Deutschland is the best land

In The Art of Travel Spring 2017, 14. Tips, Berlin by Nathalie Kozak

I would recommend Berlin to anyone. Literally, no matter what kind of person you are, I think you could benefit from coming to Berlin. Personally, after being here for just one week, I felt that a huge pressure lifted off my shoulders. Funny thing is, I didn’t really know there was any pressure until I didn’t feel it anymore. Ever since, I have felt a sense of liberation, love, and freedom unlike anywhere else. I truly believe Berlin has made me a better person. I don’t mean that in the sense that my experiences have taught me honesty or responsibility necessarily. Being in this city has just made me encounter myself, and there’s no better form of introspection and improvement.

Fortunately and unfortunately, housing here is set. You have the possibility of living in the dorms or in the Mondrian suites, which is a hotel were you could get a suite. Although the latter seems and is super nice, I also do recommend living in the dorms. A lot of people come to Berlin solo, because it is a great place to make new experiences with new people. Making friends in the dorms is quite easy. People tend to congregate in the study rooms during weekdays, and run into each other for smoke breaks. The people I became super close to happened to be roommates of other friends or people I knew, so it just became this kind of huge web and network of support. Having that here has been super important. I know it may sound cheesy, but Berlin does come with an intensity, and it’s necessary to have people to help you manage that.

Something I wish I would have known (although it seems super obvious) is how long the shitty weather extends for. It’s about to be May, and it’s still freezing outside. It snowed a couple of days ago. I’m pretty sensitive to cold weather, and lately, I’ve been feeling a bit more like staying in and chilling on my laptop. In general, the weather didn’t get in the way of me doing the things I wanted to do. The city adapts super well to wind, snow, and rain. I would just recommend ensuring that you don’t fall into a pattern during the week. Just because it’s cold and you have homework doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing something every now and then during weeknights! Managing your time here in regards to your schoolwork is so helpful. I recently realized that I was using homework as an excuse to avoid the cold weather, so I started forcing myself to stay in the academic center after class and get at least a head start on my homework for the day or the week. Now, I feel like I have or can make time for tiny activities from Monday to Thursday. It just really helped in making me feel like I am taking advantage of Berlin, especially before I leave!

Finally, I think a big thing about coming to Berlin is also the fact that you are in Europe. Because the weeks are only from Monday to Thursday, people take advantage of the long weekend to travel to other cities. Although I highly recommend traveling, I also highly recommend spreading it out. Berlin is bigger than most people think, and there is so much going on. Make sure you are spending enough time in Berlin, seeing the things you want to be seeing. It really is a city filled with fleeting magical moments, so don’t over abuse the ability to travel. You are in an amazing place, make sure you take advantage of it.

Anyway, come to Berlin. I’ll be jealous of you forever 🙂 it’s my favorite city in the world, by far. I hope you see why!

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