At 4 a.m. this past Tuesday, I loaded all of my belongings onto a bus in Strasbourg, France and began the six-hour journey to Munich, Germany. Strasbourg had really started to feel somewhat like home and I had gotten to meet some amazing people. I even understood what they were saying most of the time! However, I was also excited to see what Munich had in store for me. Since arriving I have met some wonderful people and begun to really settle into my home for the next four months. I think the best way to continue this blog is to take you through my week, day by day.
The first day was all about getting situated in my new surroundings. I checked in at the JYM Office and made my way to my new room/apartment. The place was pretty bare-bones so I headed to IKEA to buy some essentials; think comforter, bedspread, kitchenware. This turned out to be quite a trek, as the nearest IKEA was about an hour away by public transport. Coming back with bags full of stuff was a real challenge. I also learned that people in Munich get very upset when you put your feet up on the seats on the train, so be warned. By the time I got back, it was time to meet the rest of the JYM students for a tour of OlyDorf, the area where we are living. There’s a lot going on in this area, which is a huge plus. After the tour, we ended up in a Biergarten and had some good times getting to know each other.
The next day, Wednesday, was our first official day of orientation, so we all headed over to JYM to get some bureaucratic stuff out of the way and the buy our semester tickets for the public transit. This didn’t take very long so afterward a few of us headed to the Olympiaeinkaufszentrum (a large shopping center) to explore. I also bought some groceries to stock up my kitchen.
On Thursday, we had another morning of filling out forms and getting information about how the semester is going to go. Then, in the evening we went to dinner for one of the other students’ birthday. Afterward, everyone went back home to deal with our internet situation. The OlyDorf only provides students with ethernet, so if you want wifi you have to buy a router. You can either get one at the OlyNet (the student-run IT help) that is preconfigured or you can buy your own either used or new. I bought a used router, but it was very difficult to configure on my own, so I still needed help from OlyNet. Unfortunately, OlyNet is only open for one hour every week on Thursdays from 8:00-9:00. So, on Thursday evening we swarmed their office to make sure everyone had an internet connection. Once that was working, we met up at the Bierstube, which is a student bar in the main building of the OlyDorf.
JYM is closed on Fridays, so we headed to the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. It was super interesting to learn about how the National Socialist Party began and grew in Munich, but also to see the effects of American occupation in Bavaria after the war. For lunch, we went into the center of the city and walked through Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt. In the evening, a smaller group of us decided not to go anywhere, but instead to have a fun dinner party in one of our apartments.
Saturday was a super busy day. In the morning, we went to a local flea market in the Olympic Park right near our dorm. I bought a mirror and had some fun helping a friend haggle for a rug. Then, in the afternoon we headed to a Trachtflohmarkt (a flea market for traditional Bavarian clothes). There, a few of us found some really nice Dirndls (traditional Bavarian dresses). I can’t wait to wear mine next week to a Bavarian dance lesson.
This week has been busy and full of tons of new experiences, but so far I have loved every minute of it. I feel very comfortable here in Munich and especially with the other JYM students and I cannot wait to see what else this semester holds.