I keep procrastinating writing this post, because I cannot accept that my time in Berlin has come to an end. Hopefully, I will be able to return at some point in the future. Three weeks was an ideal time to spend there. The time frame allowed me to completely experience the city and culture without anything becoming redundant. If I had been there any longer, I probably would have tried to spend one weekend in another city. I will miss most the friends I made while in Berlin. In only 21 days, I made lifelong friendships with people from all walks of life. Eating, sleeping, learning, and exploring with people really bonds you together. Given my positive experience, I definitely plan to study abroad again, maybe even more than once.
The low prices of everything, especially food, surprised me most. I didn’t have access to a kitchen, and the hotel only provided breakfast. Consequently, I had to eat lunch and dinner out each day. This seems daunting, but everything was more than reasonable. The average lunch in Berlin costs three Euros and the average dinner seven. Travel within Berlin and throughout Europe is also notably inexpensive. For only 81 Euros, I purchased a monthly public transportation pass. It was worked for all trains, buses, subways, and trolleys and for anywhere in the city.
Given the limited required expenses, my advice to others would be to allow themselves to splurge on experiences. It is not every day that we, as students, get to explore the international cities. As such, I think it is worth it to spend the extra money to see or do something that you couldn’t elsewhere. For example, while the TV Tower is beautiful from the ground, the views from the observation desk were breathtaking. The trip to the top was well worth the extra ten Euros to me. Another tip I have is to travel off the beaten path. I would definitely suggest seeing all the sights the Berlin is famous for, such as the Berliner Dom and Reichstag, but I would also suggest to spend some time experiencing the local culture – don’t restrict yourself to the typical tourist activities. Most people don’t realize that Berlin is home to more than 20 lakes, and one of my favorite days was spent at one of these lakes.
In the classroom, I learned valuable information that I can use to not only to advance my education, my future career, and possibly a future entrepreneurial venture. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but the payoff can be immense. Contrary to popular belief, the idea does not have to be groundbreaking; it just has to solve some kind of problem. In my opinion, the two main obstacles that entrepreneurs face is securing funding and gaining acceptance. The final week of classes was dedicated to a project in which we were paired with startup companies to help them develop their business strategies. I worked with a company that manufactures organic protein bars with cricket powder. The entrepreneur’s main problem is that most consumers are reluctant to eat crickets, even though they are healthier than the alternatives. This hands-on experience with changing people’s perception of something in order to gain acceptance will be particularly useful in my future endeavors.