Friday, October 22, 2010

Excursions II - Weimar

Our second stop during our class excursions was Weimar, where we stayed for 4 nights. I'd have to say that out of all of the places we visited, Weimar was one of my favorites - I think this has to do with the fact that, for me it felt more "German." By German I mean, it had the cobblestone road, the half-timber houses, the big open squares, etc. It's what I imagined Germany would be like before I came over here. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Berlin - it is my home away from home after all - the only thing is, it's an international city, so you don't really that get that "typical" German feeling that is more present in Weimar. There's also a lot of really good German food in Weimar (they have the best Bratwurst by far)!!!!

While we were in Weimar, we stayed at this, to be honest, what kind of appeared to be an abandoned building. But, don't worry, it wasn't. It's owned by one of professor's friends, who is in the process of turning it into a Yiddish Music School - random, I know. But it was actually a pretty cool place - it was pretty big, and there were so many places to go explore and check out! It was kind of fun living there, and we were also able to do a little community service, and help clean up the place some. We did work in the garden (raking leaves, replanting plants, building garden beds), as well as tear up flooring and tear down wall paper! It's a lot more fun than it sounds! lol!

As a good-bye to Weimar we all went out to dinner together at this German restaurant our last night there - and we all basically ordered the same thing - Kartoffel Klöße. They're sort of like potato dumplings, I guess, I'm not really quite sure how else to describe them other than to say that they were absolutely delicious!!! :-)

Here's a pic of them I stole from Google Images:

Overall, the thing I think I liked most about Weimar is that we had the most time to explore by ourselves - like we didn't really have any scheduled guided tours - so I feel like I really got to know the city and the people, more so than I did in other places where we would just follow a tour guide around. We got to go explore places like the Palace, the Market Square, some old ruins, etc. all on our own time and own pace - which was nice, I really liked it!

Excursions I - Dessau

So as part of the program here at Lexia in Berlin, all of the students have the opportunity to partake in class excursions throughout Germany, as well as the Czech Republic. One of the first stops we made on our 10 day adventure, was Dessau - home of the Bauhaus architecture (if you don't know what this is, don't worry I didn't either - apparently it's like this really famous architecture school - all of the students in the architecture program were super excited about it). We also stopped by this huge environmental building that via cooling and warming devices, as well as solar panels, produces the majority of their own energy - it was a pretty cool building I must say.

Overall, however, there's not much else I can say about Dessau - since we were only there for a few short hours. It wasn't the most exciting stop on our tour, but they did have good ice cream!!! :-)

Environmental Building

Environmental Building


So I'm really sorry ... I totally meant to put this post up online before I left for my class excursions, and forget!!! But here it is, a little late, but still interesting!!!

The weekend before I left for excursions (so like 2 weekends ago) I went to the Kürbisfest, otherwise known as the Pumpkin Festival, in Berlin's district Schöneberg. It was basically this big fall festival set up right in the middle of the city, with the streets all blocked off for vendors and events and such. There were of course pumpkins, but also lots of food, clothes, rides, etc. It was just a lot of fun to see everything and experience that part of the German culture - along with all the delicious food!!!!

Anyways, here are some pictures from the Fest!!! :-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

East Side Gallery

This past weekend I ventured on over to what used to be East Berlin to check out the East Side Gallery. This "gallery" is an international memorial, created to commemorate freedom at the Berlin Wall. The gallery "is a 1.3km-long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. Approximately 106 paintings by artists from all over the world cover this memorial for freedom and make it the largest open air gallery in the world, ("  

It was pretty awesome to see the Wall, something that for the longest time represented division and boundaries and rules, covered in artistic works expressing freedom and love and independence! It was great! There were just so many different paintings by so many different artists from all over the world! It was really interesting seeing everyone's different interpretations on the memorial and what they wanted to add to it. It's definitely one of those must see places in Berlin!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Berlin's Art Forum

A major aspect of the program I'm in, Visual Culture, is German art. We spend a lot of time looking at art and the artists' responses to the world around them - for example their responses to WWI and WWII. And this weekend was no exception, as all of the students in the Visual Culture program as well as some students from Lexia's other program - the Architecture program, had the opportunity to go to the 15th edition of "Art Forum Berlin" - an international art show featuring leading galleries from the world's most important art centers. 

Tons of artists, from all over the world, come to this event to showcase their work to potential buyers, as well as partake in the many art talks that that occur throughout the weekend. We saw everything from your typical painting to crazy things like everyday objects set up to create music. It was pretty awesome to just see what everyone had created and what their take on "art" is.

Anyways, here are some pictures I took of the different exhibits: 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Neighborhood - Kreuzberg

I realized the other day, that I've never talked about the neighborhood I live in or put up pictures. So I went out Monday afternoon and just walked all around my neighborhood taking pictures ... I did get a few strange looks, I will admit, but I feel that it is necessary to document and record every part of my experience abroad - including the neighborhood I live in.

So what can I tell you about my neighborhood? Well, I live in a district called Kreuzberg, which is in the southern part of the city, in what used to be West Berlin when the Wall was still up. My neighborhood is different from many of the others in the city, because of the fact that it still possess the old-fashioned fancy facades that were once present all over Berlin.

During WWII, Berlin was heavily bombed (so heavily, that even today they are still finding bombs that never went off - a little scary, I know)! But during these bombings many residential building were hit and as a result obviously lost their historical facades and designs. Later on they were eventually replaced with more modern style buildings - which don't get me wrong, is cool and everything, but I much more prefer the older, more historical looking buildings.

Side Note - I was even further south in the city the other day and I saw these really awesome subway stations, that were so old-fashioned with fancy columns and stuff ... but I didn't have my camera with me :-( I guess it just means that I'll have to go back :-)

But anyways, here are some pictures of the neighborhood I live in:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why did you choose St. Michael's?

Well ... I chose SMC for many reasons!!! One of the top reasons being its location - it's close enough to go home when I want to, but far enough away where I know my parents won't stop by unexpectedly. It's also super close to Burlington (which in my opinion is VT's most happening "city" - although, I wouldn't really call it a city, but it works here I guess! lol!). And it's also really close to the other colleges in Burlington, like UVM and Champlain, where a lot of my friends go to school.

I also really liked St. Mike's emphasize on community service and helping others. There are just so many different programs and events to be involved in, that I knew I wouldn't have a hard time finding something that I wanted to do. I've been involved with multiple programs thru the MOVE office (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) - for example, Cause for Paws where I was able to help out at the local Greyhound Rescue Center - just socializing with the dogs, walking them, and helping to clean out cages. Then there was NESEI - New Sudan Education Initiative - which raises money to build schools in Sudan. And I've even had the opportunity to travel to Utah to work at Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary.

I was also very impressed with the Journalism department and just how involved the JO students are with the school paper - we not only write the articles, but we also edit and publish them. Not to mention the extensive knowledge and experience that many of the professors have.

In the end, however, it was a visit to SMC that did it for me. While I was still in high school I went to SMC to visit a friend who was/is going there and just fell in love with it. The people, the campus, everything - to be honest I didn't realize just how much I actually liked SMC until I came over here to Germany and really started to miss everything - even the food!!! Weekend brunch at Alliot is by far the best thing ever!!!