One of my favorite things about Hopkins is Intersession. I have taken Intersession courses every year that I’ve been here because I love it and there’s no reason not to do it. My freshman and sophomore year, I took classes on campus and did research, always arriving on the first day that I was allowed to come back. Each time, it feels like a resurgence in my independence after spending several weeks at home. It’s all of the fun of college without any of the stress of classes (as most Intersession courses are 1 credit and graded S/U), and I look forward to it every year.

This year, I started to get a little restless, and I decided to do something a bit different. Since my trip to Israel last summer, I’ve been really anxious to go abroad more, but my coursework doesn’t lend itself to spending a semester abroad. This situation could be ameliorated in two ways — Intersession and summer. While I worked on applications for this summer, Intersession seemed fairly straightforward. There was a short application and a few pre-departure meetings, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Germany on January 10th.

The class I took was called Collective Memory and Memorial Sites and was tough by Dr. Hanno Balz, a visiting professor through the German Academic Exchange Service. His research focus is on contemporary German history, particularly Nazi Germany and the persecution of Jewish Germans. Intersession classes abroad are quite different from those that happen on campus. For starters, this class was 3 credits and could not be taken S/U. We spent the first week in Bremen, where our professor is actually from, and then we traveled to Berlin for the second week. We spent all of our days taking historic guided tours, visiting memorial sites, important historical venues, and museums. We also got to explore the nightlife in Bremen and Berlin, and we ate incredible food every day.

Two weeks seems like a short amount of time, but it isn’t when every day is jam packed with activities, seminars, and incredible memories. It’s difficult to put into words everything we did and saw. As I write this blog jet lagged and wide awake at 7AM, I’m realizing that the only way to explain everything I experienced is through photos.

Jan. 11: Historic Tour of Bremen


Bremen Town Hall


Bremen Historic Cathedral

Jan. 12: Walking Tour and Wine Cellar Tour


First “Stolpersteine” or stumbling stone I saw, used to memorialize the last place where a Holocaust victim willingly lived


“Schatzkammer”, or treasure chest, of very old wine at Bremer Ratskeller, an old wine cellar

Jan. 13: Bremerhaven Immigration Museum


Willy Brandt Platz, Bremerhaven Harbor


Julia holding hands with a mannequin in the immigration museum

Jan. 14: Town Hall and Colonial Heritage Tour


Cookie the size of my face and I loved it so much


Me and Riley at the colonial heritage monument


Stained glass in Bremen Town Hall

 Jan. 15: Bunker Valentin


Bunker Valentin


Snowy beach, adjacent to the bunker

Jan. 16: Arrival in Berlin and Reichstag Tour


Brandenburg Gate


The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe


Candid shot of Riley in the air in front of the Reichstag building


Parliament Room

Jan. 17: Topography of Terror Museum


First Käsespätzle

Jan. 18: Tour of Olympia Stadium


Home of the 1936 Olympics


Seats over 70,000 people

Jan. 19: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp


Sachsenhausen is an hour outside of Berlin


Extremely popular kebab stand that also has vegetarian food

Jan. 20: Exploring Berlin


Riley and Christine in a very heavily graffitied building


Graffitied door that I loved


Large bison stuffed animal in a Berlin mall

Jan. 21: Last night out and about in Berlin


The squad ready to roll out


Gave up on the night out for falafel, didn’t get a picture before half of it was already eaten

Jan. 22: East Side Gallery


Retro photo booths all over Berlin, we failed miserably


Thierry Noir’s Berlin wall masterpiece and the squad

Jan. 23: Last seminar and Checkpoint Charlie


There is a museum for currywurst, which was the theme of our trip.


Last Käsespätzle

Jan. 24: Flight home


No person in the middle seat on our 7 hour flight!


Get me home please.