Berlin End of Year Seminar

Authored by:
Sarah J.

Sarah J.

Hello all!

I’ve been traveling a lot the last few weeks, trying to make the most of the last few weeks of my exchange year. After spending a day in Paris (it was a long trip!), I headed to Berlin to participate in the CBYX end-of-year seminar and visit the Bundestag. 

I left on Tuesday evening and spent the night just outside Berlin with some AFS CBYX students. We had a great time and headed into Berlin early to eat brunch and do a bit of sightseeing. I was a bit nervous to meet up with my fellow Partnership International (PI) students at the end of the day when we would head to our hostel because I felt like I barely knew any of them. We hadn’t had many chances to meet due to our language camp and mid-year seminars being canceled. No one else from PI was placed in Hamburg so my exchange student networks were mostly made up of AFS exchange students. 

When we all met at the Hauptbahnhof and took a bus together to our hostel, I realized there was nothing to worry about! I immediately reconnected with a few people I had met at pre-departure orientation. 

We spent the evening preparing to head to the Bundestag the next day and catching up. It was so nice to hear everyone’s experiences and to be able to joke around with fellow Americans because I’m not sure Germans always understand my sense of humor! 

We wore the fancy clothes we had been saving all year to the Bundestag and beforehand visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe. 

In the Bundestag, we got to chat with exchange students from all organizations before dropping in on a debate in the Tribunal. That was a really incredible experience!

After, we had the opportunity to ask a panel of representatives questions and then hear from the Bundestagspräsidentin. 

The next day we explored Berlin and competed in a photo challenge. My group and I went to the Mall of Berlin, the East Side Gallery, Alexanderplatz, Berlin Dom, and Checkpoint Charlie. Later that night, PI hosted a talent show. A friend and I attempted to open the show with a parody of the Es Mir Egal Berlin Vehrkehr Advertisement. With not much practice, I’m not sure anyone knew what we were trying to do but I had fun anyway. The other acts were impressive!

On Saturday we stayed in the hostel and discussed our return back to the US. We learned about reverse culture shock and how to stay in touch with our German friends and family. That night my group and I learned that somehow the Photo Contest had resulted in a tie (although we are sure we won!). After we recovered from our shocking loss, we played tag and chatted until curfew. 

Unfortunately, we all headed home the next day after breakfast and many hugs. We were all excited to spend our last month in Germany enjoying the little things that have made our exchange year so incredible. 

I hope to write a few more blogs before we head home…

Bis dann :)



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