One week of work under my belt and a weekend trip to Berlin to top it off! Unfortunately, my apartment is a little far from Erlangen (the closest town to me), so I haven’t gotten to explore much and, being in a little suburb, many of the people do not speak English. My internship is currently a lot of reading, along with a couple hours in the lab a day, examining the cells, changing the media, seeding them, and a couple other things, but more exciting things to come!
The social aspects of my internship were not as I had expected. Before coming to Germany, I tried to do some research on the German culture and certain norms that are different from those in America, and here is what my research led me to believe: first, that Germans value punctuality and that time was very important to them. I view myself as a person who is consistently late, so I was quite worried about this, however, I feel like here it is much more laid back than in America, and find myself wanting more time constraints! I will ask, “When should I come in tomorrow?” and be returned with, “Oh, whenever.” Another thing that I had misconstrued was that Germans (and Europeans) generally dress more formally and almost never wear shorts. In Munich I found it more true that they don`t wear shorts as often, but here in Erlangen, at the university, everyone wears shorts, even in the lab! One other misconception I had was that everyone was blonde here and that I would fit in perfectly, even though I was American. There are just as many blondes here as in America, just as many tall, short, overweight (maybe a few less…) people in Germany as there are in America.
Berlin was eye-opening for me. I had expected it to be more like Munich, busy, with beautiful buildings everywhere, and, I suppose just more pristine. When I first arrived, I was a little turned off by how trashy it seemed and how much construction there was. There were some interesting buildings and statues, but not nearly as many as the other cities I had visited. It sounds cliché, but it wasn´t until I did one of the free walking tours that I began to really appreciate what Berlin was. Before, I hadn´t really registered how recent all the conflict was there, but the wall didn´t actually fall until the 1990’s! Being there and learning about the history brought back all the memories from when I learned about it in school, but it made it all the more surreal being in the midst of where it all went down. The guide joked about how the crane is the “symbol of Berlin”, and Berliners are actually proud of all the construction, how the city is “being rebuilt”.
Well, this post was a little late getting out, but I plan on going to Prague this weekend, so I shall post again when I return!