Back to Berlin

Thursday, September 05, 2013

After visiting Berlin in February, and despite the subzero temperatures experienced, I left the city completely enamoured and determined to find any way to come back again. Turns out I didn't actually have to look that hard. One day, I actually decided to read one of the many thousand TargetJobs emails which land in my inbox every day and found out about a work experience project taking place in Germany for young people. Not only was it happening in Berlin, it was also dedicated to improving your travel writing and gave a crash course in the German language as an extra added bonus. Hello! Sign me up, I thought.

The name of the company which runs the project is City Travel Review, and courses also run in Edinburgh, Madrid, Lyon, London and Barcelona. I have chosen to take part in the project for just a month but participants can stay for up to three. The major factor that influenced my decision to only stay a month was money: each month sets you back a hefty £900 (it was also slightly due to fear of what weather November might bring). When I took into account everything that was included in the deal though: rent, language classes and writing workshops I felt that the project fee was extremely fair.

I arrived on Sunday morning to the harsh reminder that there is nothing open in Germany on a Sunday. After two months away from civilisation and H&M, this really hurt my soul quite a lot. It also sparked my first German-English confrontation, when I suggested that this was a little strange. As it turns out, it's not strange. It's good (paraphrased). So that was the end of that. Following my lecture, I dumped my stuff at what I'll stylistically call our "humble" "bijou" "flat" (just kidding, it is really a flat at least), grabbed a u-Bahn map and headed off in the direction of Alexanderplatz....a vague centre in Berlin's sprawling disorganised-ness. Not knowing what to do, I unintentionally retraced the walking tour we took part in last time I was here and ended up at Check Point Charlie, weary and willing to pay 2.60€ for a bad cup of tea and use of the Wifi at Starbucks while I pretended to look like I at least had friends in the online world.

First days are always really strange limbo days when you go somewhere new. I was still wondering what everyone was up to in L'Estartit while only half thinking of the month ahead and everything I needed to do. It's also one of the first times I've ever arrived somewhere and known absolutely no one waiting for me. But I'm here now, 5 days on and my head is back in the game. Expects lots of blog posts!

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