Although, I'm late in the game with uploading these blogs, don't worry I'm still here!
Before I started my new life in Berlin, I expected two things: 1) It will be cold. 2) It will get lonely.
These are two expectations that have manifested greatly in the months I've lived here.
The freezing and bitterly cold weather is certainly an understatement, well for this girl from Southern California at least. Coming to a place where the skies are often gray, the trees are "bald", and the nearest beach is the home wallpaper on my phone -- I immediately knew that this place was not meant for me. I've often caught myself searching up pictures of palm trees and get a little sad, but I continue to remind myself that sometimes we need to look at things in a different way. The bald trees do look funny sometimes! For someone who normally wears skirts and flip flops, it was very difficult for me to put some pants and closed toed footwear on a daily basis. I would compensate my lack of winter clothes with awkward layering! A German local once told me that "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing". In my case, I definitely own bad clothing.
I quickly turned 19 during my first week abroad, which makes me one of the youngest people on campus. Majority of the friends I've made abroad are older than me and I was worried that the age difference would be an issue. But, the more that I've gotten to know them, I realized that they are just as goofy and silly as I am! I've been often called "baby" at times, but I'm just glad that my friends still treat me the same.
Sadly, I had to experience times of loneliness. The first time I felt lonely was when I did not feel right at my first internship. It took time for me to approach people for assistance, but I am very thankful to have the CIEE Internship coordinators to help me with everything I needed. It is unfortunate that things did not turn out the way I expected them to be, but this has encouraged me to be stronger for new upcoming challenges in the future.
The startup scene in Berlin is huge, so challenges are inevitable to face. For anyone who decides to intern abroad, be aware that there will always be flaws to every intern experience. If you think about it, challenges can make the whole experience quite exciting! Again, sometimes we need to look at things in a different way.
Ivana Madeline Samson