With 4 hours in airports, 6 hours lost, 7 hours of touring, 10 hours of traveling and much more in between, it’s hard to imagine how we got through the first day (or two?) we had in Germany.
After flying from Pittsburgh to Chicago, our flight to Munich took around 8 hours. During our time before the flight, we got to learn more about the group when some of us played Black Magic and the Umbrella Game. Alex, Michelle, Steph and I all watched a Star is Born for the first time, some cried more than others. But most of the adventure started once we landed in Munich and drove to Augsburg.
The first obvious observation I made was seeing a different language on all the signs; this will be my first time in a country where English is not the dominant language and it was very clear from the start. For the day so far, we have been in situations where the people we interact with also know English, but I can imagine this will be one of the hardest problems I face while abroad.
Once we were settled in the Ibis hotel in Augsburg, we went out into the city and walked through the streets to get a grip of Augsburg. We walked through the town square and saw some of the main prominent churches and landmarks we talked about in class. The easiest to remember and notice was the Augsburg Town Hall, which was located next to a clock tower in the center of the city. In front of the area is an incredibly large pavilion, like we saw in the pictures. One of the things a lot of us students noticed was that there were not too many people walking around the city, at points the streets were empty. Augsburg is only the 3rd largest city in Bavaria, so it is not one of the first places for tourists to go, which makes it great to be living here.
After we did our city tour, we met up with some of the German students to do a tour of the Fuggerei, which is a housing development previously established by Jakob Fugger. The development was made for the needy, having houses available for only 88 cents. Following this tour, we went out to dinner with the German students to a German restaurant called König von Flandern. When we first got there we all picked up the menu to pick our meal until we were hit with the language barrier of not understanding anything in the menu. At our table, we had two German girls, Noemi and Laura, both in my group for the final project, who were able to help us with the menu. I had the Dunkelbierbraten mit Knödel und Blaukraut, which translates to Dark beer Roast with dumplings and red cabbage. The dinner was very nice since it was the first time we were able to meet and talk to some of the students in the program. The comparison between the groups was most noticeable in how we talked; the Americans were louder, talking over each other, and leading most of the discussion, while the Germans were quieter and more observant.
Overall, it was a very long and packed day, but I’m happy we were able to most of the historic tours on the first day. With the last study abroad program I did, I remembered that the history tour was very tolling on my energy, so I’m happy we were able to do it the first day. My favorite part of the day was seeing the inside of the city hall to the Golden Hall, which was incredibly beautiful. I’m excited for the future days to come to further understand the culture and become closer with the students.