What I Will Miss: Part OneEuropean Union, Fall 2011

As I sit here, attempting to process the fact that I’m leaving Germany tomorrow, it seems an appropriate time to start compiling the list of what I’ll miss.

First, I will miss the city of Freiburg in general. I will always remember the gorgeous town center. I had no idea a McDonalds could be so scenic, but in Freiburg even the golden arches somehow look European. According to IES statistics, on average students return to their study abroad cities 8 to 9 times over the course of their lives, and I look forward to regressing to that mean.

Second, the travelling aspect of this program will be difficult to recreate. Travelling to some of the coolest cities in Europe with 54 great friends has easily been the highlight of my study abroad experience. I definitely appreciate Europe on a whole different level, and I’m sure all of us will travel Europe again in the near future. However, I will greatly miss being able to appreciate the wonder of each new city with such a large group of like minded students.

Third, I will miss the random German interactions. These are really tough to specify, but have been such a positive aspect of this semester. It’s the patient laughter of the bakery employees as we struggle to order pretzels, or those moments where a roommate takes a polite greeting way too seriously (how is it going or see you later come to mind). One of my most triumphant moments since being here was when the owner of the bratwurst stand I frequented (read: obsessed over) gave me a 50 cent discount. As my eyes teared up with gratitude and his warm expression embraced me as a son, I knew I had made it in Freiburg. Also, while I am entirely indifferent to sports, I will miss the boundless fervor Germans (and all Europeans) have for soccer. Walking into a restaurant and hearing half the patrons scream over a goal is an awesomely common experience, and hearing people sing the 15 to 20 fight songs on the way to each game is inspiring.

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