Now that I’ve finished telling the story of my wonderful and epic adventures around the world with Morgan over the course of our semester break, I’d like to talk briefly about how life in Munich has changed since being back from vacation and how I’ve been getting by in my second semester at the Ludwig Maximillians Universität.
Since the second semester here has started, the Junior Year in Munich program has gained over 40 new students who study with us for one semester and generally leave around the same time as the full-year students like me. It has certainly been nice getting to know and experience life abroad with other like-minded people, but this has also served as a catalyst for me to get out and really try to engage with Germans at the university and who live near me. These friendships, while perhaps not having a huge possibility of being re-kindled later, have not only improved my ability to speak German, but they have provided great insights into how Germans think about particular subjects and how they treat friendships in comparison to Americans. On average, I can say that the Germans are much more serious about their friendships than us Americans. In the States, short-term friends are certainly not uncommon. An example of this could be someone that you sit next to on a bus or subway and have a great conversation with, but never see again and make no attempt to contact. Here in Germany, if both parties show interest in starting a friendship, you had better be prepared to work that person into your schedule and really put forth effort into the relationship before you two can be considered friends and more than just acquaintances. In this sense, I suppose the word “Freund” is used far less loosely than we use “friend” or “pal.” Despite this, I have made some great friends here in Germany and hope very much that they can make it over to the U.S. soon, so that I can give them a taste of where I’m from and why I think like I do.
The JYM program itself has hit a big milestone this year as well. Namely, it celebrated its 60th anniversary. In celebration of this, there was a big party in the program building with all of this years students as well as alumni and partners of the program. This was a lot of fun to attend and I was also given the task of restoring an old recording of a JYMer from 1968 singing an original song called “The JYM Blues” which I digitalized and wrote an accompaniment for which I performed at the party. Overall, it was great to learn more about just how important of a program JYM has been over the years and how it has impacted both its students and the city of Munich.
Unfortunately, the weather here has been rather sporadic. After a winter which lasted until late May, there was hope for summer weather in mid-June when we got temperatures around 90 degrees. These dreams, however, were quickly squashed and the sun was replaced by on-and-off rain with 50-degree temperatures until this week, when the sun finally decided to make an appearance and we are now enjoying 75 degrees and sunshine most days of the week. Let’s hope it stays this way so that the rest of my hiking trips and days in the English Garden aren’t too miserable!
At this point in the semester, with a week and a half left, it’s hard not to think about going home. In these last weeks, you really start to miss everything that you love about being at home in the States. From the food to family, it will be s bitter sweet flight home on the 30th of July. However, I will save my parting thoughts for my last post next week. In the meantime, it’s time to buckle down and study for my final exams coming up at the end of the week and end next week so that I can enjoy my one school-free week here in Munich afterwards! Wish me luck!