This week I found myself finally settling into a routine here in Freiburg, which makes it feel more like I’m living here rather than just on some incredible extended vacation. Every day a group of us goes to the marketplace by the main church (the Munster) for lunch, and everyone gets sausages. I eat meat, but I’m not big on sausages, so I’ve become a regular at the crepe stand down the street. Sweet or savory, they’re always delicious, and the lady at the stand has started to recognize me and chuckles a little each time I come. Oh well, they’re worth it!
It was our first full week of classes, and our first time splitting up for our electives. There are three options: Econ, Culture, and International Relations- I chose econ because that’s what I’m most interested in, and I can also get credits towards my major back at school. I really that class, much more than the politics seminar that we all take. In politics, the professor assumes we have a lot of background knowledge about the EU and the history of the Balkans, while in econ we’re learning all of the basics first so that we can more easily understand today’s economic situation. I came to this program hoping to learn about the EU, while others already know a lot about it, which is why I think I appreciate my elective more. The professor is super friendly and flexible, and even invited us to his favorite biergarten on Thursday evening!
Although we’ve been settling into our class work this week, a major part of the second part of the program was changed on Wednesday. Due to the unpredictability of the riots in Turkey, the staff decided to cancel our field trip there in July. I was really bummed about this decision, even though I realize why it makes sense. Instead of that second trip, they are thinking about just extending our Bosnia excursion to two weeks, and taking us to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and Kosovo as well. While it’s no Istambul, I think this new plan will be exciting in a different way. Those are countries that I would really never consider going by myself, but it will be really cool to get the chance while we’re learning about them in our classes. Also I’ve heard that Croatia is absolutely incredible, and I’m really hoping we get a lot of time on the beach there. They haven’t worked out all of the details yet, but so far we’re scheduled to leave this coming Saturday morning for Sarajevo.
Apart from the classtime we’ve still found lots of ways to have fun. Monday and Wednesday were both birthdays of people in the group, so of course we had to celebrate! We explored some of the discotheques in the city, and discovered what is dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle”- three of the most popular clubs all right across from each other, where apparently something bad will always happen to you. It’s just a superstition from the university students, and nothing bad happened to any of us so I’ve decided to ignore that for now. Hope I’m not jinxing it by writing that down here! Anyways, we had a lot of fun. This weekend there was a party in Vauban that lasted from Friday afternoon until Sunday night, never stopping. It was the twentieth anniversary of this sustainable community of families that live right next to the dorms, and they went all out for the celebration. The best way I can think of to describe them is a bunch of hippies, but there are really no words for the decorations and entertainment that went on. Covering at least three blocks, there were fire breathers, men on stilts, every type of band you could imagine, multiple dance floors, parades, everything. It was awesome and crazy and unlike anything I’ve ever been to. We all spent both weekend nights there, and never even made it downtown.
On Saturday during the day, a group of us decided to go to Colmar, France, to check out the castles we had heard about there. After a tram, a train, and a bus, we finally arrived and immediately sat down at a cafe to eat. I felt like being in France was a good excuse to order a croque monsieur, and that was definitely the right decision. We wandered around the city for awhile, just exploring the different areas. My favorite part were the canals, which reminded me a lot of Venice. When we finally went to find the bus to take us to the castles, the last one had already left for the day. I wasn’t too disappointed because it was really hot and I felt like I had a fun, worthwhile day anyways. Maybe we’ll go back again another time, or maybe we’ll just explore the German castles.
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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>