Offices Closing for Winter Break

NYU’s Office of Global Programs and Office of Global Services, as well as most other departments around NYU, will be closed for the winter break starting at 4pm EST on Friday, December 23rd. We will reopen on Wednesday, January 4th at 9am EST.  Both the Office of Global Programs and the Office of Global Services will not be monitoring voicemail or emails during this time.

We understand that questions may come up while our office is closed – if so, please use the “Search” tool within this blog to see if we have covered it already (in many cases, we have!). This blog is meant to be your main resource of things to know and do regarding Berlin, and can continue to assist in answering your questions even when we are not available.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes this Holiday Season!

 

Mail from Berlin: St. Agnes

image-1  While most of NYU Berlin’s classes will be held at the Academic Center in the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, classes in the arts and photography are taught at NYU Berlin’s second Academic Center at St. Agnes in Kreuzberg. In our large and sunny studio space, you will be able to realize ambitious projects, while the building also features two additional seminar rooms, a computer lab, and printing facilities for you to use. But of course, you will also be able to rely on the expertise of our St. Agnes staff, Katrin Dettmer and Karen Welsch.

katrinkarenKatrin is the Arts Coordinator for NYU Berlin and your guide to Berlin’s varied and exciting art scene. During the spring semester, she coordinates the Tisch Special Program, Stanislavsky, Brecht, and Beyond, which offers an integrated approach to actor training. But throughout the year, Katrin organizes theater visits as well as Q&As with actors, directors, and dramaturgs in Berlin, as she also teaches a class on 20th century German theater. At St. Agnes, Katrin is your point of contact for art projects and specifically the end of semester exhibition, which showcases student work from various art classes.

Karen is NYU Berlin St. Agnes Campus Coordinator and in this role her responsibilities include providing administrative, organizational and technical support for NYU Berlin faculty, staff, and students, coordinate classroom and space reservations for meetings, art exhibitions and other events, and to work closey with the facility manager to ensure the center is well maintained. Karen holds a MA degree in North American studies, English Literature and Marketing from Paderborn University. She has lived in and travelled to such wonderful places as Tanzania, Scotland and the United States and is looking forward to be part of the students’ Berlin experience.

image-3As you can see in the photographs, the entire complex is defined by its striking architecture. It was designed by German architect Werner Düttmann to originally house a Catholic Church. Built from 1964 to 1967, St. Agnes is still heralded as a hallmark of Brutalist architecture in Berlin. Over the years, the complex had fallen into disrepair. But in 2011, gallery owner Johann König acquired it and decided to reinvent the neglected heritage-listed space as a gallery and exciting cultural hub. After enlisting architect Arno Brandlhuber, König began a careful renovation and set about transforming the brute into a beauty.

The premises, which are very closely located to the Student Residence, now also host the beautiful, luminous König Gallery and a small café called ThemRoc. The film below will give you a wonderful first impression of our second site:

Mail from Berlin: Meet Not One but Two SPCs

Soon you will be wandering the halls of the NYU Berlin Academic Center (AC). There you will encounter a number of people, some of whom you have already read about on this blog. Some of them you will meet on a daily basis, some work a little bit more behind the scenes. Among the latter is the operations team, of which Dominik and Lygia are part. Coincidentally, both their job titles get abbreviated to “SPC”, which might or might not be the reason why they are at times considered to be two aspects of the same person.

Dominik especially enjoys behind-the-scene work, as he has a background in theater (though he also quite likes the limelight, he would admit if pressed). Despite his affinity to shadowy work he might in fact be among the first NYU Berlin staffers you will meet, since he will be welcoming everybody who is coming into Tegel Airport on arrival day, January 23. When he is not spending a busy day at an airport, Dominik is responsible for coordinating Summer Programs in Berlin and J-Terms. As such, he will have just taken care of a group from NYU Abu Dhabi visiting Berlin for three weeks in January just before you land. Summers at NYU Berlin are even busier, as each year between June and August, different NYU schools send programs to Berlin. Their duration and the programming of each program vary as much as the city itself.

Lygia ilygias considered by many to be the person without whom the Academic Center would grind to a halt. Her responsibilities are more numerous than this blog would allow for but suffice it to say that from a growing role in accounting, to the selection of furni
ture or the smooth running of events, she has had at least a hand in it.

Sometimes, you will notice neither one for days, sometimes the two of them seem to all over the AC. You might come into a seminar room and Lygia or Dominik (or, if things get really tricky, both of them) will be there, setting up a piece of equipment, repairing computers, linking printers, connecting microphones, making their form of magic happen. If you have a problem, and if you need to find them, pay a visit to the Operations Office which Lygia shares with André, our Finance and Operations Manager. Or come by the Office of Administration where Dominik sits, most of the time joined by other colleagues, like a member of the ResLife staff on rotation in the AC.

Lygia and Dominik also share the position of GRI coordinator. The Global Research Institute’s space in Berlin is on the fourth floor of the Academic Center, overlooking the rooftops of Prenzlauer Berg, where the SPCs also have a desk. Up to dominik11 fellows can stay in the beautiful offices up on the fourth floor to do research on their dissertation or faculty project. The GRI floor also hosts conferences and special lectures on some evenings over the semester. These are also occasions for you to come up there and get a next-level viewpoint of the Kulturbrauerei. At other times, GRI fellows will join you on the first and second floor for lectures and seminars during the day.

No matter in what role you might need either of them, both Lygia and Dominik will be more than happy to help you make the most of your stay in Berlin and are looking forward very much to meeting each and every one of you.

 

Mail from Berlin: Meet NYU Berlin’s German Department

Liebe Studenten/innen!

To be at home – zu Hause sein. How does it feel to be at home in a new city, a new country, a new world? How can you make a new place your “home”?

At the NYU Berlin German Language Department, we strongly believe that learning a language is the most important tool when building a relationship with the city and its residents. Every semester, we are surprised, excited and, in the end, so happy to see how our students have managed to make Berlin their new home. Right now, we are planning YOUR German program for the upcoming Spring 2017 semester to support you as you learn and deepen your knowledge of the German language.

Fernandas Traumhaus – Fernandas Dream House; Intensive Elementary

Fernandas Traumhaus – Fernandas Dream House; Intensive Elementary

The German Program at NYU Berlin stands on two pillars: required German courses and a wide range of additional extracurricular language offerings, which are very helpful and fun. We offer German courses on all levels. You can take Elementary I & II, Intermediate I & II, Intensive Elementary, Intensive Intermediate, and post intermediate German language courses. As you can see below, the courses (and our students) are very creative.

Learning prepositions:

olivia

Olivia; Intensive Elementary

 

Intensive Elementary with Miriam Führer

Intensive Elementary with Miriam Führer

Learning the Body Parts:

Sam; Elementary I

Sam; Elementary I

As additional extracurricular language activities we offer

Tutorials for German Language Courses
NYU Berlin offers language-tutoring services for all German courses.

German Stammtisch
There’s no better way to improve your everyday German than by engaging with native speakers. German Stammtisch offers not only that, but also the chance to explore some of Berlin’s greatest cafés and restaurants!

Tandem-Exchange
What’s the best way to practice your German outside of the classroom? Find a tandem partner and chat, chat, chat!

 

Student Voices
Here is what our students have to say on the extracurricular activities that complement the classroom-based language learning:

Kyle, Intensive Elementary, on tutorials…
Kandice’s tutorials and tutoring sessions are extremely helpful! It’s great having her available for tutoring because we are able ask her questions and get more individualized attention specified around the areas we feel we need help in. It is also great to have different ways to think about/tackle new subjects or rules within the German language or just to ensure that there is clarity with the material covered in class. Test tutorials are extremely helpful because they tie up everything we’ve covered into a few pages and include descriptive examples and exercises that we can use to better assess if we are prepared for the upcoming test. I really recommend using Kandice’s services, even if just to practice. It’s extremely helpful.

Braden, Intensive Intermediate, and Kyle, Intensive Elementary, on German Stammtisch…
I love going to Stammtisch. It provides both a place to practice my German and a place to relax with friends, usually over food or drinks. Everyone is very accepting no matter what your German level is, and speaking even just a little German totally boosts your confidence with the language. When I came to Germany I knew VERY little German. Stammtisch has not only helped me learn German, it’s helped me learn German how people actually speak it. It can also be a good way to learn new parts of the city; I know personally I’ve discovered a few new good restaurants through Stammtisch. Overall, I am incredibly pleased with my Stammtisch experience and would suggest it to pretty much everyone planning to come to NYU Berlin.              

 I really like going to Stammtisch! Not only do I get to practice what I’ve learned outside of the classroom but it allows me to practice regular conversation. Minh Thi and Rega are phenomenal – they really help create an atmosphere where we can talk with each other and make mistakes in a completely judge-free zone. My highlight would have to be my very first Stammtisch meeting at Hans Im Glück. Funny story- I was able to order my meal completely in German but then I had to switch to English to ask where the rest room was! I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to have a good time and eat lots of food at restaurants in Berlin while practicing German.

Raphael, German Tandem partner, Student at Free University Berlin on the Tandem-Exchange…
Having taken part in the tandem program four times, I have met fascinating and intelligent young people from the U.S. and elsewhere; and have exchanged ideas, interests, knowledge and cultural differences while having a coffee or a beer. I have been very lucky and fortunate to meet and make a very good American friend through this program. When I went to the U.S. last summer and visited NY, I was able to stay with him and his loveable, hospitable and amazing family for a couple of days and experienced the incredible American friendship and hospitality first-hand. This year, he is going to return to Germany with his family and I will have the chance to return that hospitality and friendship, which I’m very excited about!

 Toma, Intensive Intermediate on the Tandem Program
Once, a professor told me: “The best way to learn a language is to find a lover….” That might take some time to happen, but signing up for the tandem program is a great way not only to learn and practice German, but also to be introduced to Germany. I signed up spontaneously and somehow hesitantly. However, I quickly realized that this was a unique chance to make my first German friend here in Berlin.

 When I went to our first meeting and we introduced ourselves to each other, my tandem partner was curious to learn about my home city. Coming from a small town in Bulgaria, I was sure she would have never heard of it. But it turned out to be just the opposite as my tandem partner did her study abroad semester in a nearby town and had visited mine. It was a great coincidence that gave us a head start on getting to know each other. However, I think the main factor for the success of your tandem experience is being proactive, especially in the beginning.  Many of the Germans participating in the program are local students or young people who are busy with both work and studying. Thus, it is important to make that first step and reach out, introduce yourself and initiate the first meeting.

 My tandem partner and I meet every few weeks or sometimes even more often if there is an event happening that we are both interested in. I found it really helpful to have this first local acquaintance, as I was very new to Berlin and Germany. Indeed, the tandem program is not only a way to practice language, but also introduces you to the community you are living in. Furthermore, if you want to go beyond the usual touristy experience and explore the hidden places of Berlin, your tandem partner might be your best opportunity to do this.  Signing up for this program is one of the best decisions I have made here. From the beginning of my stay, I felt comfortable knowing that there is a person I could talk to when I needed an advice or simply when I wanted to leave the international environment and really immerse myself in the local culture and language. 

Instructor Voices: Meet Julia Buchholz, who teaches Intermediate Level!

NYU Berlin: Julia, you’re one of the German language instructors at NYU Berlin. What have you studied and how did you come to NYU Berlin?

Julia: Oh… that’s quite a long story. After finishing high school, I started thinking about where my strengths lie and what my personal interests are. What I knew for certain at that time was that I wanted to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. And so I eventually decided to major in translation, with Korean and Chinese as my first and second foreign languages, and to minor in business management and translation studies at the University of Bonn. Since I couldn’t speak either of those languages at that time, I had to learn both from the ground up and began practicing through tandem exchanges with fellow students from Korea and China. In 2002, I traveled to Korea as an exchange student for the first time and fell in love with the country and culture so much that I began contemplating ways to return and live and work there for a while after completing my studies. This led me to take on additional studies in Teaching German as a Foreign Language as I thought it would be enriching to not only mediate language and culture through texts, but also in the classroom.

In my opinion, timing and luck play an important role in life. And so it came to be that in 2007 I was given the wonderful opportunity to teach German for three years in the Department of German Language Education at Seoul National University’s College of Education. Having arrived back in Germany afterwards, married and with my Korean husband by my side, we first moved to Hamburg and then, in the summer of 2012, to Berlin. Timing again played an important roll. I’d already heard about NYU in Korea from a DAAD lector who had previously taught at NYU’s Deutsches Haus and also had an acquaintance who taught at NYU. And so I applied to NYU Berlin and was able to begin as a tutor in 2012. In the following semester, I took on my own course.
NYU Berlin: Which level are you currently teaching? How do you organize your course? And what do you like about teaching?

Julia: At the moment, I teach Intermediate I and Intermediate II. I enjoy teaching this level because the students can already express quite a lot in German. This allows us to deepen what has already been learned and to expand on it as the semester evolves.

In my courses, we deal with everyday topics that relate to the lives of the students: their experiences in Berlin and larger Germany, as well as current societal topics and the ways they shape German culture. In order to do so, we work on building our vocabularies and learn the necessary grammar. At the same time, I do my best to cater to different types of learners through diversified exercises, so that students can successfully learn the language and and have fun.

What I like the most about teaching is interacting with my students and getting to see how there is always a noticeable difference from the beginning to the end of the semester. And on top of that, I also learn so much each semester.

NYU Berlin: Do you have a message to all the new NYU Berliners?

Julia: I would like to tell all the new NYU Berliners to open their hearts and minds to the great experience of studying abroad. And, of course, to learning German! It will be lots of fun.

Tutor Voices: Meet Minh-Thi & Rega, our Stammtisch Facilitators!

 NYU Berlin: So Minh-Thi, Rega, you’ve been organizing the German Stammtisch for our NYU students for a few semesters now. Maybe you could briefly tell us a bit about yourself.

M&R: We are both medical students at the Charité here in Berlin. For us (Minh-Thi, 24, and Rega, 22), meeting new NYU students, showing them around Berlin, and conversing with them in German has always been such a great pleasure. That’s why we continue organizing the German Stammtisch.

NYU Berlin: How would you describe the Stammtisch meetings? What can students expect from the weekly meetings in the evenings?

M&R: The main goal is to combine practicing German and exploring Berlin. Once a week, typically Tuesdays from 8-10pm, all of us meet in a nice café or restaurant. The students get to meet new people, have fun, and improve their German over some delicious dinner or drinks. The German Stammtisch gives them a chance to apply their grammatical skills acquired in class to real-life situations. There are no rules on which topics to cover, we are very flexible and student’s wishes are always heard. The only rule is: Speaking German only! After all, this is the best way for students to improve their conversational German.

NYU Berlin: What’s your philosophy in regards to supporting students in learning German?

M&R: Learning by doing! This entails practice, practice and practice. What better way to do this than in a fun environment with cool people? We understand that some students, especially those in elementary German, might feel intimidated or shy to join the German Stammtisch. But worry not, we can assure you from experience that this never caused a problem and that all students had significantly improved their speaking skills by the end of the semester. That is of course, if they had regularly attended the German Stammtisch…

NYU Berlin: Do you have a special message for all of the new Berliners arriving in Spring 2017?

M&R: Be ready for a fantastic semester! The staff at NYU Berlin is phenomenal and will always do their best to make your stay pleasant and memorable. Almost like a second family away from home.

We are thrilled and cannot wait to see you all at the German Stammtisch!

And finally, convince yourself how much fun learning German can be. NYU Berlin students Matt Bond and Ian Korer produced this film as part of their class presentation: http://vimeo.com/82522149.

Ganz viele Grüße aus Berlin

Euer German Department der NYU Berlin!

Mail from Berlin: Welcome from Wellness!

Dear future NYU Berlin Students,

Very soon we will welcome you in Berlin. During your semester here you will learn about your host country’s culture, language, and history in a transnational context, but also challenge yourselves and grow academically, professionally, and personally. Berlin is fast and slow, old and new at the same time. The city is constantly reinventing itself and inspires the Berliners to do the same. A famous song by Paul Lincke praises the “Berliner Luft” – “Air of Berlin” – as the free spirit you can encounter here. So, hopefully Berlin’s energy will win you over.

As a new Berliner, you will need to actively reach out and participate in the Berlin community life to make new friends within and beyond the university community. Allow yourself the time and the energy that is needed to settle in and get comfortable with the new and unfamiliar culture as well as new sides of yourself. Studying abroad, you will develop a whole new skill set and the NYU Berlin staff is here to accompany and support you!

The on-site Wellness Counselor is one of your many resources at NYU Berlin. Those of you coming from NYU New York may know Wellness as the resource on 726 Broadway where one goes for emergencies, for counseling appointments, and for help when things really seem out of place. In Berlin, Wellness is this and much more. While we are, of course, there for you in times of crisis, our focus is on comprehensive and proactive support. For us Wellness promotes a healthy psychological life style similar to a healthy diet, sufficient exercise, or dental hygiene. It also supports the development of a broader skill set for shared support, guided reflection, and holistic leadership acquisition. Our first Wellness Counselor, Dr. Janice Abarbanel, coined the term “Emotional Passport” – a skill set for recognizing rising anxiety or shifting moods and having healthy capacities to disengage, regroup, and then return to one’s purpose or goals. Students carrying such will be more resilient and more capable in shifting cultures while retaining the capacity to focus on academic success. Once you are here, you will hear a lot more about Wellness support during orientation and how you can access Wellness for a broad range of concerns.

Remember: Studying away is not a journey one takes alone – it’s a guided process and you will be welcomed in Berlin by our enthusiastic staff. Bis bald in Berlin!

Introducing our Wellness Counselor Sara Zeugmann

sara

I was very happy to join the NYU Berlin team last year. Prior to the position at NYU Berlin, I worked at the Charité – University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, as Head of Clinical Psychology. I specialized in offering English speaking therapy to expats in Berlin in private practice and acted as a supervisor for the German Society of Behavioral Psychotherapy. I am also teaching psychotherapy at different schools and universities. My areas of expertise include the treatment of depression (acute and chronic) as well as bipolar disorders, stress management, anxiety and panic disorders, OCD, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders, personality and self-worth problems using CBT, mindfulness-based therapy, schema-therapy, and emotionally-focused techniques.

Breaking the taboo around mental health is very dear to me. Hence, promoting approachability of our services as well as a healthy life-style is one of my major goals.

My office is located in The Retreat on the second floor of the NYU Berlin Academic Center. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you. Please feel free to come by my office, even if just to introduce yourself or getting to know me. You can of course also e-mail me or call to make an appointment.

See you soon in Berlin!

Sara

Dr. Sara Zeugmann
Clinical Wellness Counselor
NYU Berlin
Schönhauser Allee 36, Haus 2 F
10435 Berlin
Germany
sara.zeugmann@nyu.edu
+49 (0) 30-290 291001

Mail from Berlin: Meet the NYU Berlin ResLife Team

Hello future Berliners!

We are Emma, Adam and Catharina—the Residential Life team at NYU Berlin. We are looking forward to introducing you to Berlin and to supporting you as you make the city and the site a “home away from home.”

Catharina von Bredow, Emma van Rossum, Adam Silow

Having lived, studied, and worked in multiple countries, we have a wealth of experience in adjusting to new environments. It’s exciting, at times challenging, and different for each one of us.

A bit more about us:

Emma is one of NYU Berlin’s Resident Assistants. Born in France to a French mother and an Argentinean father, she has lived and worked in France, Argentina, the U.S., and Germany. After completing an M.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies and an M.A. in Linguistics, she gained experience both in education and in the cultural sector. After several stays abroad and as a former international student, she is very excited to help students adjust to their new life in Berlin.

Adam recently joined the NYU Berlin team as an RA. Unable to stay put, Adam has lived in 4 different states, including Arizona where he recently graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University with degrees in Global Studies and Economics. Adam studied issues of international development and foreign policy in places like Ghana and Washington, D.C.; nevertheless, after a semester abroad in Berlin, Adam fell in love with the city. He is excited to return to this thriving metropolis and help NYU Berlin students make the most out of their study abroad.

Catharina is NYU Berlin’s Residential Life Coordinator. Born in Northern Germany she moved to England to go to university. She holds a BA in International Business from the University of Brighton and a MA in Translation Studies from Heidelberg University. Countries she lived and worked over the last 18 years include England, Italy, Argentina, Paraguay, South Africa, and Kenya. Now, after many years of living abroad, Catharina has moved to Berlin and is delighted to use her first-hand experience of living and working in new destinations and different cultures to assist the students to settle into their new home away from home.

Once you arrive in Berlin and meet us in person, you will see that our roles are quite different from those of Resident Assistants at your home campuses. The three of us are full-time members of the NYU Berlin staff; together with Linn and Anne in the Student Life office, we’ll work with you to make your time in Berlin fun and enlightening. We’ll be available for chats about what to do in Berlin, homesickness or getting by in a foreign language, and we’ll organize recreational events for you. In past semesters we have picnicked in the park, visited a theatre, and organized some themed city walks. We’ll also be here to help with making doctor’s appointments and navigating the sea of German bureaucracy.

Foremost, we’re here as local resources as you discover Berlin and build a personal relationship with this amazing and exiting city.

We look forward to getting to know you.

Tschüss und bis bald!
Emma, Adam and Catharina

Required Orientation Vision Statement

All students who begin their first semester at NYU Berlin are required to attend all orientation events marked as “required” on the orientation schedule, which will be shared 1.5 weeks prior to arrival. Orientation takes place from January 23-27, 2017.

Our Orientation schedule reflects our awareness of the challenges students face when transitioning into a new environment as well as our respect of students’ time and energy. We thus design orientation week focusing on themes that cannot be communicated exclusively through student handbooks, webinars, or other off- and on-line resources. Orientation provides you with a background to the history of Germany and Berlin, including discussions on identity, diversity, and cosmopolitanism; on foreign policy, energy policy, and development aid; and on issues of historical responsibility and how it shapes present-day identity and action. As part of a comprehensive introduction to the histories and cultures of Germany and its capital, students will also acquire German language skills.

Attendance of all mandatory orientation sessions ensures that students are aware of and know how to access important resources so that they can excel academically, experience immersion, as well as contribute to keeping our communities safe. It includes registration with our partner university and the German authorities as well as education about the legal framework of your study away experience. Orientation will also familiarize you with the academic program and the community of lecturers.

The required orientation activities are complemented by a varied selection of optional events designed for small groups, such as film screenings, museum visits, and  events that engage the city, its spaces and communities.  German students and tandem partners participate in some of these events. We believe that, by forging together an authentically trans-cultural and inclusive community, we create opportunities for all of us to expand our ethical leadership skills and contribute in meaningful ways to our host society.

Make-Up Regulations Regarding Absences from Required Orientation Sessions:

Students who miss any aspect of the Academic Orientation are required to:

  • participate in a Make-Up Introduction to Berlin’s and Germany’s Past and Present, to be held on Saturday, January 28, 2017;
  • write a 500 word essay on the continuities and discontinuities of German history from 1800 to the present, drawing on assigned readings, and submit the assignment to the Site Director by Thursday, February 9, 2017.

Students who miss the Student Life & Wellness Orientation are required to:

  • participate in a Make-Up Orientation on Saturday, January 28, 2017;
  • contribute to the design and the delivery of the Transitions workshop, facilitated by Student Life and Wellness staff in May. This will involve a written storytelling exercise to be submitted to the Assistant Director for Student Life by March 20, 2017, as well as facilitation of part of the workshop. 

Mail from Berlin: Meet the Student Life Staff!

Student Life at NYU Berlin is about YOU – our ex-, current, and future Berliners. As part of a new generation of cosmopolitans, you are becoming experts in cultural, emotional, and even linguistic transitions. Coming to Berlin is part of this very exciting journey. We feel privileged to become your support group and your partners as you create new communities and tell your own Berlin story.

Linn Friedrichs, Assistant Director for Student Life

Linn Friedrichs, Assistant Director for Student Life

Linn Friedrichs, Assistant Director for Student Life

 

Anne: Linn, what is your Berlin story? And when did NYU Berlin become a part of it?

Linn: Like many others, I fell in love with Berlin because of its unforgiving yet engaging vibrancy, enriching diversity, and unique creative energy. I moved to the city for an internship with the government in 2004 and, completely enthralled by the magical summer atmosphere of this city, decided to never leave again. Since then, Berlin has become my emotional and intellectual home, a place that, while still in the process of negotiating and exploring its own identity, anchors and inspires me at the same time. I am a cultural studies practitioner, trained in North American Studies, Modern History, Political Science, and Philosophy, and interested in all aspects of transcultural communication and education. I taught primary and high school students from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood before I joined NYU Berlin in 2011. For me, education is at the heart of social transformation and the point of departure in all attempts to work towards a future vision of an inclusive, democratic society that welcomes new sources of creative and imaginative thinking. When my path crossed with NYU Berlin, I had found my match.

 

A: What makes NYU Berlin so special for you?

L: The passionate commitment to our shared vision, the hopeful spirit, the great sense of humor, and the family atmosphere. I see this in all members of our community; and hope it inspires our amazing students as much as it inspires me.

A: I know that you spent some time in New York. Has the Berlin Bear devoured the Big Apple or does the city still hold a special place in your heart?

L: Natürlich! My relationship with New York began as an academic love affair. I was a student in the city when in 2009 the first section of the High Line opened. In its formative stages, this project epitomized what I understood as the politics and poetics of urban space in the 21st century, community revitalization, and the urban power struggle. I was fascinated by the fact that, in a city like New York, this space had simply been forgotten for years. People wouldn’t see it, therefore they did not want to own, transform, or sell it. The High Line Park still offers very unusual perspectives on the city that surrounds it. Every time I come back, it is the place I visit to re-acquaint myself with the beautiful urban monster that is New York. I have said Hallo and Auf Wiedersehen to New York – my favorite places, friends, and colleagues – many times. It has been beautiful to discover that New York will always be home as well.

A: Our new Berliners will arrive in late January. While the Berlin summer is magical, even long-term Berliners struggle with the perpetual greyness of long winters. What are your recommendations for “cozy” introductions to the city?

L: Berlin has wonderful coffee shops, perfect places to warm your cold hands on a cup of hot chocolate and indulge in some waffles after browsing the flea markets with other brave Berliners, read, practice your German, or just people-watch. I enjoy Street Food Thursday at Markthalle IX, Sunday afternoons in Berlin’s museums, like Berlinische Galerie, just around the corner from the Student Residence, or catching a movie in one of the community cinemas, like Il Kino.

A: Just returning from our street art tour with students, I am wondering if you have a favorite piece in Berlin?

L: Berlin has graffiti on every corner. Berliners might disagree whether a particular piece is art, a form of protest, a trademark, or just an indicator of how gentrified an area has become. I liked what Blu did on the lot facing the former Senatsreservenspeicher building on Cuvrystraße: Two white figures representing East and West – one upside-down and brandishing an E-shape with his fingers, and the other a W – trying to tear each other’s masks off in the process of reunification. The mural has been erased a little over a year ago. I like the fleeting existence of this art form; it’s part of Berlin’s collective imaginary as well as its lived and felt reality.

A: Berlin is host to all kinds of international food, but I must ask: what is your Berlin comfort food?

L: There is nothing better than Döner with scharfer Sauce when you come home late at night. Definitely. During the day, I prefer a mixed platter of Mediterranean appetizers, Italian tapas, or the legendary Berlin brunch. If I can’t make up my mind, I meet with friends at one of Berlin’s great farmers’ markets and browse the food stands. Delicious, fresh produce from the region.

A: What’s on your bucket list in Berlin that you still haven’t done yet?

L: I have always wanted to organize a street festival.

Anne Strauss, Student Life CoordinatorFoto Fehling

 L: Anne, do you have a Berlin theme song?

A: Aber klar, the song “Dickes B” by the Berlin group Seeed.

L: I wonder if this choice identifies you as a “real Berliner.” In a city that has become very international, do those still exist?

A: Real Berliners have indeed become very rare and hard to find. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Berlin, I was not by definition a Berliner a few years ago. This has, however, changed and I feel that – today – I can (proudly) say: “Ich bin ein echter Berliner” and Berliners accept it. Over the years I have seen the city change and I remember Berlin when it was still divided and one could only guess what was on the other side. After the fall of the wall the city opened up and all of a sudden traveling the world became a possibility. Several years of living, studying, and working outside Berlin as well as Germany gave me an understanding of what it’s like to live away from home, but also what and where home is exactly. For me, Berlin is the place that I chose to return to after my time abroad and where I can see myself in several years. And that’s quite enough to make me a real Berliner I would think!

L: As a real Berliner, what’s on your Berlin bucket list?

A: One day I would really like to go to a real Turkish wedding and – being an avid cyclist – bike around the Mauer-Radweg. I would also love to own a scooter to cruise the city in the summer.

L: Berliners like to celebrate. What’s your favorite holiday celebration in Berlin?

A: The Festival of Music on June 21st is my favorite because there are musicians and artists playing all over the city and it’s a wonderful excuse to wander around and hear new and interesting music – it’s the perfect Berlin experience! I have first come to love this festival when I lived in France, and I am happy that it has become so popular also in Germany.

L: In all its beauty, we both have felt the need to escape the city for some hours, days, or weeks. Where do you go when you need to breathe something other than Berliner Luft?

A: When I need to get out of the city for a bit (even just for a day) I usually decide to visit my parents who live far enough that it feels like a mini-vacation but close enough that I can return to Berlin within only half an hour. In general it is fairly easy to escape the city: just get on a regional train or the S-Bahn (as part of Berlin public transport), choose a direction and go. No matter which way you go, you will land in an area with lots of lakes, forests, and fresh air. Perfect for day or weekend-trips and of course for passionate campers!

L: From one passionate traveler to another: Share your favorite memory from a recent trip!

A: A few years ago, I went on a road trip through France with my roommates. We drove through the French Alps and countryside, stopped at little villages along to the way, ate lots of cheese, and eventually ended up at the Atlantic Coast, where we went camping, visited vineyards, and relaxed on the beach. It was a really amazing experience!

L: I know you are fluent in various languages. Have you ever felt “lost in translation”?

A: This happens on a regular basis, especially when I haven’t spoken a language for a certain amount of time or when I get together with friends with various nationalities and backgrounds. At times it can be irritating to have this feeling in my native language, but I like to look at it with some sense of humor… especially when I get quizzical looks from my family because I have invented a new word again.

L: I always think that it is such a privilege to be able to join our students for part of their unique academic, professional, and emotional journeys. Looking back at your 3 years in the Student Life Office, do you have a special moment you would like to share?

A: I agree with you that it is a big privilege to work in this job and share these journeys with our students. Since I started working at NYU Berlin, I have had a lot of memorable and funny situations. The most special moments for me are arrival and departure of every semester. To see a group of students arrive and to know almost nothing about them and then build a relationship over the course of the semester until I have to say Auf Wiedersehen again is always very touching. In the Student Life Office we also have many very funny encounters and stories. However, I prefer to share these in person when we meet!

Mail from Berlin: Meet NYU Berlin’s Academics Team

After NYU Berlin’s Director introduced herself in the previous Berlin Blog, it’s now time for the Academic Life team to do the same. The Academics team is made up of Dr. Katrin Dettmer (Arts Coordinator & Faculty), Dr. Roland Pietsch (Assistant Director for Academics) and Julia Rogers (Program Assistant Academics), who will introduce themselves this week, and the German Language team (which you will meet in three Blogs time):

roland-pietsch

Dr Roland Pietsch, Assistant Director for Academics

As Assistant Director for Academic Programs, Roland Pietsch coordinates NYU Berlin’s academic program and is your point of contact for any issue you have with your choice of courses, your professors or even with good old Albert. As Academic Program Assistant, Julia Rogers supports Roland in these areas and runs NYU Berlin’s small library. If you have questions about using the Humboldt University library or other Berlin libraries for your research, Julia is also happy to assist you. NYU Berlin’s professors and courses will be new to you, so we urge you to make use of our course presentations that conclude Orientation Week, when you will meet all professors, can grill them about their courses over dinner, and then make an informed choice during the drop/add period. Furthermore, Roland and Julia can also give you guidance on how to audit or even enroll (if you stay in Berlin for longer) for courses at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Roland’s and Julia’s office is in our main academic center in the Kulturbrauerei, right next to the Student Life office, and you can drop in any time you are around.

Katrin Dettmer, Arts Coordinator

Katrin Dettmer is the Arts Coordinator for NYU Berlin and your guide to Berlin’s varied and exciting art scene. During the spring semester, she coordinates the Tisch special program, Stanislavsky, Brecht, and Beyond, which offers an integrated approach to actor training, including movement, voice, rigorous actor oriented dramaturgical research, and attendance of several contemporary productions in Berlin, including the F.I.N.D. Festival at the Schaubühne. While students are taught by faculty from the world-renowned Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Berlin University of Arts, Katrin serves as the connecting point for all individual studio classes. She also teaches a class on 20th century German theater and coordinates Q&As with actors, directors, and dramaturgs in Berlin. Katrin is also your point of contact for art projects and specifically the end of semester exhibition. Additionally, Katrin is your on-site source for any queries in academic writing. You can find Katrin’s office at St. Agnes campus in Kreuzberg, which is very close to the student residence, so please drop by.

Blogging about academic advising is probably not the most exciting read, so we thought we rather tell you about the other bits that we do beyond academic coordinating.

Katrin’s academic endeavors center around German Studies and Theater Studies with a strong focus on German theater of 20th and 21st century. She is particularly fascinated by the way historical developments and debates in society influence theschaubuehne-photo function of theater as a space of public discourse, which cannot only be traced in the content of plays, but also in the continuous development of aesthetics for the stage. This phenomenon is also very true of theater in the GDR, although one may easily believe that due to censorship processes and cultural programming the theater, like the other arts, was merely a vehicle for propaganda. But theater makers like Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller were very resourceful in creating layers of meaning that provided critique not only of the system itself but also of German history and society. This political heritage can still be felt in Berlin theaters today, to varying degrees, while there is a constant search for new forms and interaction with the audience. Katrin has been working as a dramaturg both in the US and in Germany for many years and so she is also very invested in the realities of making theater by finding plays and approaches that will captivate the audience as much as they will inspire debate. For her, the rehearsal room as such is one of her favorite places on the planet, as it offers the possibility to work together in a creative team, test ideas, think big, and also fail, all in order to present a work that could have only been created in this way through collaboration.

rogers_picture-1

Julia Rogers, Academics Programs Assistant

Prior to joining NYU Berlin, Julia taught English as a Foreign Language in Berlin, at Brown University and in Washington, DC. She holds a M.Ed. in Intercultural Education from the Free University, Berlin where her academic focus was on adult literacy and language acquisition. Having spent time as both a student and teacher in the US and Germany, she looks forward to supporting you in your academic endeavors while at NYU Berlin.  As a German-American Berliner, Julia hopes that you will enjoy the city’s unique, sometimes brusque, character as you explore its past and present while making it your own new home.

Sailor retelling is adventures

Sailor retelling is adventures

Roland is a historian of the 18th century, more precisely, the social history of sailors and seafaring. It sounds like a far-away time of tall sailing ships, undiscovered islands and one-legged pirates with parrots on their shoulders, yet it is actually not such a far-away world. Most 18th-century sailors were about your age. Their first voyage was what shaped them. It would take months or years till they could see their home shores again. They returned a year later but ten years wiser. Their journeys hadn’t always been plain sailing, at times the weather got rough, the work testing, and their new masters too disciplinarian. At other times their longing for home overcame them. But there were happy times too, times to party, times in which they made new friends, discovered new places and cultures, gathered confidence in their abilities, and learned to see things from a different angle. When they returned they suddenly noticed that they even saw their homes from a different perspective. They had become the world’s first global citizens and had stories to tell their families back home, like the sailor depicted in the illustration.

So there you go, sailor boys and girls, your ship is about to leave New York, Abu Dhabi or Shanghai harbor.

Mail from Berlin: Letter from the Director

Dear NYU Berlin Students,

berlin-staff

NYUB staff and visiting GRI fellow, Daniel Walkowitz, Professor of SCA and of History, NYU, NY

We are thrilled that you have picked Europe’s most exciting capital for your studies. Berlin is a nexus of youth culture and the international arts scene and a vanguard of sustainable energy, technical development and global politics and economics. A bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, the city has seen amazing transformations in the space of just a century, witnessing Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, the roaring 1920s, and Hitler’s Nazi regime; Berlin has been the divided front-line city of the Cold War and the hotspot of alternative culture and nightlife, and Berliners marked the joyful end of the Cold War when, one night in November 1989, they climbed over the infamous Berlin Wall. Germany has emerged from reunification as Europe’s power broker and a leader in the arts, environmental policies, and human rights. The country has currently opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees and is welcoming with some apprehension the anticipated societal change.

>> Click to Read More…