Yes, I still can’t believe I’m actually in Germany. It has been a crazy 2 weeks! I’ve been learning how to take the German public transport, buy groceries at a German supermarket, and communicate in German with my host mum and teachers. I’m not going to lie, it feels quite overwhelming with everything hitting me all at once. I’m sure it will get better as time goes by. For now, here is a timeline and some highlights of my first two weeks in Germany.
After travelling for close to 20 hours, I met Yea Rang, who is also a Hope student, at the airport. We took a taxi and headed to the IES Center in Berlin! We arrived around 10:30 a.m. and had a short tour of the IES Center bulding.
Then, we sat in a lounge and socialized with other students until 4:00 pm which was when our host families were scheduled to pick us up. It was quite a long wait since we arrived in the morning. We were very tired as you can see below.
My host mum picked me up in a car and we headed back to the apartment. On the way home, she pointed out many famous buildings and told me more about herself. Before heading back to the apartment, she had to drop off the car in a garage close by because it was a part of a car-sharing service. I didn’t know what car-sharing was until she explained it to me. Car-sharing is something like car rental except, one can rent a car for a short period of time. In a big city like Berlin, it is always hard to find street parking so many people often opt for car-sharing. We then walked back to the apartment. I was shocked by the flight of stairs I had to climb to get to her apartment. It was on the 4th floor! In the U.S., it would be the 5th floor! (The first floor is, technically, considered the 0 floor.) It was an old building which was why there wasn’t an elevator. I had to carry my heavy suitcase which weighed about 50 lbs. up 8 flights of stairs! It was definitely a workout!
When I walked into the apartment, I was welcomed by a really cute Labrador! My host mum quickly showed me to my room, and I started to unpack. Later that night, my host mum cooked dinner and we ate together. It was a really nice meal after all that travelling!
The next day, we had orientation sessions followed by a guided walking tour of central Berlin. It was a fantastic tour because we got to see some of the famous tourist spots and historical buildings!
On Friday, right after more orientation sessions, we had a scanvenger hunt around the city! The main purpose was to show us different parts of the city and to learn how to use the different public transports in Berlin. The Berlin public transportation system is quite outstanding, but it can be really complicated in the beginning. Here, they have many different means of transportation, which includes trains, subways, commuter rails, trams, and buses!
The weekend passed by quickly and it was already time to start my two-week German intensive course. It was tiring because it was a 3 hours and 15 mins class, every day, from Monday to Friday. It was a good thing that it started in the morning and ended before 1:00 pm. I was also quite surprised that we weren’t given much homework! 🙂
Fast forward to Friday, I went on a movie date with Yea Rang and watched my first movie in a movie theater in Berlin! The movie ticket was quite cheap compared to the U.S. because it was only 5 euros for everyone under 25!
The next day, I met up with Yea Rang around noon and went to Markthalle Neun (Market Hall Nine) — an indoor market with many different stalls that sell food, drinks, desserts, vegetables, fruits, and many more! It even has a small Aldi inside the market! We walked around and decided to get like a platter of meat with veggies for lunch! We had a €1.60 ice cream later on, which was the perfect finish to our meal!
After that, we took the bus and headed to our next destination, which was the Berlin East side gallery! It was an open-air gallery with murals painted on it. It is also a remnant of the Berlin Wall. The sun was out and it was such a beautiful day! At this time of the year, Berlin is always so gloomy and grey so having the sun out felt really nice!
The weekend ended, and it was time to continue my second week of intensive class. So far, Berlin has been really nice to me. I am slowly getting used to some things here and am learning new things everyday! It still feels overwhelming, but if I take it one step at a time, I’m sure I will be fine. Thank you for reading! Till’ the next blog!