Farewell Berlin… Until We Meet Again

This last blog will be short and sweet.

The fall semester at the Hertie School is basically over. Most students have already returned home for the holidays. From speaking with the first-year students, I know a lot of them are particularly relieved to finally have some time off after their first (sometimes academically grueling) semester in this Master of Public Policy program.

It has been overwhelmingly sad saying farewell to people that I know I will not be seeing again for who knows how long, if ever. I tend to have trouble with goodbyes, but this time they’ve been especially difficult. But that is one of the telltale signs of a really fun experience, and I can honestly and happily say that I have no regrets, which I didn’t know was possible! I’ve certainly had the time of my life and have definitely fallen in love with the city of Berlin in the process. I can only imagine the infinite ways to enjoy this place when the weather is nicer and the days are longer, too.

The Hawaiian-themed Christmas party at the Hertie School. Going to miss these people!

The Hawaiian-themed Christmas party at the Hertie School. Going to miss these people!

A small group of exchange students spent one of our final nights together at a cool bar-restaurant called Ausfurtz in the Mitte neighborhood. Afterwards, we went down to the Spree River and popped open a bottle of prosecco to toast to the semester. It was a warmer night, the moon was full, the stars were out, and we had a beautiful view of the bright and glimmering Fernsehturm (TV tower), an iconic landmark of Berlin. It was perfect. Later that night, it got me reflecting on this whole experience. I just could not help wondering how exactly it happened that I got so lucky to be here. To have met my wonderful new friends and shared this experience with them, to have had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone yet again, to even be blessed with the resources to do a bit of travel on top of it all, and, of course, to have learned so much! … Not only in school, or about Europe and the EU in general, and not even about Germany or Berlin in particular, but about myself. For that I am truly thankful. I will often think of that particularly pleasant, memorable and reflective final evening next semester in the many moments that I know I’ll be missing this place like crazy and craving to be back.

That’s it for this blog series for me, and Berlin 2013 is a wrap! It has been super fun writing about this experience, and I hope I’ve been able to portray Berlin and Germany accurately for anyone and everyone who has read it at any point.

As they say here… Frohe Weihnachten und ein gl├╝ckliches Neues Jahr!

Cheers!!

Mari

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