Be[ing]Real in Freiburg: 10 Snapshots from My First Month in the Green City

Bekah Lindsay headshot
Bekah Lindsay
September 26, 2023
People around a table eating dinner

While I’d rather avoid tired clichés, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And I’d much rather show you my adventures than bore you with a lackluster description. So, without further ado, here’s 10 photos—straight from my BeReal—that best encapsulate my first month in Freiburg, Germany. 

  1. My first night in Freiburg!!!! All of us students from the Environmental Studies & Sustainability (ESS) Program met our wonderful Study Abroad Mentors (SAMs) in our neighborhood and took the tram to a lovely Italian restaurant in town. Pictured in the small photo is me (left) with one of my SAMs (right) who reminded me to switch my time zone so my future BeReals would be on time. In the blurry big photo are other IES Abroad students (who I’ve since gotten to know quite well), lots of empty plates (evidence of a satisfying meal), and in the bottom right corner pizza scissors (which brought us weirdly immense satisfaction that evening).
  2. On my third day in Freiburg, myself and a few other IES Abroad students visited Glaskiste, a zero waste wholesale store that best encompasses the sustainable living engrained in the Green City’s culture. Here you can bring (or buy) reusable containers to fill with local groceries and ethically sourced home goods. I was especially excited to see they had kombucha. And, I recently learned they carry bulk honey, so will be back soon to fill up my jar!

    BeReal in a zero waste store
  3. Admittedly, I can’t recall whether this photo was after a walk or after leaving an orientation session. Regardless, it captures the delightful experience of Freiburg public transport. In addition to five light rail lines, the  Freiburger Verkehrs AG (or VAG for short— pronounced “fow ah gay” so get your heads out of the gutter) has a few bus lines that traverse the greater Freiburg area. However, most of the city is also fairly walkable. Every week morning I take tram line three from my neighborhood, Vauban, to the city center. When I’m done for the day, I often walk back to my dorm following the tram’s tracks.

    BeReal in Train
  4. Pictured here is a badly-angled view of the student lounge in the Freiburg IES Abroad Center located in the heart of the city. Apart from being our central hub for classes and administration, you’ll often find people at the center finishing their readings, hanging out in the gardens, or playing the guitar.

    BeReal in IES Center
  5. Would a photo dump be a real photo dump without a food pic? I think not. Pictured above is myself with a few other IES Abroad students enjoying our favorite biweekly tradition — a post Wellness Walk treat. Every other Wednesday, staff from IES Abroad organize a nature walk around Freiburg which is usually followed by a stop for Eis :) I’ve found these adventures a fun way to connect with others and become more oriented with the area.

    BeReal with Eis
  6. Good food, good music, and good company! These first few weeks I often found myself in the kitchen with bunch of other IES Abroad students. We would get together to share a meal in someone’s flat — a great way to quell kitchen-anxiety, home sickness and bond over our favorite recipes.

    BeReal with Friends
  7. While the first few pics may have been deceiving, I swear you actually have to study during your study abroad time. The first few weeks us ESS students took an intensive German course at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg’s Sprachlehrinstitut with other international students. I had great fun making friends and practicing my language skills!

    BeReal in Class
  8. Another post Wellness Walk flick. This time we walked through Der Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) to St. Valentin a quaint restaurant in the forest where we enjoyed post-hike drinks. I had the johannisbeer-schorle (a sparkling currant juice).

    Wellness Walk BeReal
  9. Don’t we look so stylish! One of our favorite after class excursions is to scout out the local thrift shops. This one’s unique because you pay by weight of the clothes, and it’s aptly named the Kilo Shop. This particular afternoon I bought a long denim skirt, and one of my friends bought this awesome leather jacket with cool mismatched buttons. Stay tuned, there might be a thrift hall update in the near future :).

    BeReal at a thrift store
  10. And last but not least is a snapshot of my in-progress collage wall. I felt quite sad looking up at a blank space so rather impulsively started tacking up maps, museum pamphlets, notes, and other memories to fill the space. Feels like home already!

    BeReal in my room

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Bekah Lindsay headshot

Bekah Lindsay

Hi y'all! My name is Bekah. I'm a junior at Williams College; inside and outside the classroom I'm interested in all things food justice. You'll also often find me on mini-adventures collecting flowers, ticket stubs, and stickers for my scrapbook!

2023 Fall
Home University:
Williams College
Environmental Studies
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