So sorry for the delay if you’ve been waiting for my first post; I haven’t had wifi since I arrived here in Freiburg, which put a damper on my writing plans! Regardless, now here I am. It’s been crazy travelling here and trying to adjust to living in a new country. The train lines in Germany around Frankfurt are under construction due to a landslide, and so getting from Frankfurt airport to Freiburg is a process. The trains were so delayed that, while I was supposed to be one of three or so who arrived at the same time, we grew into a group of around twenty or so of us. It was actually very fun; the weather was extremely hot, but I got to meet a lot of my program mates earlier than planned.
In this first week, we, the IES students, have had the chance to explore some of the city, and the areas around it. Some history I’ve learned: the city of Freiburg is almost ninehundred years old. It was nearly completed destroyed in World War Two, but has been rebuilt in the old style so the buildings look as old as it actually is. The first few days after we arrived, we got the super-speedy introduction to Germany. There’s some interesting things that are very different from the US which I didn’t expect. For one, Germans don’t smile when they make eye-contact with strangers on the street; it’s been a challenge, actually, to not smile when I make eye-contact. Also, it is considered very rude to chew in class; even gum is a no-no usually. No more eating breakfast in class for me!
I’m living in an area of the city called Vauban, which used to be a French military barrack. Over the history of the area, the town, which was at some points a military base, has changed hands back and forth between Germany and France through the various wars both countries have been involved with. Following the end of French occupation of the area in the 1950s, both the city of Freiburg, and the university bought up much of the land, and now the area is mostly housing for families and sudents. I’m living with five other people right now; three women, two of whom are German, the third, French, and two men, one Moroccan, the other Middle eastern. I don’t see much of them yet, but I’m excited to get to know them, learn about where they come from, and hopefully practice some German with them!
I’ll post soon about my first week and more of the exploration we’ve done of the program soon!