My German Holiday Experience in Spain

Since returning to Germany from my visit back to the United States in April, I have been busy every week with school. I came back from break on April 10, with my classes starting less than a week later on the 16th. If you have read my earlier blog posts regarding my classes, school has been very stressful for me this semester — but it’s also been an opportunity for growth.

I had not had a break from school since it started, and the stress was actually affecting my health and well being. I decided a vacation away from school for a weekend was what I needed to get myself motivated again.

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What’s it Like Taking Courses in a Foreign Language?

I took it upon myself to learn another language during my academic year abroad. I have been living in Germany for 9 months so far, and my German is progressing every day.

My first semester here in Germany was dedicated to specifically learning the language, and I was able to get my German from A1 level to a B1 level in the time that I have been here. Due to the level of my language progression I was able to transfer to the University of Ulm, where I now take mathematics courses that will help towards graduation.

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Getting Back in the Swing of Things

After having two months of break, I finally started classes here at the University of Ulm this week — officially starting the second leg of my academic year in Germany. I just got back from the United States on April 12 and was lucky enough to recover from jet lag right before my classes began, so I was fresh and ready to go.

This week has been a very interesting for me in many ways, and I wanted to discuss this more in detail here.

First I want to talk about Ulm, and then what my university classes are like.

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Saying Goodbye to Tübingen, Saying Hello to my New Home in Ulm

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!

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Christmas in Scandinavia, New Year’s in Prague

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.

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Weihnachtsmärkte in Deutschland (Christmas Markets in Germany)

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.

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Berlin: A Capital and More

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.

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Experiencing Elections Abroad

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!

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