Chronicles of a Part Time Berliner: Babson Abroad
This time last year, I was apple picking surrounded by the autumn hues of New England and close friends. Now, I’m halfway around the world surrounded by the bustling city life and a new community in Berlin, Germany. Today’ I’m going to highlight some of my favorite moments while abroad!
The most apparent differences are the food and living situations- both abundant and unique in their own way! In our neighborhood of Kreuzberg, there’s plenty of food options from sushi, to bratwurst, to pizza! There are also several grocery markets that offer everything from pringles and coke to organic fruit and veg. However, my favorite food experience has been Markthalle Neun, a weekly food festival held on Thursdays. Tons of young and cool Berliners and their families pack into this European version of NYC’s Chelsea Market to partake in decadent street food, desserts, and beer and wine. My first experience was ribs that fell off the bone, a tofu bun with fresh vegetables, and artisan fine beer, all delicious! Tonight we are going back (it’s Thursday!) and I hear they change the food stalls weekly so there’s always something new to try.
In our home of Gneinsenaustrase 27, we are a community. I’ve been so fortunate to make such great friends here, ranging from neighbors on my floor, to global scholars who study in several cities, to some native Berlin students. With such a small institute, a lot of activities are done together such as cooking or hanging out in the common room. Weekends are also a whole new adventure, often including going out and exploring the city’s nightlife or traveling to a whole new country. Some of the places we’ve visited include Prague, Amsterdam, Dresden, and Wroclaw- every place cooler than the last. One of my favorite places was Amsterdam, a beautiful canal city where everyone’s impossibly cool and cultured. We visited an incredible exhibit of artists Banksy and Warhol, both of whom I admire. Everyone was also friendly and genuinely excited- for example we spent some time in the local park during the beautiful weather, and locals were out and about sharing the common space. Our airBnB was a home away from home, with a really cool loft and several balconies to look out across the water. It made me feel like I could live there someday.
I realized that there is also plenty to explore in Berlin. This past week my friends and visited Mauer Park, which hosts a big flea market and food festival, and great way to hang out with residents in the area. We stumbled upon a Karaoke gathering in the center of the park, and had a ton of fun dancing and singing along with everyone else. What I’ve learned more than anything in the classroom is that going out and living, really noticing your surroundings and appreciating a new culture and putting yourself out there (everyone has a tendency to be shy!) brings the best adventures. Though I miss the comforts of Babson, I know I’ll be missing Berlin more when I’m sitting in Reynolds doing homework. Studying abroad has taught me to go out and explore, no matter what country I’m in.