Tag Archives: Berlin

What I am up to these days, and how my future looks!

Hey all! Since many of you have been asking what I am doing these days, and what my future plans are, I have decided to write a blog entry clearing everything up!

So I just spent 4 months (End of June-Mid October) living in Córdoba, Argentina learning Spanish and interning for a great company. I had probably the best experience of my life there, and met so many great people. I really love how the Argentinians live and are so open and welcoming!

I know this internship was required for my studies, and the initial plan was to return to Berlin to continue my studies, I had a realization while abroad. I realized that I don’t want to continue studying in the German language. Although my German is pretty much fluent, I still struggle when it comes to writing and grammar. Studying in German is possible for me, but it is difficult, and I don’t see why I should have to make myself work extra hard when I could study in my native language. Sure, I should have realized that before I decided to study in German, but I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. I am also more than disappointed with my university here, and their lack of support and organizational skills, but that is another argument.

So I have decided to transfer universities. I am not exactly sure yet where I will pick up my studies, but I am currently applying. Since I study tourism and it is a specialized subject, it is only offered at smaller private universities, meaning starting once a year (in the northern hemisphere’s autumn!) That leaves me about 10 or 11 months of “free” time.

I am currently in Berlin, getting ready to move out. It is sad, but at this time there are no possibilities for me here. I am ending contracts, looking for someone to take over my lease, etc. Soon I will return to California to spend some time with my family and friends, and help my dad out with working! I am very much looking forward to it! I am also working doing some translations for a friends company (www.learnboost.com). And doing work for the company (www.startspanish.com) that I interned for in Argentina (more on that later!).

My next BIG step, is moving back to Argentina in February!! Like I said before, I had the most amazing time, and dream of going back and continuing my life where I left off. I also need to continue improving my Spanish skills as I have not reached the level I would like to be at! I have also been offered a great job that I can’t resist! Córdoba, Argentina is where I want to be at this point in my life and summer in February will also be a nice change too ;). But don’t worry, I do plan to finish my studies and get my bachelor’s degree, I just don’t see why I need to rush through my studies, this economy is horrible anyways. Whoever started the standard that “getting a degree by age 22 is necessary” is crazy. Look at me, I am trilingual (working on language 4 and 5 too ;)), living all around the world and making friends, networking and having REAL LIFE work experience! This is a life experience that going to class in a classroom can’t give me! Overall, I am happy enjoying the moment and looking forward to the future too!

Thanks for reading and I hope this entry has answered your questions!

Keep reading for more updates!

-Nat

Cordoba ❤

My last view of Cordoba

CouchSurfing

For the past 2.5 years CouchSurfing has been a big part of my life. What is “CouchSurfing” you ask? It is a community with approximately 3 million members around the world from 246 different countries. The main concept is to meet people from all over the world and “surf” or rather sleep on their couch, mattress, or whatever they offer for no money. As a “host” you write a description about your couch, and your so to speak “rules”. But it is more than just sleeping somewhere for free; the best part is getting to know these amazing people and learning from them whether it be how to cook a new dish or say a few words in another language. I personally am not much of a host or surfer, but rather more of a “social CouchSurfer.” I attend and organize local events here in Berlin! A few memorable events I’ve attended were things such as watching the world cup in the park with 50 people, swimming in a lake after midnight, a pub-crawl to small local bars in dodgy part of Berlin with 100 people, a few fondue dinners, and many more! Also if I am traveling somewhere alone and don’t know anyone, I write a few people messages and ask if they would like to meet up for a drink and show me around the city. A city is much more enjoyable with a local point of view instead of the typical tourist route.  Everyone I have met from CouchSurfing has been very open minded and interested in traveling like me, so we have a lot in common. I consider many of these people close friends now, and if it weren’t for CouchSurfing I would have never met them. Many people think that it is crazy or risky, but on peoples profile pages there are references from other people writing about their personal experience with this person. There is also something called “vouching” which helps determine if the person is trustworthy. If you “vouch” for someone it means you confirm they are a real person and you trust them. The more vouches, the better. Now that I have made friends from all over the world, I would gladly offer them my couch if they pass through Berlin, and I believe they would do the same for me, which in the end is also another form of networking. I am proud to say that CouchSurfing was founded in San Francisco, California close to where I am from. Hopefully I have put some ideas into your head and inspired a few of you to register!! Help someone out, and benefit at the same time by getting to know an amazing interesting new person, who afterwards, would most likely offer you a place to stay in whatever interesting corner of the world they come from!

My profile

A Few memorable pictures with CouchSurfers

Fondue/Raclette Night

Exploring Copenhagen!

After nightswimming

Kopi, Berlin

Pub-Crawl through Berlin-Wedding with ca. 100 Couchsurfers

Taking an “Urlaubssemester”

What is an ‘Urlaubssemester’ you might ask?
Well in German, “Urlaub” means vacation;holiday, and “semester” is of course the same as in English.
So yes, I am taking a “vacation semester” off, although I’m not going ON vacation 🙂
As many of you know, Ive lived in Germany the past two and a half years,and the last year and a half I have been studying International Tourism here in Berlin, for my Bachelors degree.
Since i was crazy and decided to take the hard way out, by studying in another language, I have had some challenges. Ive done well but every semester so far I have had “Nachprüfungen”, better known as “make-up exams” in English. In the German school system if you fail an exam you have 2 more chances to take it and pass it. If you have to take the exam the third time, the highest grade you can get is a 4 (a D by American standards). If you fail your 3rd time you cant go on with your semester.. you have to go back to that semester and re-do JUST that class…which is nonsense..
But dont be scared for me, this DIDNT happen in my case 🙂
The 3rd semester was one of the hardest times of my life. It was winter, dark, cold, and we had about 17 different classes. A total of ca. 35 hours of class a week!! Pretty much a full time job. I had a few exams I had to make up from the 2nd semester..that continued with me during the whole 3rd semester. Luckily by the end of it I had passed everything (throughout the 4 months of the 3rd semester). Due to asthma,stress and other things, i didn’t do as well in the 3rd semester as I had hoped.
I came to a mature decision myself and decided I want to re-do my 3rd semester and take it slower. I mean after all, its crazy at all that I study 100% in German! Ive done well so far, but of course I run into obstacles. In the end of October I will begin my 3rd semester again,with a new group of people, a few months rest/internship experience, and a better grip of the subjects! I am motivated! 🙂 The professors also praised me on my “wise” decision, and I am thankful to have their support as well as from friends and family!
For the next few weeks I will be in Berlin, perhaps doing some side jobs for some extra cash. Then at the end of June or beginning of July I will be headed to SOUTH America! Buenos Aires, Argentina to be exact. For a few weeks I will take an intensive Spanish class then I will do a 12 week internship. I will be working for a Tour Operator called Say Hueque where I will be organizing personalized tours through Argentina and Chile for Independent travelers, handling English and German speaking customers, and helping write the travel blog for their website! This job sounds PERFECT for me I could not be happier that I got this position and I am very much looking forward to it. As I am not that much of an experienced blogger, this blog will be good practice for me, and also keep everyone whose interested, updated on what I am up to!
Thank you for reading
Nat