"Where Interesting People Meet"

My time at GLS has introduced me to so many interesting people & has helped me build international relationships. It's truly the people that make GLS such a unique place to study.

Before I came to Berlin, I was uncertain whether I would make friends during my summer studying at GLS. Luckily, I've met so many fantastic, interesting, and diverse people that prove GLS is truly "Where Interesting People Meet." 

On my first day of classes, I made new friends at the Stammtisch, the weekly GLS event where new and old students meet over a free drink. Furthermore, it was easy for me to make friends here because GLS students are generally very open and friendly. While there is no 'typical' GLS student (we come from different countries, jobs, stages of life, and backgrounds), we all unite over our current project to learn German. Another similarity amongst GLS students is that we love exploration and want to experience Berlin. My classmate Elisa (Ciao Elisa!) and I joined class on the same Monday, and quickly became sight-seeing buddies for the subsequent 2 weeks. Each day after classes, we would get lunch and then see a different part of Berlin. From currywurst to Tiergarten, we experienced everything Berlin has to offer. I will forever be grateful for our friendship, memories, and time spent together. I know that this will be a lifelong friendship, and that we will see each other again!

The GLS campus is conveniently located in Prenzlauer Berg, a great starting point for exploring Berlin. The lobby of GLS is an important 'Trefftpunkt' for GLS students. In between classes I'll meet up with my friends either in the lobby or in the courtyard. The half hour break between classes is the best time to make lunch plans! 

Speaking of food, you can find great currywurst at Mischke on Schönhauser Allee, less than 10 minutes walk from GLS. It's also a great place to practice ordering food in German ;) And afterwards, I recommend getting ice cream from Eis*Bar on Kastanienallee. You can get an ice cream cone for 1,60 €. For some, the price may not be anything special, but in the US I would never find a quality scoop of ice cream that cheap!

And of course, I couldn't discuss food in Berlin without mentioning two other dishes: döner and schnitzel. The best döner (in my opinion. But ask others and you will get 10 different recommendations) is from K'ups Gemüsekebap on Kastanienallee. Regarding schnitzel, I suggest Café LebensArt. Food is best enjoyed with good company, so grab some friends and go try the diverse cuisine Berlin has to offer! [Sidenote: Berlin is very vegetarian/vegan friendly.]

I could go on about the food forever... but back to GLS! The courtyard of GLS is so nice, especially when it's sunny out. You can borrow table tennis paddles from the front desk and play ping pong with your friends, relax in the hammocks, and eat lunch at the picnic tables. 

My lovely room in the apartment I share with a couple from Berlin. 

Some people say that Berlin is not the ideal place to learn German because as an international city, locals will automatically switch to English if they hear that you are not a native German speaker. This has happened to me before, but nonetheless I've still had many opportunities to practice my German when dining out and shopping. I even purchased my SIM card only using German (which I was proud of, considering I had no idea how to explain cellular data, phone plans, or gigabytes in German). Furthermore, I chose the homestay option, which has been a great opportunity for me to practice my German in a home setting. It's a bit daunting to speak German outside of the safety of the classroom, but it has been a great learning experience. 

One of my favorite parts of Berlin's culture is going to parks and green spaces. Tiergarten and Museumsinsel are lovely places to lay out blankets in the grass and enjoy the good weather. Mauerpark is cool, but more 'grunge' and less 'green'

[Berliner pro tip: carry a blanket with you for a nice place to lay in the park] 

Mauerpark. On Sundays in Mauerpark there is a huge flea market, food stands, and karaoke (karaoke starts around 3pm). Hundreds of people gather each Sunday and anyone can sing! It is truly a must-see in Berlin. (disclaimer: some people are spectacular performers, and others are not. Nonetheless, it's entertaining). 

Another 'must-see' in Berlin is East Side Gallery to walk along the Berlin Wall. There are incredible works of art, as well as a beautiful view of the Spree. 

Ultimately, it's these new experiences and relationships that have made the process of learning German so rewarding for me. 

But with every good thing, there must be an end. At GLS, Fridays are a sad day because we have to say goodbye to our friends who are leaving the school. However, goodbyes with my friends from GLS are never final. The beauty of these friendships is that I now have an incredible network of international connections, and I know that if we are ever in each other's home countries, we can send a message and meet up. With my friends from GLS, I know it's not goodbye forever but only "bis spater."