It’s getting late here in Freiburg.
I’m catching the early train to Frankfurt in the morning, and flying from there back to the States. It’s been almost exactly four months since I first came to Europe, but the time has flown.
Right now I’m feeling….
- Sad to say goodbye to all the aaaamazing people I’ve met!
- Bummed to leave this fab city of Freiburg
- Eager to see my family
- Excited for some Chick-fil-A!
This has been one of the most amazing times, and greatest of opportunities, of my life. I have absolutely loved my time spent abroad studying Germany and the European Union.
I had the great fortune to be able to travel to lots of different cities and countries this semester – sometimes with my study program and sometimes on my own. I spent so much time making all these great memories and the rest of my time cramming for school…. And sometimes, I didn’t get the chance to blog about it all.
SO! My plan for after I get to the US of A: finish blogging and fill in the gaps. There’s still a lot about study abroad and my experiences that I can’t wait to share with you guys! Stay tuned for….
“A Barista Tours Vienna’s Coffeehouses”
“Easter at the Vatican”
“A Weekend in Copenhagen”
“Food around Freiburg”
….and more. : )
It’s been finals week here in Freiburg, and I officially finished my last one today! It feels great to be done with all the exams, but my study abroad program still has one more big academic event….
The Model European Union Summit, 2011.
This weekend, all the students on my program are suiting up and stepping into character to represent EU member states in a simulation summit. We’re divided into two groups: Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers. And we’re all discussing hot topics facing Europe today, just like in the real EU.
I’m the foreign minister for Lithuania…
…and I’ll be talking about European Neighborhood Policy, European Enlargement, the new European External Action Service (EEAS), and Common Asylum/Refugee Policy.
Most of my time will be spent in this room:
It’ll be around 13 to 14 hours of debate, discussion, and compromise. The goal is to draft some legislation addressing those EU topics, but mostly we’re here to learn about the involved, complicated, and difficult process of meeting the needs of all European states.
Might be a bit of a bumpy ride!
Recycling in Germany can be precise. It took a while for me to get the hang of it, during which time I started collecting recyclables in my room….
The situation soon got desperate, and it was time to figure out German recycling. It’s especially important here in Freiburg, known for being one of the prominent ‘green’ European cities.
There’s lots of recycling bins outside the dorm. You’ve got your white glass, your brown glass, your green glass, and on the left is the bin for clothes/shoes/fabrics….
Then there’s another set of bins for your paper (Grüne Tonne, or “green bin”), plastics/metals (Gelber Sack, or “yellow bag”), and a catch-all for organic wastes and things that don’t fit in the other bins (Restmülltonne, or “waste bin”).
But the coolest thing about recycling in Germany: returning your bottles where you buy them. Turn your empty bottles back in to the cafes/markets/cafeteria where you bought them, and you’ll get your deposit back! (It’s been around .15-.25 euro cents everywhere I’ve gone).
I get a lot of bottles from the Penny-Markt near my dorm, and they have return machines to scan them….
…and you get a receipt in return to pay towards your next purchase!
The German recycling system is pretty complicated, but all the sorting and the deposit method for bottles really encourages the green initiative – Germany has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe and the world (Eurostat).
I’ve talked before about getting around Germany, where the train is definitely my go-to mode of transport. But sometimes I also get the chance to take buses on the autobahn, or German highway.
The interesting thing about the autobahn in the area where I live: no official, federal speed limit! Generally, the advice is to stay under 75 or 80 mph, but it’s a funny feeling never seeing a speed limit sign on the interstate.
Cool fact I learned: Germany has the third longest interstate in the world.
I love riding through the German countryside. And here in Baden–Württemberg, there are always mountains along the horizon in the distance. J’adore. : )
It’s springtime in Freiburg!
Along with the warmer weather and longer days, other small changes are taking place all around town. For example, more and more flowers are for sale each day at the open-air market….
Trees and flowers are blooming everywhere….
And even the ground beneath your feet is decorated by the spring blossoms!
I love Germany in the springtime. : )
Here’s a few photos from this week in Freiburg!
A quirky thing I noticed yesterday – you can buy batteries individually here. At home, I normally only buy batteries in huge packages of 20 or more.
Soccer Football is a huge deal here. This street-performer was keeping it fancy and entertaining with his tricks….
Alongside that soccer player, there are a lot more street musicians out, too, in the new warmer spring weather.
And Freiburg’s riverside is a great place to enjoy the sun! It’s scenic, calm, and inviting….
I love Germany in the spingtime! : )