It’s been about 10 days since I’ve arrived in Berlin and it’s perfect! There are many activities to partake in around where I’m living, including historical site visits. There haven’t been many issues with language barriers here because most of the locals speak English as well as German. Sometimes making an order at a restaurant would require pointing to the menu but otherwise, adapting to the language differences is easy.
A good tip to remember for other travelers, regardless of where you go, is to convert your funds into the destination currency (Euros in my case) at an ATM in the airport when you arrive and around where you will be living. The costs of conversion are lower this way. Also, it is best to take out only small amounts at a time. In my case, I would only withdraw 100 euros at a time to avoid larger notes that vendors won’t accept and for security reasons.
One of the most important skills I’ve developed in my classes here is networking. Some of the professors have had extensive experience in their fields of study and are good mentors for future aspirations related to your own. I do not have an internship here, but I do have 3 one week classes that I take every day along with a basic German course. Each week is a different class with a different instructor, ending the weeks with an exam or project.
I have met multiple people from nations around the world. When they learn that I am from the United States, they will usually have questions about dialect, food or politics. Considering the spotlight that the US is in regarding our politics, that is usually a hot topic. Even with these conversations, I have no problem being an American and answering most questions.
A challenge I faced while abroad was getting around using public transit. I barely use public transit at my own school, let alone a foreign country. Using the friends around you and Google Maps to guide you can get you anywhere. We saw it as “if we’re getting lost, we’re getting lost together.” If you have a smartphone with you and a good data plan, Google maps and translate can help greatly.
Until next time,