This week has been overwhelming, meeting the group, going through orientation, and starting classes, but I can tell already that it’s going to be an unforgettable summer.
I got here Sunday, took the train to Frankfurt, and stayed overnight in a hostel in Freiburg. In the morning I took a taxi to the IES center, where I was greeted by some of the staff for the program. Apparently I was the first to arrive, and they were really excited to see me! After filling out some paperwork, they sent me in another taxi to meet my housing tutor at my dorm. I’m living in a neighborhood called Vauban, where there are a bunch of buildings where German and international university students live. It’s a pretty interesting place, with lots of unique people. Everything is painted with bright colors and designs, and there are funny posters and plants covering every open surface. There must not be very strict decorating rules here. The individual rooms are the opposite- white walls, white bed, wardrobe, desk, bare floor. The apartments are split up into suites, with five to eight people living together and sharing a kitchen/lounge area. I have four roommates, three Germans and one American. I was excited that there was at least one other American with me, but it turns out she is leaving next week. That’s okay, the Germans are really nice also and are very good at English.
We all met up for dinner that night and started to get to know each other. There’s a little over twenty people in the group, from all over the US. There is also one guy from Turkey, who I’m sure will be very helpful when we go there in July. Everyone seems really cool, I hope I’ll be able to get to know them all in this short time. The first few days were filled mostly with orientation stuff, going over everything from academics to safety to the field trips. Lots of info. There’s another group here, all from North Texas University, learning German for about a month. We’ll see them in the center but otherwise they do totally separate things.
On Thursday we were supposed to go on a hike in the Black Forest, but it was postponed because of rain. Apparently this is one of the worst summers in history weather-wise, which is really a drag. I was looking forward to Freiburg as the sunniest city in Germany. Hopefully it will get better soon. Instead of the hike we all took a train into the Black Forest to a town called Titisee. It was pretty geared towards tourists, but it was still pretty and fun. Some people went on paddleboats in the lake, and I did a mini-hike around the area with some of the others. Afterwards we went to another town for coffee and cake.
Friday was our first day of class. The lecture was pretty introductory, but that was good because I don’t know as much as I probably should about the EU, and I can tell we’re going to go a lot more in depth in the future classes. The teacher seems nice, she’s from Turkey but I’m pretty sure she said she’s lived in Germany for a few years.
It’s been really fun exploring Freiburg this past week, I really like how because of the University there’s so many young people. Getting around was pretty confusing at the beginning because for me all of the streets look basically the same, but I’m finally getting used to it. The tram is so helpful, I never have to wait more than five minutes and I can get wherever I need to be in twenty. We all bought passes for June, so we can get on the tram as many times as we want without buying a ticket!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Susanna Bowers grew up in Seattle, Washington before moving to the small town of Walla Walla to attend Whitman College. She is studying economics, and is very excited to get a more global perspective through the European Union coursework and field trips. At school, she is an intern at the career center and an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. In her free time, you will likely find her eating thai food, listening to country music, or hanging out with friends. She has been to Europe before, but only for short stays and never to Germany. She can't wait to be able to explore new places and meet all sorts of interesting people this summer!</span></p>