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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Traveling Abroad in Germany

Train+Station
Train Station

 I awoke refreshed after a night of exploring a little of Frankfurt. I had German beer and tried Canadian Poutine then returned to my hotel room to watch The Big Bang Theory in German. My stomach rumbled with hunger as I made my way downstairs for breakfast. There was sliced meat such as salami, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, and breads. This was a simple continental German breakfast. I ate lightly because I was so nervous. I glanced around the hotel, basking in the fact I had actually acted on my desires. I was here. I was in Germany.

The sun was bright. The exterior of the train station a neoclassical and Neo-Renaissance style. It screamed Europe to me. The statues were mythological; Atlas, a Titan, holding the world on his shoulders for eternity stood on top of the station. I squinted my eyes as I glanced upward once more making my way inside. I had to figure out where the McDonald’s was, which was the meeting point for the University of Kassel coordinators and other students. It was strange to me that I was in Germany, meeting in front of a very American cultural icon, but after I thought about it, it made sense. The yellow and red is pretty easy to spot in a crowded, unfamiliar train station.

Slowly, I inched my way closer, noticing the other students glancing around unsure if they were in the right place their expressions reflecting my churning insides. I eased myself closer to a tall girl with blondish hair, smiling sheepishly I said, “Hi, University of Kassel?”

She visibly sighed with relief, her shoulders loosening from their tenseness. With an Australian accent she replied, “Yes.” As we spoke, the other students began to form a circle and we began to introduce each other, all laughing how we weren’t sure we were at the right McDonald’s. All of us with our bags at our feet, laughing, talking about what we learned in the countries we studied in. Most of the group was from Australia and Wisconsin at this point.

A gaggle of people walked toward us, some with lanyards around their neck. They were the coordinators and the students they had picked up at the airport. They introduced themselves and then herded us to the train. For the next two hours, we got to know each other. There were now students from Taiwan, Saudia Arabia, Brazil, Laos, Russia, Japan Singapore, China, Canada, and a few more. This was exhilarating! Meeting all these people from other countries. We would be learning together, getting to know each other, and expanding our own cultural experience. This is what studying abroad is all about!

I was still nervous. I couldn’t help but remember that I was a much older student masquerading as a young person. No one seemed to care when I shared my age and they all welcomed me with open arms. I would spend many waking hours with some of these people. I would make new, strong friendships and have new places to add to my bucket list to visit. I pushed aside my reservations and joined in on the conversations.

I was too excited to sleep. The train was so comfortable; its condition so much better than the commuter rail I had ridden for years in Boston. I would learn that public transportation can be much better than what I had become accustomed to. I basked in the diversity I was surrounded by in the train car on our way to Kassel, Germany where we would meet our host families!