Taking on Germany's Green City

Month: June 2019

So long, IES classes!

I’m finally done with my IES classes for this semester! There were only three IES classes that I ended up keeping: my German language class (required), my politics course, and my internship seminar. It was really nice having a super-advanced German class for the first time, and the fact that I made it through is definitely a sign of my progress in the language. I am now able to speak German at a faster pace than before, I have a better grasp of the grammar, and my vocabulary has been expanded. I loved the class because I was surrounded by people who appreciated the language as much as I do. As a matter of fact, I can now comfortably say that I’m fluent in German. Even though I’ve only been studying the language for three years, I have made a lot of progress due to my passion for languages as well as the amount of time I have dedicated to studying the language in my free time. My politics class was also great! The instructor always spoke very slowly, making sure that everyone understood the course content. I learned a lot about Germany’s political system. My internship seminar was nice because it gave us all a space to discuss how our internships were going. On Thursday there was a “farewell dinner”, something that every IES program does (I remember the ones in London and Paris). We ate traditional German food, drank beer, and presented the results of our hard work during the semester. The film class showed us their films, and I presented my German class’ newspaper project, where we had to interview experts and conduct research on a topic of our choice. I chose racism and cultural appropriation in Freiburg as mine. The paper came out looking really nice! I also got a certificate for making a conscious effort to use German throughout the semester. All in all, I am definitely glad that I chose IES’ Language and Area Studies program for this semester. Officially a month before I head back to the U.S.!

Thanks for reading!

Derrick 🙂

The newspaper’s cover

My certificate!

Almost a month before I leave…

Hi, everyone!

This is the week that my courses at IES come to a close… After this week, I’ll just have my two courses at the university as well as my internship. You know, I still haven’t entirely gotten used to being in school this late… I mean, in the USA I would be working a summer job and doing things around Chicago, but I’m still attending seminars in Germany. I’m definitely not complaining about being here (this is an amazing opportunity), but it’s something I constantly think about. My German has definitely gotten a lot better; people have even told me that my accent has gotten less noticeable when speaking. My vocabulary has also expanded quite a bit. Time has really flown by, though… This is my third semester abroad, and London and Paris definitely felt a lot slower (in a good way, of course). It’s interesting because those two are major cities, whereas Freiburg’s rather small in comparison. Life here is not very fast-paced, and one can walk to the city center within around an hour from pretty much any part of the city. I still need to go to France before I leave! Strasbourg is the one place people told was a must-see. Freiburg really does have an awesome location; it’s situated near the French and Swiss borders. On Saturdays, Swiss people come here to do their shopping. I also see groups of French students here every week. I wonder if being from a place that’s so close to the border gives one a “European” identity, rather than a German one. You’re constantly surrounded by people who speak other languages and cultural influences are a given. It’s meant to really hot this week, with temperatures reaching into the nineties.

Well, I have to keep working on a presentation for class next week. Wish me the best of luck with these last few IES classes!

Thanks for reading,

~Derrick 🙂

Back in London (Again)

Hi, everyone! This week I was in London (YES, again), as we have been on “Pfingstferien”, or holidays because of Pentecost. Germany sure does get a lot of breaks from school during the spring semester! Unfortunately, in typical London fashion, the weather has been absolutely dreadful the whole time I’ve been here! As a matter of fact, it’s as if I brought the bad weather with me… Anyway, my time here in London has been great!  I met up with some friends and visited some of my favorite places (including Borough and Camden Market, two of the most famous ones here). I had some amazing jerk fried chicken from Camden as well as delicious ice cream on top of a brownie cookie. I spent this week getting work done, too, as it’s getting close to the end of the semester and deadlines are getting closer. London is full of comfortable cafés. I went to the Tate Modern for the first time this week, which was really interesting. I don’t normally go to museums, but it was really cool seeing all of the artwork that was on display. I also ended up getting my hair cut for the first time since I was back in the U.S., and I must say, I prefer my barber back home. That’s one thing I definitely miss about home!

I head back to Freiburg tomorrow. Looking forward to the final stretch!

Until next week,

Derrick 🙂

Padua and Venice

This past week I was in two beautiful cities: Padua and Venice.

We left on Wednesday from Freiburg’s main train station and went to Milan Central. After about twenty minutes or so of waiting, we took the train to Padua. Padua’s a city which is centered around its university. It isn’t as flashy as Venice, but there’s a lot of beauty in this city. There’s the Botanic Garden, which contains plants from all over the world. Lots of markets sell fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also a lot of churches in Padua, which is something that a lot of Italian cities have in common. It was really nice being able to speak Italian with native speakers again. I have an Italian tandem partner in Freiburg, but being in Italy’s a lot different. Helping the other IES students translate signs or communicate with the locals was wonderful practice, and I wish I had more opportunities like that.

If you haven’t heard of Padua before, I’m certain that you are familiar with Venice. This city was especially significant during the Italian Renaissance, and it is known internationally for its bridges and canals. Venice is actually comprised of 118 islands! Every time you cross a bridge, you’re going from one island to the next. There were lots of tourists everywhere and things were expensive compared to Padua, but Venice is an unbelievably charming city. The buildings are very worn, but that’s because the city’s government is dedicated to its preservation. There are water taxis known as vaporetti which can be used to get to some of the bigger islands. Piazza San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore are probably my two favorite spots in the city.

I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to go to both of these cities.

Until next time!

~Derrick 🙂


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