in Germany took a trip from our cozy region of Baden-Württemberg to the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin. Berlin is quite different from the wooded southwest that I am studying in. The city motto “Poor, but sexy” is well deserved. The city is still rebuilding after the unification of Germany, thus old and new are juxtaposed.
I have been living in Germany now for about 90 days, and I wanted to make a video to highlight my experiences so far and share my thoughts on why everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad should do so!
Enjoy the video! Hopefully it will help influence your decision to study abroad if you were ever considering it.
Over the weekend, I traveled to arguably one of my favorite places in Europe: Vienna, Austria. Austria is a German speaking country in central Europe that is known for its lovely café culture, being the center of many art movements, and being home to classical music and picturesque mountain ranges. However, as a newcomer to this land of mountains, I had no idea what really set it apart from Germany, which is also home to some of these things. Turns out, Austria is more than the Canada to Germany’s United States.
Last year, the United States had an election — for better or for worse. It was quite an emotional time and it occupied every facet of our lives for a year. During the last fall semester, I had made friends with exchange students from Germany and they were quite surprised at how prevalent the election was in the media and on campus. (They would later do a road trip to the inauguration). Now it was my turn to see a foreign election, but in Europe!