Brittany Robinson
Brittany Robinson
Germany 2014
Hi! I will be traveling to Berlin, Germany to further my knowledge of German language and experience the culture. Read More About Brittany →

Team Sparkles

Its been a while since my last post- I just figured out how to make this work on my phone. As of last Wednesday, I am no longer a part of Belmonts study abroad program. I am solo. For the first time ever actually.

So we all had to move out of our hosts places Saturday. Most people had left by then it were leaving on that day. Not wanting to think about actually being alone, I put off reserving a hostel until after I had left my host. I suppose I’m lucky in that I was able to get one of the last spots in a good hostel on a Saturday night.


By the way, hostels are fantastic.

I slept in a room with two other strangers, both of whom were very nice. I met a really cool Danish girl, who had studied sociology at her school. She told me about social problems in Holland, and I told her about the ones in the U.S. Our conversation ended with a mutual “I love people”.

Also, something interesting I learned : “English?” is the very first question you ask someone in a hostel. I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me-having stayed in Berlin for a month- but I was shocked to find that EVERYONE had ay least an elementary level of English. I feel so lazy now, only having somewhat learned Spanish. I’m so inspired to learn other languages now. I feel its only fair that I do.


So after my time in the hostel, during which I got fabulously lost in Berlin, I took a bus to Chemnitz. This is where I am right now, staying for some days with my friend Dorit. Today we toured the city. Its almost as beautiful here as it is in Dresden. There was a huge bust of Karl Marx’s head, which was kinda neat to see. And there is a church of an old castle, which I found breathtaking. I felt like I was in a fairy tale.

Saturday, I will make the journey to Dresden where I will stay in another hostel for a few days, before heading back to Berlin. Basically, life is really, really, good right now.

Everything is real!


It is my third week in Germany and I now feel like I am at home. The more things I see and the more I learn about the country’s history, the more I am fascinated by every inch of the country that I have encountered.

Last weekend, the group of students went to Dresden for the weekend. While the highpoint for me was seeing my friends for the first time in months, I have to say that the city is easily my favorite location in the world (note: I have not seen too much of the world). Walking in Dresden, I truly felt as though I was in a different country- where I really should try to speak German.

Spoiler alert- you never need to know German to live in Berlin. Everyone is at least bilingual.                                                                                                                  10569096_674237045989481_7455128767686402340_n

Anyway,  Dresden was fantastic. I made the decision two hours after we got off the train that I would spend my last week or so there. I think I would stay forever if I could. It is large, but everyone is calm and happy. Saturday evening, friends and I hung out by the Elbe and just talked. It was so peaceful. Sunday we walked around New Town and saw some amazing graffiti and then we played in the fountain. There were also naked children in the fountain.

Cultural Difference: On hot days, there are often naked children in the fountains. Its just a thing.
There are not a lot of huge differences, I have found, between American and German culture. The longer I am here though the more I notice that there are a ton of small differences though. For example:
-Going to a restaurant takes at least a couple hours. There is no such thing as speedy service.
-Smiling at strangers is not a thing (oops)
-Everyone is Bilingual and more than willing to help you in whatever language they can speak
-Bikes are a serious form of transportation.
-There is no such thing as free water or restroom usage
-Air conditioning....not really a thing.
I am hoping that my next post, I will be able to do partly in German. My class has been one of the hardest I have ever had, but I am learning a ton. I can already write sentences! Things are fantastic.  10527731_826380080705938_3938048690576768107_n
^^My score was only 5 but, I made words!

The World Is Round?

I have officially been in Germany for a week now and I have so much to tell!

But First:

Germany won the World Cup! This had to be the coolest, most adrenaline filled moment of my trip- and I have had some pretty exciting moments.  Some friends and I watched the semi final game between Germany and Brasil. After the first goal, we started muting the television because outside my roommates and my window there was an eruption of cheers and honking horns. When German won, the party outside seemed to go on until the sun rose.  The Final game was going to be fantastic.

The day of the game, a large group of us  went to the Brandenburg Gate to watch the game. We didn’t leave until like 5, so of course we didn’t make it into the closed off area. However, we did get to see hundreds of people cloaked in red, yellow, and black, marching and yelling and singing while waiting outside the gate. There were so many people who were bound together on that day by that sport. Everyone was a friend and everyone was excited.

We ended up watching the game at a small cafe miles from the gate. Even this small place was packed. Many people were standing, and we were squeezed into a corner in the back.  I would walk outside every couple moments and the streets would be completely deserted.

When Germany won, the entire country exploded. People were hanging out of their cars yelling,  and car horns were blaring. People were jumping and singing all over the place. I went to bed to the sound of partying outside my window.

Today, Berlin welcomed the winning team home. Thousands of people could be seen walking to the Brandenburg Gate. The flags and Germany colors are starting to disappear though.

One important thing I have learned this last week is the meaning of German pride. I’ve been on a ton of tours this last week- Berlin, Cold War, Jewish Life, and Sachsenhausen concentration camp. one thing thing that all the guides had in common to say was how odd it was for them (being mostly middle-aged) to see Germans waving a German flag. As an American, it is hard for me to understand collective guilt of ones country. While America has done atrocious things,  I still feel patriotic towards my country and I still feel as though I have a right to wave a flag if I want and sing my national anthem whenever- I mean, I didn’t do anything, right? Many Germans though, feel that patriotism and nationalism are synonymous with one another and that flags are inappropriate. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it makes me upset with myself for being connected to something so flimsy as a symbol and a song. On the other hand, it makes me appreciative that I’ve been able to grow up without feeling responsibility for my countries past wrong-doings. Maybe collective  responsibility is a truer form of patriotism than worshiping a flag. I don’t know :/


My computer died and I am currently using a friends. Unfortunately, I cannot upload my pictures on this computer, but I will post again with lots of pics soon!


Schinkel, Schinkel, Little Star…

So much has happened already! Please excuse the jumbled mess of this post. My brain is still scrambled from all the things ive seen and learned the last few days.


My first experience travelling overseas was....interesting.

I arrived at Jacksonville International Airport at 11 am. My flight did not leave until 2pm, so already, I would have a long wait. Then my flight was delayed almost 2 hours, meaning I would probably miss my connector flight- where I would meet up with Regine (German professor) and many of the students going on the trip. I didn’t really mind the long wait. Being alone in an airport is one of my favorite feelings; however, I was not excited about possibly having to wait a whole extra day before arriving in Berlin. Luckily, by the time I got my carryon and made it of the plane, I had 10 minutes to catch a shuttle to the terminal and find my gate. I made it with 5 minutes to spare.

The plane ride was interesting. I have never been on one that big before, or that showed movies. Unfortunately, this combined with my leftover anxiety about catching the flight, meant I would not sleep on the 7 hour plane ride. Jet-lag would get the best of me.

Being awake the whole flight also meant I was one of the only people awake when the plane flew over Ireland. I was SO excited. I wanted to look out the window SO bad, but I was afraid of waking up other passengers.

By the time we landed in Berlin, I was a zombie. I could not grasp that it was actually 8 in the morning- let alone that I was in a foreign country.

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We had a tour of Berlin. Our tour guide was fantastic and I learned a lot about Germany during the cold war. Im super excited to learn more history!

Also, its only been 3 days but I have learned so much of the language already. This is very surprising to me because I studied spanish for a long time and had some wonderful teachers but I never quite made it to an advanced level. I have always had trouble with languages- english included; but a few days here and I already know my numbers, days of the week, colors, how to conjugate some verbs, and some key phrases. For the first time, I feel like I can actually learn a language.

In my next post, I will hopefully be able to get more in depth with what actually happened my first couple days. For now, here are some photos:

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One More Day…

Daytona Beach, FL

Daytona Beach, FL

In less than 24 hours, I will be on my way to Germany! I am SO excited and nervous! I have spent this first half of my summer with family in Daytona Beach, so it feels extra surreal that Im not just packing up to go back to Nashville.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’m nervous. I suppose traveling somewhere new is suppose to be nerve racking, but Im just so excited to see my friends- those going on the trip and those living in Germany. I have nothing but happy feelings. The only concern I have at the moment is how im ever going to go back home after such an amazing few months. I am truly blessed.

Also, one thing this trip has already taught me to do-plan. Who knew drawing supplies would weigh so much?