It's hard to believe I have been in Ulm, Germany for almost a month. I remember thinking about writing this article during my flight here. I wondered what interesting and unique things I would be able to write about in only a month. Well, here I am. This first month has been everything I expected and more; who knew it would pass so quickly?
When I first arrived, my host family already had two barbecues planned. The first with their family and the second was on May 1st with their friends. May 1st is a holiday for the workers here in Europe, similar to Labor Day. This year, May 1st fell on a Tuesday, which gave me the opportunity to learn of another holiday called Brkentag. Brkentag translates to 'Bridge Day,' a work holiday that is only needed when an official holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday. It is used to extend the weekend. Some people also have Brkentag off, but not everyone. My first day of work was actually on Brkentag, but it was really no problem.
I have had an excellent time at my first job working in the Europe
Direct office located in the center of Ulm. The office organizes a lot of events to help children learn about Europe. This past week, we organized a role-playing game where the kids acted out different positions of people that affect the policies created in parliament. It was even an enjoyable learning experience for me.
Throughout the month, I have spent a lot of time experiencing everything Ulm has to offer. I have been exploring the city, eating at many different Gasthaus', helping my 13-year-old host brother with his English homework and meeting people from all over Europe. Currently, I have plans to go to Munich this weekend with my friend Joachim, one of the past participants of the Hans Joohs exchange from Ulm. I met him at my welcome dinner. It is nice to know that after this exchange is over, my experience won't be. Like Joachim, I hope to continue to meet future participants and help them make their experience memorable.
I can hardly wait for what the next couple of months will bring me. This is truly an experience of a lifetime, and I intend to make the most of it!
Mit besten Gren,
(Diane Germann is the Hans Joohs Exchange Intern to Ulm, Germany. The Hans Joohs Exchange Program is part of the Sister Cities program.)