Making FriendsBerlin-Metropolitan, Fall 2009

An important part of life is having friends; I do not think that anyone would argue with that statement. An important part of having friends is having friends with varying backgrounds and interest. While I am in Berlin I thought it important to make German friends. Yes, it is easier to only have American friends but that make ones time in Berlin less fulfilling. I am in Berlin not to be comfortable but learn and experience new and different things. Making German friends is a part of that new and different experiences for me. The first month I was too overwhelmed by the city to invest serious time in making German friends. It was not until the second month that I put in serious effort into getting to know the people of Berlin. The first German friends that I made were through IES. IES has this great program called student mentors. The student mentors are students from Humboldt University. They are hired by IES to hang out with the IES students and take us to cool places that tourist do not know about. One of the mentors who I have become friends with has shown me my favorite bars, taken me to play soccer and taken me out to parties. While he is a great guy I wanted to make some friends on my own. The first friend I made on my own is not from Berlin or even Germany; he is from Denmark. I met him in a bar. He is a graphic designer here in Berlin, speaks English and is very easy going. Through him I met his roommate and now have plans to play basketball with them. The next set of friends I made in Berlin, I met through lacrosse. My friends through lacrosse are native Berliners. They are athletic guys who are friendly and outgoing. They have taught me a lot about Berlin and what it has to offer. I have also made other friends on the U- Bahn, at clubs as well as on the street. What I have learned about making friends here is that in order to make friends one needs to shallow their pride, not be afraid of embarrassing themselves and talk to everyone. People are just like you and me. While there are some people who I will not get along with, I will not know of my incompatibility until I take the time to find out why we do not get along. Making new friends is a skill that I am still trying to get better at doing. I have found however, that my time in Berlin has made me more outgoing and, in general, better at making friends. I hope to not only carry my improved ability of making friends back to the States, but also to use it to make more friends in Berlin.
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