Berlin is everything I could have ever imagined and so much more! I am still in shock that I am actually here after an entire semester of anticipation!
Yesterday, I got to go on a city tour. I got to see a large majority of the city including the United States Embassy as well as many historic landmarks such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of England (pictured). The memorial was over 1,800 blocks of concrete of all different sizes and weights. The designer didn’t say much about the exhibit because he wanted to leave the interpretation up to the citizens. While it was sad to be there because it brought up these memories, it was also really cool how the government wanted the memorial in the middle of the city for people to pass by daily. It was a sign that Germans should remember their past and but also to not make the same mistake again.
Today I got to go to several different business sites and learn about the different companies and the roles they play in the city.
I started out the day at the German Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education is where funding for research projects and institutions, general education policies, and regulation of nuclear energy come from! I got to learn about the different programs students can choose after high school graduation as well as different sectors of the German government.
After picking up a quick lunch at Die Eins, a small restaurant overlooking a river, we made our way to Topography of Terror. The lunch was absolutely amazing and it was such a pretty environment. (Yes mom, that’s only a coke)
The Topography of Terror is now a history museum where the Nazi headquarters once were. It was right behind what is left of the Berlin Wall. And across the street from what was originally the Nazi Air-Control Center. This was a free mesuem open to the public which I thought was interesting. But again, the government wants the citizens to know about the history of Germany. While we were there we saw many school groups learning about the different things the Nazi Party did. While it was sad, I really enjoyed it and thought it was very interesting.
The next stop was Transparency International, a global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption. This company is focused on creating a more “transparent” work environment for many companies through anti-corruption strategies. We got to see the different types of countries that were corrupt as well as the different ways to measure the amount of corruption in a company. We also saw a table of the amount of transparency within a company and unfortunately some of the American companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon were towards the bottom of the list.
During our free time, the group decided that we would go to a beer garden to watch the soccer game. As one would imagine, this idea completely turned on us for many different reasons. First, we accidentally got on the wrong bus from where we were. Then after realizing it, we got off and found a map to try and make our way to where we were going. We ended up walking through a pretty nice neighborhood but eventually landing on the street we wanted to be one. All while it’s pouring rain. After wee got to the street, we started walking towards what we thought was the beer garden only to find out 2 miles later that the beer garden was closed because the street was blocked off due to the President of Israel visiting. We apparently were also walking in a restricted area and even though we passed several cops, it wasn’t until the end that someone stopped us and told us to leave immediately because we were trespassing. However, after about an hour of walking in a giant circle, we finally found a sports bar and got to watch the game!
While the past few days have been long, they have been nothing short of magical. I am more than excited to continue my journey tomorrow and the rest of the week! Auf Wiedersehen!!!