I’m a bit late posting my first few posts so they’ll have to come all at once! I wrote everything down in a notebook so I wouldn’t forget but I’ve had suuuch a hectic first couple of days. First I’ll introduce myself and tell you about why I decided to come to Berlin. I’m Carrie Morrison and I’m studying German and English Literature at The University of Edinburgh and really enjoying it! As part of my Language degree I have to spend a year in a German speaking country. This has been something I’ve looked forward to from day one, but it is insane how fast it has come! I always sort of built it up as this thing that was way in the future and it’s scary and exciting that it is now that I’ve been waiting two years for. What makes my year abroad 100000x more scary but also more special is that I have basically lived in Edinburgh my whole life and have never been abroad for more than a couple of weeks so it’s all very new!
As part of my German course I have to study for a year in a German University and had the choice of many around the country. As I’m sure you know, Berlin’s reputation precedes it and I knew from the moment I got a place at Edinburgh University that I would apply to come here in third year.
I found out at the beginning of this year that I was going to be able to go to Freie Universität, Berlin: my first choice. Berlin is known as a huge cultural hub and I was so excited by the amount of things the city had to offer, particularly the Berlin International Literature Festival which I hope to attend. Even before I arrived I’d heard of Berlin’s artsy feel, fashion consciousness and unrivalled nightlife which I was anxious to experience.
So as I study German language I have to make a maaassive effort to speak/write as much German as possible and limit my English (this blog is an exception of course :)) therefore I wanted to move into a flat with other native speakers so that I could improve. Finding a flat in Berlin is a tall order! There are so many WGs (flat shares) around but they are snapped up at a crazy rate and so many people are looking for a place. I wanted to see my flat and perhaps meet my flatmates before I signed any contracts so I was going to stay in a hostel for the first month while searching.
I always make an effort to speak to Germans when they come into my cafe in Edinburgh. And incidentally I explained my hostel plans to a German family who were in my cafe on a holiday from Berlin; it was an older woman and a boy about 17, and the woman told me I was welcome to stay with her until I found a place!
So I took her up on her offer and organised a stay at her house in Waidmannslust (very very very far away from the centre but Berlin transport is magical) and all the while my supervisor and I were laughing in disbelief at my luck! My last few days in Edinburgh were bittersweet. It saddened me that I was leaving my beloved city where I felt at all times safe, comfortable and loved. My friends were so supportive of me though and my last three days were spent having dinner with my work friends at Frankie and Benny’s, my university friends at Bar Kohl just off Royal Mile and then my family at an Italian restaurant in Alloa.
So now I’ll take you through what will hopefully be one of the most exciting years of my life and I’ll keep this blog updated with everything that I’m doing and how I’m getting on. Wish me luck on finding a flat! Fingers crossed! Daumen drücken!