How many people are leaving Harvard

The exchange program between Freiburg University and Harvard University is coming to an end. For the first time, 20 Harvard University students had the opportunity to get to know Europe and Freiburg in particular and to take part in university life. Two of them, Sam and Anna, talk about their experiences and reveal their favorite German word.

Anna, Sam, your Harvard College European Program, in shortHCEP program, is just ending. Are you happy to come home again?

Anna: Yes, I'm happy, but at the same time I'm also sad. I was never separated from my family for more than two months. So six months is a much longer time. But I am also sad to have to leave Freiburg and all my German friends

Sam: I'm pretty excited. It will be nice to see family and friends again whom I haven't seen in a long time. And it's a little sad to leave everyone in Freiburg. It is also exciting that everyone we know has now reached a certain point: an awful lot is changing in our life and our studies. I look forward to how things develop in the future.

What were your expectations before you came to Freiburg?

Anna: I had a lot of expectations. I expected the program to be incredible and that my experience in Germany would change me. But I think it was a lot more exciting than I imagined. I was so surprised how warmly the people in Freiburg welcomed us and how easy it was to feel part of society here.

Sam: I expected to learn a lot and have a lot of fun - the typical things you hear about studying abroad. I never thought that I would feel so at home in Freiburg because I thought we would spend a lot of time with the other students in the program. I didn't think it would be so easy to talk to everyone and get to know other Germans outside of the program.

Did you have a certain typical image of Germany?

Anna: So cliché ideas? I think people think of Germans that they are well structured and that everything is well planned. I made the experience with German students that they plan university things much better than I do. Most of them start doing chores weeks in advance, whereas I start one day before the deadline. In this regard, the cliché is true. It is also said that the people here are not so relaxed, but I think that's not true. I think the people here are pretty laid back and have a lot of fun. That contradicts the stereotype.

Sam: There is the notion that the German language doesn't sound more beautiful or better than others. But I enjoyed learning it and I like the melody. I still remember how I took the train from the airport to Freiburg. I liked that particular rhythm with which people talked. I also like to do the German pronunciation and intonation. At least I try.

You also learned German during the program. Do you want to keep learning?

Anna: Yes, definitely. I only have one year left to study and I have many requirements to meet, but I would like to continue learning German. I try and hope it doesn't get too much.

Sam: It's the same with me. I never thought that I would even be able to learn a little German. I really enjoyed it and even helped me understand certain structures in English better. It would be a shame to lose everything you have learned. I want to keep studying so I can talk to someone when I come back.

So you want to come back?

Sam: Definitely!

Anna: Me too!

The HCEP program was a pilot project. Would you do it again?

Anna: That's an interesting question because I don't know if you can repeat this experience. That was the first time our university had started such a program. It was kind of an experiment. It was great and I am so grateful for this program. S: A recurring theme was that a lot of things had not yet been fully planned and that there were some things that we did not yet know.

But sometimes that was also the fun of finding out things together and for the first time how to live and study here. I would do the program again. Now I would enjoy the orientation program more, where we traveled around a lot and visited a bunch of facilities, historic buildings and landmarks in the Rhine Valley.

I would get used to traveling more. In addition, I would have a better understanding of things and would be more able to appreciate them.

You traveled a lot throughout the program because it was a European program. How was it for you to visit so many places in Europe?

Anna: It was so incredible. I never expected to see so much of Europe in my life. This is really crazy. I don't know if you saw that. There's a map on facebook that marks all the places you've been. A month ago I looked at my map and I was really amazed at how many places I have been to, I can hardly believe it myself. I would not have expected this. It was very enlightening to visit all of these places, to talk to other people there. The great thing was that we talked to the other students everywhere - in Warsaw, Berlin. This gave us an impression of the attitudes of students from other countries and other cities.

Sam: I feel like I've run out of travel to the full in these six months. Although I knew we were going to do these excursions when I applied for the program, when you finally experience it, it's something completely different. We met as many interesting people everywhere as the students. But also people who work in organizations to improve the situation in the cities or to promote culture.

It's different to get to know the people of a city instead of just walking around looking at things. This gives you no impression of what it is like to live in this city. It was great to get different impressions across Europe and that is much better than just looking at buildings and the like.

Anna: I used to travel around and enjoy the beauty of the place, the culture and the food. But now I want to know more about history and that was never the case before. I think to myself now, that's nice, but what does it all mean? What was before

Do you have a favorite place in Europe that you have visited?

Anna: It's a relationship between Paris and Freiburg. I love Freiburg and I definitely want to come back. Of course, I also know Freiburg best and I like the people here very much. I was crazy about Paris and it absolutely lived up to my expectations. Paris is so beautiful, I love this city.

Sam: My favorite place is a mixture of Freiburg, Basel and Barcelona. Sometimes I dream of living in Freiburg and Basel and traveling to Barcelona. Freiburg is a fantastic place to live in many ways. You don't need a car to get anywhere and you are still so close to the beautiful forest. It's also so easy to travel to France or Switzerland.

Well, more for fun: Do you have a favorite German word?

Anna: Mh ... 'knees'! (Laughs)

Sam: Yeah, mine is 'knee' too. [Note: The combination of the consonants "k" and "n" are pronounced very differently in English, for example with the verb "know"]

Nice that you were here. We will all be happy when you come back.

Anna: Yes, me too. ("Me too")

Sam: Me too. ("Me three")

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Photo: Hanna Teepe Published on August 7, 2012