A Tale of Two Cities: Berlin & Warsaw

Sabrina Hunte
September 21, 2018

History books might prepare you academically but they cannot prepare you emotionally. My history book didn't tell me that goosebumps would form on my arms as I read through the tribulations of fighters at the Warsaw Rising Museum or that I would feel my steps get heavy as I walked through the Stasi prison in Berlin. This is exactly what happened as my IES Abroad EU cohort made our way through Berlin and Warsaw. I loved every second of my time in both places. I'm not a history fanatic, but I think that something truly amazing happens when history comes alive right before your eyes. In both Warsaw and Berlin, they have built around their past, managing to preserve buildings and erect memorials, while modern accommodations and luxuries pop up next to them. Specifically in Berlin, where the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, presses up against apartment complexes and the Mall of Berlin, the juxtaposition of past and present is not jarring. Instead, it's a beautiful way to acknowledge the past while facing towards the future.

The most salient part of the trip for me was visiting the remnants of the Berlin Wall. This blog could have easily been titled, "A Tale of Two Cities: East Berlin & West Berlin". The wall has been down for years now but its legacy is still flowing through the city, or at least it felt that way to me. There are reminders of Berlin's division everywhere and while traveling through it, my mind sometimes wondered what side I stood on.

For a couple of years now, walls have been a hot topic.  In my opinion, they never truly solve the problem at hand and no matter how strong the wall is, it will eventually fall. I hope that one day the mental walls people and politicians have built around themselves will also crumble and allow them to see everyone as they are, without being inundated with preconceived notions about them. I'm in a good mood today, and I want to stay that way, so instead of delving deeper into politics, I'll leave you with this: in the future, when faced with the challenge of different languages, cultures, ideologies, let's try to build bridges instead of walls.

Sabrina Hunte

<p>Hi! My name is Sabrina and I'm from New Jersey but I go to Bowdoin College in Maine. I'm studying Environmental Studies and Government with a concentration in International Relations to prepare myself for a career in international diplomacy (fingers crossed!). Outside of academics, I am the president of the Caribbean Students Union (shoutout to my fellow Haitians/Guyanese!), a member of Bowdoin's Entertainment Board which coordinates concerts and activities for the student body, help low income families make their homes more energy efficient through AmeriCorps, and DJ two shows at my school's radio station. On my rare days off, I enjoy painting, binge watching rom coms on Netflix and hosting new album listening parties in my room.</p>

2018 Fall
Home University:
Bowdoin College
Newark, NJ
Environmental Studies
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