Well, I suppose it's time to start staying on top of this! Aside from being my personal cyber spot for my life's adventures, this blog is simultaneously serving as a Colleges of the Fenway Study Abroad blog for future/other travelers! Greetings to you all, I plan on sharing major points of interest during my travels, but some of my more minute details and/or personal experiences will be saved for the good ol' trusty paper journal & pen I'll keep at my bedside! Side note: After reading over this post, I noticed my apparent excessive use of parentheses...partly used for language translations and partly because I have a lot to say! Thanks for bearing with me, and please enjoy seeing from my perspective!
So. For starters, I was advised that I should provide you all with a sort of introduction about my program. My program is formally known as the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE): Business + Culture Program in Berlin, Germany. This program specifically focuses on business (as you can imagine ;) ) & therefore includes many opportunities to strengthen my business knowledge! My stay is just under five months from March to July 2013. During which, I will be registered for 6 courses taught at Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (Berlin's School of Economics and Law). Along with regularly scheduled academics, my CIEE group will also take trips to local businesses, corporations, and also a three-day weekend to Frankfurt, aka the financial center of both Germany & continental Europe (!!).
Next, I should probably tell you why I chose Germany! For background, my love for international travel began via my study abroad trip to Granada, Spain during late May to late June of 2012. Although my stay was relatively brief, my experiences were largely influential! I was blown away by the friendly and inquisitive people, gorgeous historical landmarks, perfectly maintains public parks, and everything in between! I came across other international travelers from Germany and ended up befriending them. One in particular and I found that we shared a lot of similar passions and interests. We were able to learn a lot from each other; one lesson being ein bisschen Deutsch! I love and feel very confident speaking Spanish, so starting German simply expanded my love for language! I was so interested, in fact, that I took a semester-long course at the Goethe Institut in Boston this past fall. It was an independent choice and wasn't even awarded scholastic credit ( >:o). The only thing it gave me was an abundance of cross-cultural knowledge, plenty of speaking practice, and a fulfilling sense of personal growth! Conclusively, I'd measure the payoff as quite substantial, haha.
To get to my point: if you mix new-found desire to learn German, a love for travel, and a student majoring in Business Management and Finance, Germany's the place! The country's got an impressive economic system, tons of international connections, and modern technology. Not to mention it is "going green" in some spectacular ways (loving Planet Earth is one of my other interests).
The last requested topic concerns my first impression upon arrival in Germany. Well, technically, I am still here on Cape Cod! But, with less than 4 weeks until my plane lifts into the sky, my mind is definitely starting to crawl outside of U.S. borders. My 21st birthday should be one to remember since that's when I land in Dublin for my connection to Berlin! I had my online pre-departure meeting today and found out some great news! I decided to do another home stay, and I was told they’ll have dogs! I’ll have breakfast and dinner with them every day & a quick, easy, and free 30 minute commute to my campus. Did I forget to mention free? No, no I did not. Compared to Boston’s rising public transportation costs, I’d say Berlin’s whole “Students ride for free” idea is outta the park! Also, my group totals 6 students—which allows for greater creativity when deciding our 2 extra unplanned group trips! They say France is an easy 4 hour speed train trip from Frankfurt, so I may need to check that out!
Packing, practicing German, and imagining future adventures have become a part of my daily routine…I am getting super excited! The most grueling of all tasks has become narrowing my list of new songs to stuff onto my iPod...so there's a glimpse into the ease of international travel! (Small joke, the logistics such as my passport, flights, exchange rates, cellphone plans, etc. were the very first things I took care of!) Smooth sailing so far. I’ll keep savoring time at home until it’s Auf Wiedersehen, America und Hallo, Deutschland!