Hi everyone! Before I start, I thought it would be good to give a little background about myself and my interest in this Potsdam summer program. My name is Will Pence and I am a rising Junior at William and Mary. I am a European Studies and German double major with a huge interest in world languages and cultures, so I have been wanting to study abroad for a while. This program presented me with the perfect opportunity to take classes in Germany as well as stay with a host family, completely immersing myself in a new culture. I’m very excited about the next 6 weeks here, and I look forward to posting about all of our experiences!
The first few days in Potsdam have been great. It is a city full of history and culture that is located a little southwest of Berlin in eastern Germany. Most of us in the program arrived on Wednesday, June 8th and met up for the first time on Thursday at the local University (Universität Potsdam). Our day began at 10:30 AM with an introduction to the program from the local administrators and professors, all of whom were incredibly welcoming and helpful. I think I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to working with and learning from them. After our lunch break we were given a tour around the beautiful Neues Palais campus where we will be taking classes. Our day ended with the whole group going into Potsdam to get our cell phone situation figured out, which of course led to everyone crowding in a local café to enjoy the delicious coffee and apple strudel they offered.
Saturday we had our tour around Berlin with an energetic political and historical expert named Michael. I have never been on such an efficient and info-packed tour in my entire life. By the end of the 5 hour excursion we all felt like we had walked to every corner of the enormous city and learned everything about its history. The day culminated in a huge cultural festival that happened to be going on in Kreuzberg. The streets were absolutely packed full of people from many different countries dancing, laughing, baton twirling, and bungee jumping all night long. It was fascinating to compare how each of these cultures celebrated themselves differently.
Sunday and Monday were both free days for us because of a holiday called Pfingsten, but our classes start tomorrow (Tuesday, June 14th). We also have our first class trip to Weimar and Dresden this coming weekend. I will be sure to post about all of this sometime next week. I am really excited about this opportunity to share our adventures here in Germany, so until next time, tschüs!