Travel Tip #001

If you have a relative who is unwell, or has a chance of becoming so, get insurance for your flight. It’ll save a lot of hassle when things hit the fan.

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Getting out of Work Early

Today has been a wonderful day. I had an extended lunch and I even got out early. The study I’m working on at the telephone studio is winding down with English requirements so I got to get out of work early today. I will be working MUCH earlier tomorrow (6 a.m.) but just being able to “get off work early” is incredibly satisfying and has made me jump for joy!

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Filler Update – 11/7

Haven’t posted in a while, for two reasons primarily.  1.) I’ve been working on bigger posts, with more detailed insights into my being here and experiences, and 2.) I haven’t been doing much . It’s just been work, come home, eat food, surf the net, go to sleep.  Like I said, just looking to give a quick little filler!

Beehtoven Monument in Nuremberg

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What have I been up to?

My Knights in Shining Armor I have 26 days left in Germany.  That means 28 days until I go back to my university.  As a result of this realization I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to be doing plus what I need to be doing.  I’ve got myself a 1, 5, and 10 year plan.  The 1 year plan is obviously the most in-depth, yet the longer term plans convey a more goal-oriented approach.  Investments I want to undertake, career goals, travel goals, etc.

I’ve also been trying to put together some plans of reinvesting in myself.  I know that sounds strange as I’m only 20 years old and still in college but I feel that there are skills that I’m lacking.  So over the course of the next year I’m going to be spending more time reading, more time learning web programming (HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, Java), and less time online.  It doesn’t help me focus while I’m working on another task.  A world of knowledge is at my fingertips, which is amazing, but not helpful when the knowledge you’re trying to get at is in a book you have next to your computer.

With my 26 days left in Germany I’m going to continue spending it by learning as much as I can from my internship and really making Nuremberg a city that I’ve not just seen, but rather a city I’ve “lived”.

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Germanisches Nationalmuseum 28/6

Entrance to Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Entrance to Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Sunday was a fun and educational day!  After spending quite a while reading up on a few blogs and listening again to Randy Pausch I set off to the south end of the Innenstadt to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.  It had history from the early nomadic tribes of Germany throuh the middle ages, knights in shining armour, the 19th century, 20th century art, and far more.  I was very fortunate to end up there when an exhibit on the Cold War was happening.  It was incedibly interesting and eye opening.  It’s always interesting to see how Germany looks back on the impact of their history, where does the United States stand in it?  Much of the political atmosphere had the U.S.A. involved, obviously, but I suppose as I’ve been over-exposed to U.S. actions.

There was an incredibly array of pieces of artwork from East and West Germany.  Beautiful pieces of art, some confusing, some showing the fear of the 1972 Munich games, and some reaching far back to the Nazi era.  I don’t always understand art but I do appreciate it getting the chance to observe art in a gallery.  I may never be willing to completely grasp the symbolism or the techniques behind it, but is art actually about understanding what the artist created for it?  Is it not important that the viewer makes a connection to the piece and takes something important from it?

Just my two cents.

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30 Days Deutschland 27/6

Today, June 27th, is my 30th day in Germany! To live in Germany for a month has been one of my goals for a good while now.  I’m extremely happy to finally have completed it!  I now, unfortunately, have only 34 days left in Germany.  In my heart it’s far too short but my wallet says it’s just the right time!  Though my experience in this country, in the internship, and even being abroad in general, has been limited I feel that I’ve learned quite a bit of information and I’d like to share that with you, in hopes that the troubles/roadblocks of your and my own future travels could be eased.

  1. Get a roommate
  2. Never be afraid to ask
  3. Travel
  4. Connect with friends back home
  5. Maximize learning the language
  6. Manage your finances

1. Get a roommate: The first week in my own apartment was the toughest.  Primarily it was the sudden switch from having food prepared for me, always having people around, and ubiqutous internet access that made that week very difficult.  I feel that if I were living with someone, German native or not, I would have either a stronger grasp on the city in the first week or at least would have a companion to explore and toss back ideas between.  Exploring the city would be much more interesting if I had a native taking me to their favorite place, or a fellow “first-timer” to go out.  You can always meet people randomly on the street or in a cafe but living with someone else is a completely different and much more interesting experience (even if they’re not a great roommate, it’s still an experience!).

2. Never be afraid to ask: One of Randy Pausch‘s statements in his Time Management Lecture was asking.

One of the most magical things I’ve learned in my life is that sometimes you have to ask, and wonderful things happen but you just have to step out and do that.

Asking is something amazing.  It opens up nearly any door that you come across.  Asking for help, asking because you are curious, asking for the sake of conversation, they all allow you to learn and to interact with others.  It’s something that we lose as we get older and prouder.  Pride should not matter!  If we think ourselves so incredibly important that we stop asking, we’ve lost any hope to ever learn anything new.

3. Travel: If you’re in Europe, Asia, even another state, go out and travel.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the city next door, a three train ride away, or the capital, go there!  You may only be in this location once, why not see all that you can?  I know that seeing Munich was incredibly rewarding and I hope to be able to travel to other places as well as I may never get back to Germany (though I really hope I do)!

4. Connect with friends and family back home: You can’t understand how amazing receiving an e-mail from friends can be until you’re an ocean away from them.  Getting an e-mail from a good friend means the world when the sun is setting in your sky and the sun is still hanging proudly in theirs.  It’s very important to make new friends and experience life outside of your comfort zone but it’s also important that your friends and family see you grow.

5. Maximize learning the language: Going abroad is an incredible privilege.  Whether it’s because you’ve been transfered in your company, studying abroad, or just going for a few weeks on an adventure, learn the language!  It can bring you to a whole new road in life and awake a sleeping passion for the culture.  Here are a few tips that I haven’t quite been following, but my experience leads me to believe it’s a good idea.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak!  Communicating your needs is done through language.  If you hold yourself back you’ll never get yourself to the level that you want to be.
  • Stay away from your native language!  This may contradict other bits of my advice but it’s very important.  Weekends are my downfall.  I spend far too much time checking out websites in English, watching videos in English, etc.  Immersing yourself in the language is the best thing you can do, yet ripping yourself out of it for a day or two really degrades the benefit of immersion.

6. Manage your finances: Here’s a good way of planning for your trip.  Estimate how much you will need for food, travel, living expenses, and miscellaneous.  Now that you have your budget carefully take it and throw it out the window.  There is no way to really know what you’re going to spend or need.  Especially coming out of school!  It’s a great idea to make an estimate as you really need to be smart about your finances.  Though the unexpected should be expected during a trip far from home.  After you really have a solid plan of how much you need add a couple hundred, add a thousand if you can.  Having a fair amount of backup money is necessary.

I’ve learned a heck of a lot in the short time I’ve been here and I still have a significant amount of time left.  There are two guaranted thoughts I will take from this experience.  1.) I want to enable other students to have internships abroad, I want to be a small footnote in their amazing careers and 2.) I have a new found interest in Germany and I have been attempting to find ways of getting back here.

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What a Week! 25/6

Well I’ve been working hard, learning lots, and visiting Munich since my last post!  Before I get into the pictures of my trip I’d like to do a little bit of reflecting.  As it turns out June 27th will be exactly 30 days (down to the very hour) from when I arrived in Germany, thus completing one my goals in life, to live in Germany for a month.  This is a pretty momentous occasion for me and I don’t quite know how I should celebrate it.

Secondly, I’ve felt a bit useless in the past few days.  Starting with the fact that my German isn’t quite good enough to be working in the telephone studio, I need to wait until there is another study going on which requires English speakers.  I also sat at the Empfang (reception) today and I couldn’t answer the phone as I have troubles understanding people over the phone.  In fact one of my co-workers had to rescue me from a phone call as I couldn’t tell who they were looking for.  I can offer no excuse for it.  Instead of looking for an excuse, I should be looking for a way to improve my German when I’m not in Germany!  My goal for this is to pass the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf.

Now it’s time for pictures!

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Stadt(ver)führung Nürnberg 21/6

Another day of exploration!  This time though it was on the last day of the Stadt(ver)führungen.  I took a walking tour highlighting parts of the poem Nuremberg by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Tomorrow I’m off to München!

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Retail Employees in Germany 18/6

I’ve gone shopping several times for groceries, and miscellaneous housing goods. Primarily the things that you wouldn’t take with you on a trip: laundry detergent, kitchen soap, etc. Something about the service that retail employees provide in Germany (or at least the incredibly small segment that I’ve explored) is something to remark upon.

My expectation was of cold-shouldered “I’m too good for this position”. This came from a small article I read in When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do. The article was regarding the fact that there are no Grocery-Baggers. You have to bag your own groceries (and oddly enough that can be pretty aggravating when there’s a long line behind you and you’re trying to get your things out of the way). My expectation was shattered.

99% of all the employees who are customer facing, their job was to interact with customers, have been the most understanding and helpful people I have come across in a store. Every time I have been fumbling around with an automatic checkout the employee notices my unexpressed distress and comes quick to my aid. It’s wonderful! Now from a more learned approach I think I see why I’m so darn amazed.

My expectations were low enough that even having someone there to help you ought would have been more than enough for me. Despite the technical and obvious reasoning for my amazement I’m still very grateful for it.

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What’s this city got to offer? 16/6

During the weekend I finally got to do some extensive picture taking.  Here are a few photos I’d like for you guys to see.  So enough of my talk, here’s my journey through Nürnberg!

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