Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Amelia K. - Freiburg, Germany - Spring 2011

Grüß dich! Greeting from Freiburg im Breisgau,Germany!

I’ve been studying with the IES EU study abroad program here in the most gorgeous city of Freiburg for about 7 weeks, and it has been quite an experience!

I’m currently living in an apartment in a student residential area in a section of Freiburg called Vauban. It’s labeled one of the most ecologically friendly neighborhoods in Europe, so for anyone studying in Germany be aware the everyone is extremely environmentally conscious. My two roommates were very welcoming upon my arrival, and there are tons of other international students around so it was comforting knowing I was not the only one.

Freiburg is beautiful. It has wonderful weather, and is right in the midst of the Black Forest so I’ve had so many opportunities to go hiking. Also, the public transportation is so convenient, especially living quite far from the IES Center and downtown Freiburg. There is tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping, and though it seems that Germans like every type of food except German food, I’ve still been able to try some very common German cuisine like Spätzle, Flammkuchen, and Currywurst. Also Germans love their drinks carbonated, so make sure to ask for or check (especially for water and juice) that it is “still” or “ohne Gas” if you don’t like things carbonated.

I’ve had great classes so far. The IES EU program is amazing! Anyone interesting in politics, international relations or economics should definitely look into choosing this program. The only down side is that they are all taught in English, so I’ve had to try really hard to practice my German elsewhere. What is really amazing is that we’ve had SO much opportunity to go traveling. So far I’ve been to Berlin and Prague, made a trip to Switzerland and am departing on a trip to Luxembourg City, Brussels, and Paris tomorrow! Traveling has been a major part of my time here, and I recommend going out to as many places as you can while you’re abroad.

As always you’re bound to run into some difficulties while abroad. For example, I thought I knew German before I arrived but quickly learned how little I actually knew. Try not to get frustrated when locals have little patience with you or if you struggle with speaking to people. You’ll eventually get more confident in speaking, and will pick of key words and phrases that will make your time much easier.

The first week of study abroad wherever you go will be overwhelming. Things will go wrong, you will have awkward encounters with the locals, and you will get frustrated and stressed to some degree. But the key thing to remember is that it all passes, and that you WILL start to feel at home. Things fall into place no matter how different your city is. Just try to take advantage of your time there because no one exaggerating when they say time flies while studying abroad.

Hope you all have a great time wherever you chose to go! And I’d be happy to answer any and all questions you may have. Viel Glück und gute Reise! Good luck and have a wonderful trip!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danke für die betreffende Information!

I'm wondering what I can do to get my speaking skills more in check for my time in Salzburg. Should I just try to speak to as many as I can before I leave? I'm sure I will have my fair share of awkward times with the locals when I first get there. I'd love to minimize this as much as possible.

Also- did you buy a cell phone there? Are you able to use your credit/debit card from home?

danke Amelia
Bis Bald
John B

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tag John!

I'm glad you got something useful out of my blog! Austria should be wonderful! Just be sure before you go to get some basic Austrian German phrases down and memorized. It has quite a different sound to it, and it'll just make your first couple weeks there go a bit smoother until you get the handle on it! And with regards to a phone, I found it much easier to buy a cheap phone and get a pay as you go phone service in Germany, as opposed to getting international calling and texting through my current service provider.

Let me know if I can help with anything else!

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grüßdi Amelia

So I know your focus for classes in Freiburg has been political science. I'm supposed to ask you about class choices, but my program only has a few options, and I have already chosen my 4-5 choices.

I was wondering about how you have dealt with studying/learning/and living in Deutschland. What still bugs you? How have you dealt with different dialects? I know I will have trouble adjusting to Salzburgerisch, but I'll get there.

Also, what is the accent/word choice like in München? I'm sure I'll be going to shows there quite a bit.

I will be nervous about the difficulty of the classes and the fact that all mine will be in Deutsch. I want to be able to study and still have time to hike or grab a beer and not be stuck in the library all night.What do you think?

danke und prost!

John B

5:43 PM  
Blogger alexandra_gavrilovic said...

Hi Amelia,

I am going to Spain next year and I was just wondering how difficult was it to overcome the language barrier? Did it cause any problems at all? Also i would like to know about your experience with culture shock? Were you very homesick at times or was it easy to get used to the whole new life?

Alex Gavrilovic

1:19 PM  

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