I arrived in Munich, Germany on a chilly, quiet morning of September 25th, 2017. As soon as I landed, I felt that this place, Munich, is full of life, history and culture. Munich is often referred to as the Millionendorf, which means “a village with a million inhabitants.” Truly, as I was riding through the Autobahn from the airport to my study abroad program office, I was able to see a lot of historical sites existing among modern, 21st century buildings.
Although I did not face severe culture-shock, the process of adjusting to life here was not easy. Here in Munich, I am living in a mini-apartment in the apartment complex called Studentenstadt. This is actually my first time living alone, which means this is my first time handling all of the responsibilities of a “proper” adult. From preparing healthy meals to buying cleaning supplies, the first week of living in Munich has made me grow a great deal. It has taught me that living in the real world can be challenging but has many rewards.
Even though I am able to speak and understand the German language proficiently, I still faced some level of language barrier when I shopped for groceries or asked for directions. This is because the locals have a different dialect than what we were taught in German class, which is Hochdeutsch or high-German. This really helped me in the way I perceived the people and culture of Germany. It made me realize that even in the same country, completely different cultures can coexist.
As millennials, we take a lot of things for granted. We expect things like wireless Internet to be available everywhere. We are so used to having these things at our fingertips that they become a part of us. When I first arrived here, my apartment had no internet connectivity. Living without luxuries like WiFi, even for just a week, made me realize how privileged we, Westerners, are. It made me more humble and I realized that there is more to life than the Web. I believe that not having WiFi for a few days gave me several advantages. Because I was forced to not spend all of my time on my social media accounts, I actually stepped out of my comfort zone and met new people, started having conversations in German and learned to do new things. Overall, I have been extremely happy with my first two weeks in Germany, and feel that I have gained new perspectives.