While in my last blog I focused on the things I may try and do differently in my next semester abroad, I wanted to take this final blog as an opportunity to dive into the amazing experiences I’ve been able to have in Berlin. Between newly discovered fond memories and learning opportunities, this entire semester has been something I will certainly remember for the rest of my life.
After finishing my last final, I realized I needed to try and find a way to record anything I could remember from the semester. I have a bad habit of always in the moment thinking I will remember everything from an experience. This leads me to typically not record or write down much from something important in my life now, leading me to recall everything from whatever comes to mind through photos. To try and take some of my own advice from my last blog, I decided to make a Google Doc containing every memory I could possibly recall from the semester. Once I had finished recording everything, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of these moments through a blog to give a sort of highlight reel of my abroad experience.
With that, here’s a collection of my favorite and most impactful memories from the semester:
- Walking into my homestay building in Bergmannkiez for the first time and falling in love with the gorgeous place I would be living for the next several months.
- Taking a walk with my host family the first night I stayed with them through Tempelhofer Feld. I remember watching the sunset on my first day in an entirely new city and being thrilled about the new adventure I was embarking on.
- Going on a walking tour of Berlin with the IES Abroad students for the first time! I remember getting to meet some of the other students for the first time and feeling so excited to get to know them better over the next few months.
- Getting to see Cabaret at one of the last open air cinema showings in Berlin! It felt like such a great way to enjoy the last few moments of beautiful weather in the city, and I also got to do so with other IES Abroad students which made the experience more memorable.
- Hitting my 365-day Duolingo streak while studying abroad. I had been so committed to trying to work on my language development throughout my time in college, so meeting this milestone while being in a foreign country on this incredible experience was an amazing feeling.
- Going to my first classical music concert in a beautiful venue in Berlin. It was one activity that I hadn’t thought to try before, and it was such a great new activity to try. Being in Berlin, I feel like I had tons of opportunities to try something new. I was surprised by how many times it rewarded me, and it has certainly compelled me to try more new things.
- Attending multiple plays with my German Pop Culture class! I felt like I was able to engage with the city in such a meaningful way through the targeted field trips coordinated with professors. Each IES professor had us dive into Berlin in different ways, and these theater performances were a fun and unique way to do so.
- Experiencing my first solo-travel trip! It was something that had frightened me for a long time, yet I finally got the courage to try it out and was pleasantly surprised.
- Having dinner with my host parents and family at the end of the semester. This was one of the first times my parents had heard me speak lots of German, and it was also the first time both of my host parents met my family. Not only did it feel like a great way to close the semester in Berlin, yet I also was able to feel a great sense of accomplishment for how far I had come in my language development.
Through all the challenges and moments where I questioned my decision to push myself in this powerful way, I left Berlin overwhelmed with beautiful memories and excitement for how I might continue the personal growth I’ve had in different settings. I had the best time and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Berlin. Auf Wiedersehen!
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Howdy folks! My name is Josef Kiesenhofer, and I'm a passionate accounting, German, and Spanish student excited to explore the world. I love all things blue and embroidering on clothes. I sometimes have a broadcast radio DJ show, too!