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Closing a Chapter

I’m sitting in an empty airport. To my right are the soaring double sealed windows that seem to be every terminal’s “unique feature,” complete with the nose smudges of small children, the signature of unseen predecessors left behind from pushing eager faces up against glass.… Read the rest


Berlin, Botschaft, Bundestag, Merkel, and the YFU Family

I am not Merkel’s masseuse.

An arm’s length distance separated my hands from Bundeskanzlerin Frau Dr. Angela Merkel’s shoulders…along with respect for world leaders, people’s personal space, and let alone, common sense. Besides, President Bush already has it covered…

(I wonder if President Obama also exercised his hands while at Schloss Elmau?)

But before we discuss my self control and aversion to seizing the shoulders of the most powerful woman in the world, we need to understand how I got to see Bundeskanzlerin Merkel in the first place.… Read the rest


Victoria’s Visit

Surprise, surprise! My phone buzzed with a Facebook notification.

“Message from Victoria R,” the preview read.

Oh, I haven’t heard from Victoria in quite a while! We were friends in High School, and now she’s at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor…I wonder what she’s up to…?Read the rest


Those first few months

Learning a language while living im Ausland is quite the adventure. It’s simultaneously incredibly difficult while surprisingly easy, completely lackluster but full of hilarious mistakes.

I’ve been asked time and time again what being immersed in and learning German was like, especially during my first few months on exchange.… Read the rest


Celebrity Status

In the hallways or on the street I’ll hear children whispering, “Ja, das ist Andrew, der der ein Austauschschüler ist!”

And, kids being kids, one or two young students will come up to me and shyly say “Hi Andreuu,” running away to a group of giggling friends before I get the chance to reply.… Read the rest



H&M makes Detroit weltbekannt

When meeting people for the first time, conversation usually samples something similar to these two lines;

…Ich komme aus Michigan… (I’m from Michigan)

Ach so! Chicago ist in der Nähe, oder? (Oh, Chicago is nearby, right?)

Most people seem to know of Lake Michigan, but the other three great lakes (there are actually four more…) are still a mystery.… Read the rest


One Year from One Word

I was seated crosswise at a faux wooden table, positioned with my back to the rest of the classroom and enjoying the lovely view out the classroom window, which featured the yellow bricks of the courtyard’s adjacent wall.

To my left sat my friend Ramia.… Read the rest


I’ll come back fatter

Well hopefully not.

You may think to yourself, “Andrew, how could you let that happen? You left the first/second fattest country on the planet relatively healthy, and you’ll return fatter?”

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My life as a US-American

But hold your judgement, because you (probably) haven’t lived in Germany for 8 months and experienced the joy of European chocolate.… Read the rest


München’s Mittelseminar

Youth For Understanding holds Mittelseminars for their exchange students. These seminars, usually comprised of 25 or so exchange students and 5-10 YFU Alumni, give exchange students the opportunity to reflect on the past 5-7 months of their exchange, talk about the problems they’ve encountered and the resultant solutions, bond and share experiences with peers, and prepare for the final months of an exchange year.… Read the rest


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