I feel like I just arrived in Berlin, but I have already spent four whole days in this beautiful city. First of all, the city exceeds expectations. It is absolutely wonderful and I almost feel as if I am in a dream. Everyone has become fast friends and we have spent a lot of time together exploring the city. From seeing historical sights to eating local cuisine, this week has been an amazing experience.
This week we had German lessons. Everyone was split into two classes because some of us can speak German and some of us can’t. I am one of the lucky ones that decided to take up German and I am thankful I did so. The people that don’t know the language are gaining an appreciation for it, but I don’t think they will ever understand the marvelous feeling of being in a foreign place and understanding the signs around them. My knowledge of German has been an absolute blessing and although I am far from fluent, my conversation skills have been bolstered through class and interactions with German people. I have been ordering in German the past couple of days, reading menus in German, analyzing every word I see, and casually eavesdropping on the subway. Sometimes I hear native Germans complaining or making comments about us, but I don’t dwell on any of the negative things. Even if I speak German, some people speak English back, but I will keep trying to use the language. I think my interactions with German speakers will improve my language skills and give me a better understanding of the culture here in Berlin.
Germans are punctual and precise. All of our meetings have occurred right when they should begin. I have noticed that public transportation is a beautiful thing and the time predictions are always accurate. But once I get on a bus, I miss Pittsburgh and the Port Authority buses just a bit because the buses are almost the same, right down to the pattern on the seats. So far, I have learned that our area is geared more towards adults and that young adults our age live elsewhere. They usually live together because a student fresh out of university earns minimum wage and barely makes enough to cover rent and food. However for us Americans, everything is cheaper including beer and food. The political atmosphere is relaxed, but you can find tension if you know where to look. Some Germans are anxious about the election in North Rhine Westphalia because they will be a predictor for the big election in September. However, most Germans believe Angela Merkel will win the position of Chancellor once again. There is barely any mention of the upcoming elections in newspapers. Although Merkel tries to appear more conservative under the watch of the CDU, she is a powerful woman with important ideas that will improve Germany.
So far, everything has been wonderful. The German people are extremely helpful when dealing with the English speakers of the group and they are also extremely patient with us German speaking students. I am eager to prove that I am worthy of the space I take up in Berlin by dedicating myself to the language and my internship. I am excited to begin working on Monday and I can’t wait to share my opinions of my new workplace. I am sure that my internship will be amazing.