Christmas markets, Ludwig Beck, magnificent an historic churches, cathedrals and breath-taking architectures. All of these elements make up the beautiful and historic square of Munich’s Marienplatz. When I first stepped foot on this street, I was in awe. Everything I heard of in stories and read about in history seemed to appear in this magnificent square. From the medieval design of the Alte Rathaus to the 21st century shopping centers like Zara and H&M, Marienplatz offers the best of both worlds- ancient and modern. From learning about legends about the fish fountain to listening to an amazing saxophone player, tourists are always walking through this iconic square taking in everything it has to offer. And according to various data, Munich is one of the most well-off cities in Europe, as Marienplatz portrays the social status of the city’s residents.
However, there is a side of walking through this street that often goes unnoticed. There were several times, when I walked around the Marienhof and I would see young men and women who are homeless and begging for whatever they could get. Once a little boy in ragged clothing tugged at my jeans and asked me, “Help my mommy.” It is really heartbreak and mind boggling to see people who are in these situations in one of the wealthiest cities of the world. I just feel that this is often overlooked in study abroad advertising.
Obviously, I don’t want people to get the wrong message behind this blog. The reason I am writing this is because to give an idea of everything that one can expect to experience during studying or living abroad. And I feel that it is important to understand that there is suffering everywhere. Even the wealthiest, most elegant cities will have a darker, more depressing side of society and it is important for people to acknowledge it and try to contribute to the solution. The key is to know that one can’t ignore the problems of society anywhere.