Thursday, June 19, 2014
For those of you following the blog, it may seem little late to be posting final reflections, but, for me and a few other students, the trip is really just ending. I finally arrived home two days ago, after three weeks of traveling after the official end of our program. I was lucky enough to visit Amsterdam and Mallorca with Kat, Kenny, and Katreina and Rome and Lisbon on my own. It's weird being back in the United States after six weeks abroad. There are things I appreciate about being home (namely, unlimited free tap water at restaurants and easy-to-find free public restrooms), but I already miss traveling. What will stick with me the most are the relationships I formed and fun times I shared with the members of our group, the kids at MORUS, and everyone else who I met along the way. I ended this trip with much more confidence in my ability to travel, especially my ability to travel alone. Even though I technically spent most of my time traveling with other people, throughout our time in Berlin we were encouraged to go out and explore on our own, to pursue our own interests, and to find places in the city that were meaningful to us. One of my best days in Berlin was spent wandering around alone in a new neighborhood with a map in my pocket but otherwise no idea where I was going. Being in Berlin shaped the way that I traveled in the three weeks following the program, and I believe that it will continue to influence how I travel in the future. And, as someone who wasn't necessarily a "theater person" prior to this trip, I expect to seek out theater much more often in the future, both at home and while traveling. I've learned that it's possible to watch, understand, and enjoy shows even if you barely speak the language (and not just for shows like Murmel Murmel that don't have dialogue). My favorite show, the Yellow Wallpaper, didn't have subtitles, but I found myself understanding almost everything that happened because of the strength of the acting. As one of the students who started German in January, the language was one of the things that I was most nervous about going into the trip. I had learned a lot for only studying German for a few months, but, of course, I still have a long way to go before I completely master the language. Still, most of the theater we saw was easy to understand and get something out of with little to no knowledge of German. I would definitely recommend theater as an activity for any traveller. It added a lot to this trip.