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Entries in Berlin (1)

Sunday
Jun072009

Arrival By Christine Parcells

I arrived in Berlin on a dreary Saturday night. I was less than thrilled to see it pouring down rain as I stepped off the plane, although thankfully, it stopped by the time I got outside.  It was very easy to get myself to the homestay in West Berlin that I had arranged through the German classes I would be taking. Graciously, the host provided me with a spread of food to choose from immediately, as all stores were closed. That first night, and the following, I think I must have slept 12 hours each as jet lag took its toll. 

I had two days to wander around Berlin before my German classes started. I don’t think I have been that silent in quite some time, but it was nice to take everything in and decompress before getting started on my project and class. I revisited some of the sites I had seen in a previous trips to Berlin. This time, I was able to see them in sunshine.  I had visited Berlin in April two years earlier and it was very cold and cloudy. Unfortunately, the warm weather has not lasted in Berlin and we have had one cold day after the next this past week, with scattered rain throughout. Cold weather is not the most conducive for wandering around and getting a feel for the city, but I had preparation to do before my first interviews that kept me inside part of the time anyways. 

By Wednesday, I had my first interview with a representative with the DAAD (German Exchange Service) at a striking square in the heart of Berlin. In this interview I learned the foundational aspects of German education and the prime motivations for this integral organization of Germany’s international education system. Thankfully, he provided me with several documents filled with facts and figures of German and international student mobility within Germany. 

Thursday followed with an interview at Free University with an assistant dean for international exchanges. As if it dropped out of the sky, Mr. Schepker provided me with a document that answered exactly some of the questions I had been planning to ask! It is a brand new report from the DAAD; the one drawback—it was in German and my German skills are far from being competent enough for understanding such a document. Thanks to the internet, there are various language tools at my disposal for translating the statistics and survey results. 

Next week: an interview at an Art university and a resident director of an American study abroad program with some more sightseeing and writing in between.