Monday, October 25, 2010

Adjusting to Life in Munich

I have been in Munich for one month now and I'm starting to take in the differences. There are so many things I love about Munich, like the the art and architecture, the fact that there is always something interesting going on, the style on the streets, the Bavarian food, the public trasportation system.. and I could go on. But I'm also finding things that I really miss about America like being able to shop on Sundays and simple things like being able to order water for free in restaurants. I learned last week that Munich is the most expensive city in Germany and the longer I've been here, the more I've realized that it's hard to get by on a tight budget. Ordering water in America was always a way to save when I went out to eat, but here I quickly realized that getting water in San Pellegrino bottles was even more expensive than ordering beer. The only thing that is (significantly) cheaper over here than in America is alcohol. As one student put it, "It's more expensive here to be sober."
Aside from the expenses, Munich is such a beautiful city.. somewhere I could see myself living long term. This month has gone by fast already and I can't believe I only have nine months left. Classes started last week and getting back into the rhythm of studying after five long months of vacation isn't easy. I'm taking three German classes through my American Program (JYM) and two art classes in German at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Most of my classes are only once a week, for 3 hours at a time, which is really different than at my home University. Students are expected to study more on their own time so there are less assignments. And I love the fact that I have Fridays off so I can plan some long weekend trips to different cities in Germany.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Thursday our JYM group took a train from Munich to Tegernsee, which lies at the foot of the Alps. From there we hiked about two hours through thick woods to get to Alm Neureuth, a little Bavarian lodge where cake and coffee was waiting for us. It was really foggy all day, which was disappointing because we couldn't see much when we reached the top, but it'll just be more incentive to come back soon for the amazing view!

My Professor, Hans-Peter Söder

Monday, October 11, 2010

Das Familienessen

I spent Sunday at Onkel Johann's birthday party. It was held at the Kleine Schmausefalle, a cozy Bavarian restaurant in Munich. Since we planned to head to Oktoberfest afterwards, we all dressed in Trachten attire and had an amazing German meal, Spanferkelbraten and  Kartoffelknödel.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I spent the Saturday, Sunday (ok, and Monday) at Oktoberfest which was such a crazy experience. I got there with a group of girls at 7am on Saturday to get in line at one of the beer tents (which don't open until 9) but there were about 500 other people waiting to get tables at the same tent. People were pushing and yelling and after standing in line (which was more like a herd of shoving people trying to get as close to the doors as possible) for 2 hours we got pushed so far from the tent that there was no way to get in. We were so dissapointed but luckily I had the chance to get a table on Sunday and Monday.
When else do you have an excuse to sing folk songs, drink masses of beer, and dance on tables before noon?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The First Few Days

Before I left on my trip abroad for the year, I thought about different ways to document the this experience, and came up with the idea to start a photo blog to capture all the moments and experiences in Germany. I received a scholarship from the Benjamin A. Gilman Foundation, which is a program that financially enables students to study abroad in hope of promoting international study and all it's benefits. If anyone is thinking about studying abroad, make sure to check out their website:
I arrived in Munich 6 days ago. I flew from Minneapolis to Chicago to Washington DC and on to Munich. Since I was still packing the night before I left and I had to be at the airport by 4am, I only got an hour of sleep. I was so exhausted that for the first time ever I was able to sleep well on the plane and the flight to Munich went by pretty fast. Once I'd arrived at the Munich airport with my group (who I'd met in DC) we got our luggage (only 2 suitcases for the whole year!) and took a bus to the Studentenstadt (the student village) where our studio apartments would be. I was so excited to find out that my room was on the 13th floor because I have such a great view of the city...
The view from my bedroom window

Since getting there, the days have been filled with orientation, where I've also had the chance to see a lot of Munich. The city is so beautiful I can't wait to explore more of it! Being so close to the subway makes it conventient to get anywhere without a problem. Spending the first four days without internet was hard, but really who needs to be online when you can be exploring such a beautiful city!? One of the things I've learned this week is to always bring your own grocery bags to the store. Unlike in America, they don't give them out for free, if at all. I went to the drug store after orientation today, but once I had checked out and paid I realized that they only had quart size plastic bags. Did they have any bigger bags? The cashier said no, they did not. Great.. I had to spend the next ten minutes emptying the small contents of my purse into the bags so that I could make room for the bigger items I bought in my purse. The greater challenge was trying to juggle a handful of little plastic bags (and trying not to have them tear!) on the subway ride and walk home. Other than that, I've been going out with the amazing people in my group, getting moved in, stopping at the hundred bakeries I pass everyday, and of course.. Oktoberfest!