Bremen Up Till Now

By Noah Salsich ’25

I have had an amazing time in Bremen so far! I am a junior who studies political science and environmental studies as my majors and have a German minor. I am studying in the Dickinson in Bremen program only for this semester, as last semester I studied in New Zealand.

When I arrived, I started my intensive language school prior to starting up normal classes at the University of Bremen. Spring DiB students come in February to take two language classes and to set up our visas and other logistics, which helped get me adjusted. I took my class with about 10 other students who were mostly aspiring Uni students or planning to work in Germany. I made some great connections there and enjoyed practicing my German with people in the same boat as me. I am now in my fifth week of classes at the University Bremen, and I love it. My classes are really interesting, and I’m taking a great mix of courses on environmental policy and political inequality, all of which go deeper into subjects that I wouldn’t be able to learn about at Dickinson.

One of the main things I love about living in Bremen is the independence and the ability to explore and live in such a great city as Bremen. The public transportation in this city is very efficient and accessible, and I am able to get to know the city and really make it feel like home. An area of the city is somewhat of an arts district and there are great cafés along the water and shops to visit. I am also fond of the climbing gym in the city, so I have places I know well.

I also have just loved speaking to and being around Germans. It is a special type of feeling to have someone ask you a question at a bus stop and be able to answer them, or to have a conversation in passing with your classmate. Making friends or talking with strangers in German and then zooming out to realize what I just did makes me so happy. I think it is also important to mention culture shock. Due to my experience abroad last semester, I was more comfortable living on my own in another country, and was already somewhat familiar with how culture shock might feel. But that type of thing is hard to predict, especially because this time I would be speaking and surrounded by a foreign language. Culture shock did hit me differently here because although New Zealand is just about the farthest I could have gone from PA, it is an English-speaking country and has been very much influenced by the UK, so it wasn’t that much of an adjustment. In Bremen, I have had to adjust a lot more. But dealing with that change has been a great learning experience, and I’ve learned a lot about how to handle it. One of the biggest ways I deal with it is through humor and awareness. I try to be cognizant that it isn’t something that fully goes away, and try to laugh at the mistakes I make and keep moving, it’s part of the experience. Even normal things like grocery shopping take me longer. Like in the US, a lot of daily products have minor differences that are hard to discern for a foreigner, and it once took me three different tries to buy the right type of cream. My flatmates have a joke that whenever I go shopping, it’s pretty much guaranteed I will buy something wrong. It’s those type of things that are just part of it, and I find fun.

All in all, it has been great, and I will treasure my time here.

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