Entry 10, Berlin Seminar

Anna Miesner, Writer

So much has happened since the last time I wrote an entry. After I got back from Leipzig things calmed down in my school as the twelfth grade started preparing for their Abitur, or final exam. On May 8. my host family and I visited the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and Weimar for mothers day. 

The front gate of the Buchenwald concentration camp with the statement “Jedem das seine” or “to each their own”

It felt haunting to walk through the camp and listen to the birds chirp and the bees buzz whilst learning about the atrocities that occurred there. Every corner of the camp was filled with information, and I particularly enjoyed the museum which held artifacts from the camp, as well as countless first-hand accounts from survivors. The memorials inside and outside of the camp were also very beautiful, the surrounding grounds were huge and we, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to see them all. 

After that we headed to Weimar and spent an hour sightseeing, visiting famous locations such as the writer Goethe’s House. I had to read one of his most famous books, Faust, in my German class, which was the cause of many headaches over German poetry. But I have to admit he had good taste, and his garden was very beautiful.

Towards the end of May, I traveled to Berlin with the other exchange students in my program. Our other meeting had been held online so this was the first time we had gotten to meet since the program had started. I really loved being with my fellow exchange students, and it was so easy to talk to them. We had all been through the same exchange year and would gladly spend hours exchanging stories with them.

A photo from inside the memorial

The seminar lasted five days, starting on Wednesday, and we spent the whole first day traveling to Berlin and preparing for our meeting with the German Bundestag.

Thursday we visited the Memorial to the Murder Jews of Europe, and then the Reichstag Building. We watched the congressional speeches taking place in the plenary chamber, then followed by a Q&A with congressional members. Then we visited the Reichstag Dome and had a quick meeting with the Bundestag President.

We spent the following day free reign to explore Berlin. I spent most of that day chatting with fellow CBYXers and exploring the city, stopping every once in a while to visit places such as the Humboldt Museum. 

The last days of the seminar were bittersweet. We spent the rest of those days in the youth hostel attending seminars over what our last month in Germany would look like. It feels weird that as I’m writing this, I’ll be leaving in less than a month. It was also hard to say goodbye to all the exchange students and program leaders, knowing I wouldn’t see some of them again, at least not for a while. 

After the seminar things started to wind down again, and now I’m just trying to enjoy my time in Germany. Before I return to Kansas I will spend a couple of days in D.C attending an end of the year seminar with the other exchange students. Before we fly home we’ll get the chance to tour D.C and hopefully meet with our State Representative. 

I will post more details about the seminar at the end of this month. 

Until then,