Hello and Happy New Year!
So, something exciting finally happened! I’m currently attending the International Winter University (IWU) in Kassel for the winterm 2016-2017! The program is a wonderful 3 week experience and I’ll be sharing my trip with you guys! I hope that’s alright.
So day 1 starts in Berlin. Well. Actually it starts in Chicago and ends in Berlin the next day (which by the way is a crazy concept to me!) The flight went extremely well. Perfect, actually! There were no delays, no lost luggage, no rude neighbors in the next seats. The flight first went to Frankfurt, which was about 8 hours of a flight. Then another hour to Berlin.
I honestly can’t believe that everything went so smoothly. We got to our hotel in one piece and within an hour of landing, we were exploring the wonderful city of Berlin! Mind you, by this time we had missed America’s sleeping time, so I was extremely tired, but you can’t sleep when there is so much to see!
So we figured out the public transportation and went into the heart of the city. One of the first things I noticed was the amount of graffiti on all the sidewalks, buildings, and streets. It’s literally everywhere here and it’s not like in America where it seems to be frowned upon, it’s seen as an art. I forgot to take a picture of some of it, but I did get some of the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery, which you’ll see later!
So Berlin is known for their Christmas markets. It’s essentially the same set up as a farmers market, only better. There’s Christmas lights everywhere, tons of food and trinkets, a lot of beer of course, ice skating, fair rides, and so much more. It was such an amazing experience to see one, 10/10 would recommend. Plus, Christmas is over, and they are still open! Which makes it even better! I even got a free (well, not essentially free, I just got to keep it after ordering some hot chocolate) mug!
After the Christmas market we explored some of Berlin’s famous monuments. Pictures below!
We went out to eat and I tried the authentic German food, currywurst.. As much as I wish I liked it, I wasn’t too much of a fan. But hey, at least I tried it.
I ended up going to bed shortly after because it was such a long day and jet lag is definitely a problem.
Day 2 started off well, while I woke up still tired I was ready and amped for the day because it’s when the IWU officially started! We met up with the coordinator at the hostel we are staying in and met a few of the other students. We put our pesky luggage down and then we decide to go to the Berlin Zoo. Now, I love animals, obviously or I wouldn’t be studying animal biology, and it was seriously a huge zoo.
After an afternoon at the zoo we met up with the rest of the students that were part of the IWU program and met the team we would be studying with for the next couple weeks. Everyone in this program is so nice. I’m really looking forward to getting to know them more.
Day 3 consisted of many walking tours and getting to know the city of Berlin. There’s just so much to see in that city! It’s so pretty and historic. We even had the opportunity to visit the parliament building in Berlin. I wish there was a better way to describe the feelings I had running through my head, but I’ll just let you look at the pictures and see for yourself!
The next day was New Year’s Eve and that was probably my favorite day in Berlin. We went to another Christmas market and I had some amazing potato soup! (I really enjoy food.) But the best part was that evening when we went to the largest New Year’s celebration in Germany located at the Brandenburg Tor. It’s like New Year’s in New York, only not quite as large. It was such an amazing experience. Although, Germans seem to be less into the whole huge party thing. (Not that this is bad), but there wasn’t as much commotion and dancing and such as there is in America, but it was fun nonetheless. The best part is the fireworks. Fireworks are only allowed on New Year’s unlike in America when you can get them and shoot them off whenever. So this was a huge celebration time for Germany, the fireworks over the city were insane! It was literally everywhere. Think of 4th of July on steroids… no joke. It was SO COOL. Also, a little terrifying because they were everywhere, and safety was definitely slack haha.
I’m not sure anything could have topped my experience in Berlin. The next day we were traveling to Kassel where I’ll be studying German Language and Culture for 2 and a half weeks. I can’t wait to learn more about this beautiful country and make memories that are going to last a lifetime. Stay tuned for more!
Until next time- Desiree