By: Katrin Rochon
When my friends back in Maryland ask how I am doing in Germany, I struggle with where I should start. I mean, how can I put an amusing experience into a short conversation? Well to start off, I am living in host family, which means I have somebody to cook my breakfast and dinner. It’s a big change from eating the bland dorm food I eat every day at Goucher. Every day, I am not only treated to traditional German food, I also get to eat food from all over the world. I’m living in Berlin with my homestay, which has a large immigrant population just like L.A. Berlin, like L.A., has tons of immigrant-owned restaurants all over. In L.A., you have to drive all over to find a Turkish restaurant. You can’t just go across the street, like I do with the Italian restaurant in Berlin.
Another big difference is the fact that I do not live on campus. I have to take the bus to school, which means I can not get out of bed and walk to class in my pajamas like I do at Goucher. In fact, in Germany, students do not live on campus or spend my time at the college like we do in America. Most students go home after school or to work. They do not spend much time on the campus. Therefore, the cafeteria is only open during certain hours and usually it just for lunch.
The number of classes I am taking is also very different. Back at Goucher, I usually take four or five classes that usually last an hour and a half. Due to the program, I am only taking, I have three classes that last two and half hours and that meet one day a week. The exception in my German class which meets every day for three hours. My schedule in Germany is structured that I have Fridays off, and I am usually off exploring museums or local second-hand markets.
One thing I love about the country is the easy and reliable bus system. I can take it everywhere in Germany and often times if I am in new area, the bus has a map of where the line is traveling. There subways are always clean and neat very unlike L.A. subways, which always smell like pee. Often times, people are out late traveling at night and the subways are still working. I was able to take the bus out at 11 o’clock at night. I was shocked that I could take the bus that late, which in L.A., I would have had to take the taxi to get home at the hour. So far, the furthest that I have in Germany is Hamburg and I plan on using the bus system to go to London.
Despite the differences in my life between Germany and Goucher, there is still one main similarity which is that is that I still go to school, which means I still have to study. As much as I would like to slack off I cannot. That it why my advice to people of future study abroad programs is to make sure they do not sign up for to many classes, so they have time to explore the world. One wants to enjoy their time abroad like I am by exploring, which is what they study abroad experience is all about.
Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/84512930484172790/