Is This Really Happening: Almost to Berlin

Caroline Campos
June 23, 2019

Richmond is currently 90 degrees and probably the most beautiful I have seen it in the four years I’ve lived here. Blue skies, thousands of trees, and puffy white clouds straight out of movies bring me some peace as I sulk in a melting pot of nerves, excitement, gratitude, and thirty tabs on German history. I’m originally from Brazil, and even though I’ve lived in the United States since I was ten months old, going to Europe, Germany at that, for my college study abroad was not necessarily something I was expecting to do. My plan was to go to Latin America to solidify my Portuguese and Spanish and study U.S./Latin America relations. Little did I know that Berlin in and of itself could present opportunities to speak almost any language and immerse myself in multiple cultures. What has become a somewhat problematic buzzword, multiculturalism is something constantly on my mind. The term can be used to describe a community or communities with many cultures represented and learning from each other but more often than not it seems to be used in such a way that ignores the challenges of actually existing in a multicultural society. From the refugee crises in Europe to histories of exchanging labor across borders makes Berlin and Germany are hotspots of understanding the practices of multiculturalism. I look forward to exploring this while I’m in Berlin.

In the process of learning German culture without necessarily speaking too much German, I’m preparing myself for potential culture shock or culture clash - uncomfortable encounters or misunderstandings based on cultural differences. I’ve most definitely experienced this before, though. Having moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Wisconsin to Virginia in a span of about 14 years, adapting to new ways of social interaction isn’t necessarily new to me and nonetheless still a feat to work through. I’m trying to go into this experience, 47 days in Berlin, with optimism, a non-judgemental and open mind, and as much kindness and compassion for myself as I take this step. While I’m there, I hope to connect with the Latin communities present in Berlin and the music there, specifically hip hop and R&B. I already have a couple community fashion events lined up to attend. Of course, my main focus will be my classes, which I’m genuinely so excited for. Studying Global Sustainability & Design and Politics of Remembrance coming from Virginia will hopefully push the bounds of my present understanding of what it means to memorialize and to do so sustainably. It’s Saturday morning, and I leave Monday afternoon. So, once this blog is published, I’ll start packing. By the time you’re reading this, hopefully I’m well on my way to getting everything I need together. My current plan is to majorly underpack (packing just my necessities and favorite clothes) so I have enough room for what I collect along the way. To say the least, I don’t know if I’m 100% ready, but I don’t necessarily think that I need to be to be able to get on my flight Monday afternoon.

Caroline Campos

<p>My main interests are music (bossa nova, hip hop, R&amp;B, soul, funk, etc.), visual and performance art, spoken word poetry, and movies when I have the time! I've lived around the US from California to Wisconsin to Virginia and was born in Brazil. San Francisco was a good place to grow up but too expensive, Wisconsin is beautiful in the summer but deadly in the winter, and Virginia is... a whirlwind of a state. I go the University of Virginia and am currently undeclared, hoping to study something with politics, architecture, or media studies.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Virginia
Richmond, VA
Global Studies
Urban Studies
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