I arrived in Berlin at the end of March and will be staying until the end of June. I've already learnt a lot since being here and have made many memories. Choosing to stay with a guest family instead of at the GLS accommodation has definitely come with an added set of learning and growth opportunities. I am so glad I made this decision, here's what I've been up to so far:
I arrived in Berlin after a month and a half of traveling. After a 20 minute walk (which turned into a 40 minute walk because I got lost) I made it to my Gastfamilie's house. I was so nervous to meet them as I wasn't given much information about them and what they were like, however as soon as I walked through the door I could tell I was gonna enjoy my time with them.
They showed me around the home in about 5 minutes. I could tell they'd hosted students before due to the specific things they explained to me, my room is perfect for a student, with books about every travel destination imaginable, a desk, plenty of power outlets and even a fridge outside my door to keep my groceries in. After I settled in they cooked a hot lunch which I was lucky enough to enjoy with them, it was a good time to get to know them a little more and seriously get warmed up to Deutsch being spoken 24/7.
I am incredibly fortunate to live a 20 minute walk away from the GLS school, every morning and afternoon I get to see new things I otherwise wouldn't have if I were to take public transport.
The Zionskirche, on my way to school one morning. Now that its spring the Church is surrounded by new greenery. When I first got here everything was dead and bare, so its cool to see how alive it looks now
On Sundays, I like going for a run along the Spree (the main river going through the city). Since the weekends and nightlife is pretty big here, Sunday morning is especially quiet. On a clear morning, this is one of my favourite places to be, I can get to the river in about 5 minutes from my place, which is really handy. The view of the Tiergarten from here is also cool, as well as the different kinds of buildings and museums that you can see. It's definitely nice to get a different perspective of the city.
James Simon Park at Hackescher Markt is one of my favourite areas near my house. Since I live right in the city center, its nice to get a little bit of a view of nature. This park gets so full on nice weather days, especially the evenings on the weekend. I like seeing the different kinds of people that come here, and the view of the Spree and Museumsinsel too. It's nice to see people having a laugh and singing, dancing and even just talking to each other. Nowadays that's getting more and more uncommon.
I chose to cook my own meals during my time here. I love cooking and enjoy choosing meals that align with my health goals, since that's a big part of my life. The Guest family lets me use all of their kitchen utensils, and spices and don't have an issue with my daily cooking and occasional baking. I think they aren't used to having a Student cook as much as I do, as they are often surprised that I'm at home cooking instead of out at restaurants and bars. If my budget allowed I think I would be eating out alot more than I do though
My view from my room window! Springtime here is beautiful.
The view from my Super Intensive German course classroom, this class runs in the afternoon until 2:45 pm and focuses less on Grammar and bookwork, and instead is mainly speaking. Which I think is good as something different since we focus on Grammar during the first two classes of the day. The walk home after this class is especially nice since the day is at its warmest, and people are often sitting outside having their coffee and cake.
I'm super lucky that my Guest family live right in the city center, although I come from a small beach town and have had to get used to the tourists, odd/creepy men, and daily police sirens, its awesome to live so close to so many shops, malls, parks and public transport options. Overall, this experience so far has been a great learning opportunity for me, and even though its expensive for a 19 year old to live here for 3 months, I think it'll be so worth it.