It is shocking that this adventure has already come to an end. I have learned so much, but have only been able to share so little on this blog! Outside of the language barrier, I have basically become acclimated to living and working in Berlin–which gives me immense hope in my dreams of becoming an international businessman.
I have toured the whole of the city and have done some pretty incredible things. My favorites:
- Toured the Reichstag and learned about German politics.
- Payed my respects at a concentration camp about an hour north of Berlin.
- Visited the oldest pub in Berlin with family.
- Got some history lessons on a Third Reich tour of Berlin.
- Walked through the Tiergarten–Berlin’s Central Park.
- Sampled the view atop of Berlin’s TV Tower.
- Visited nearby Prague and Dresden with friends.
- Observed antiquity at various museums in the main square.
- Toured the famous Berliner Dom church.
And, finally, I leave you with lessons I have learned for studying and working abroad that I emailed to my Notre Dame mentor a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!
- See the city and country that you’re studying or working in before traveling internationally. This one is particularly interesting. I have had friends from America with me here and the first thing that they did when they got to Berlin was figure out how they were going to leave Berlin every weekend. This upcoming weekend is my sixth weekend in Berlin and I still haven’t done everything that I have wanted to. Instead of “getting a taste” of Europe, I formed a unique connection with this city and its amazing history.
- Only commit to those activities that you cannot do anywhere else in the world. I have seen peers here (and I am sometimes guilty as well) that will choose the beach over seeing Hitler’s bunker and will choose shopping for Burberry instead of touring the Reichstag. We are all different and have different tastes, but I would suggest to anyone to take advantage of the experiences only available in your city.
- Do what you want while you’re here; you never know the next time you will (if at all) have this opportunity. Many of my peers, including myself, have “bandwagoned” on the popular activity of the weekend. It’s okay to be by yourself and see what you want to; in fact, I think I function best while by myself. If those people doing the “popular” activity are your friends, they will understand.
- Read, read, read as much history and general knowledge about the location in which you’re working and studying. My experience has been that much deeper and more amazing because I understand the significance of the area. Plus, people are often impressed with my knowledge and it is a great way to start a conversation and delve further into the cultural implications of history. Reading–even if it is stupid Wikipedia articles (very guilty)–has developed this experience into a connection with Berlin and an incredible learning journey.
Thanks for joining me on this amazing adventure! Have a great semester!
Friends at Berlin’s Reichstag.
A concentration camp visit north of Berlin.
A Gallery of the Berlin Wall.
The famous Berlin Zoo Gate.
The Olympic Rings and Stadium that housed the notorious 1936 Games.