May – an awesome month!

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I always had it in my mind that May was going to be an awesome month.

The second semester would be properly in swing and I would have an exciting trip to Barcelona planned with my girlfriend at the start of the month (this blog appears to have been taken over by trips Amytis and I have done/are doing together…).  Oh, and at the end of the month I was to go off to Berlin for a few days.

Berlin avec the Frenchies

The Reichstag and some people I know! Would leaving the EU make it harder to visit historic places in Europe such as this?  I don’t know, but Vote Remain please

On a negative note, the prospect of the EU referendum has been looming large since April and anyone and everyone I know is still asking me day-to-day on what I think of a) whether I’m Remain or if I want the UK to leave and b) What I think would be the consequences for my country either way.  Whilst I am happy to discuss politics with everyone usually, the debate has been a little bit incessant!

Attempts to explain that I cannot speak on behalf of the UK appear fruitless… I have resolved to simply emphasise how I’m for Remain and to cheerfully admit that if we’re being honest, no-one really knows exactly what the consequences are if we leave, no matter how much research we all conduct.

But once you factor in how the weather was only going to improve with us running into summer, things looked more and more positive…

And it has been… awesome!

What with classes being in full swing and there being more fun activities during term-time now, I thought I’d subdivide this post into 1) Class in summer semester and 2) fun activities and trips.

1) Classes in summer semester

Class has been most enjoyable, with all the work we’ve done thus far being rather interesting.

One tip I would give especially to Durham students is that as Heidelberg does not have the collegiate system, you sometimes have to be a little bit more proactive if you want to get to know new people.  This is particularly the case with regard to class mates, who you may wish to do presentations and/or activities with outside of class.

Seminars in particular usually begin at quarter past the hour, during which most students arrive on the hour (German punctuality) and often sit around chatting with one another before class begins.   > This is particularly ideal if you haven’t done the reading or have a presentation where you’d like a particular question to be asked afterwards!

Moreover, one of the most useful things I’ve found is that once you’ve gotten to know your class mates better, meeting them for lunch before or afterwards is also nice – whether you want to be nerdy and discuss the class before/afterwards or simply want to grumble at what the Seminar leader asked you to read before the next class!

Berlin with Etienne.jpg

I have a lunch ‘en francais’ every week with this fella, which is always a lot of fun!

2) fun activities and trips in Summer Semester

Okay, so I’ve mentioned Barcelona and Berlin, so I will talk mostly about them here.

Fun activities to do in Heidelberg are plentiful, as the summer weather opens up many opportunities to Barbecue on the Neckar and throw around a rugby ball or do some keepie uppies while your food is grilling.  It is to all intents and purposes rather perfect, as I hope the picture below illustrates:

Panorama of Picnic on the Neckar

With regard to doing trips to Barcelona and Berlin, I would suggest that visiting these places for a weekend is probably still worth it, but that you’ll get much more out of it if you can spend a few more days there.  You don’t have to miss class either to do it – many wise Erasmus students plan their modules according to the days and times during which they are normally held.  For instance, the whole year, I’ve made sure to keep my Fridays free, so that I can sometimes take a long bus journey or short flight on a Thursday evening and then spend a few days somewhere rather magical > and Barcelona and Berlin are for different reasons just that!

Barcelona was wonderful due to it being so chilled and relaxed there, as well as there being so many fun and historical places to visit > and Sangria is rather great too as I discovered.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell!

If you’re to visit Berlin, I would highly recommend that whilst the tourist locations are everywhere, you should absolutely stay in the east side of Berlin, where its much cheaper and the nightlife is unique.  Night clubs in what are basically in abandoned warehouses and one which was essentially in a forest reflect how free east Berlin is to express its own character.  Okay, so that’s a little wordy and vague, but I really don’t know how to express the character of east Berlin.  But it’s rather special and fun to spend a few days there with some very good friends!  And I’ve only really scratched the surface, despite having visited Berlin multiple times before…

Club in a forest Berin

Der Visionaere – the club in east Berlin, which feels rather forest-like…

 

Okay, well that’s all for now folks!

 

bis nachste Mal,

 

S.

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