Ein Koffer in Berlin

Stories from a year in Berlin

Neither Turkish nor German: the German children of Turkish immigrants

The following are snippets from different conversations with three different people in Berlin, condensed and rearranged. They are: Emine, 23 years old, from Istanbul, medical student Michael, in his early 20s, from Hamburg, literature student Fatma, 23 years old, from… Continue Reading →

Semester Break from Berlin:  And then the Nazis came

“What do you see?” the Hungarian tour guide asked. A group of tourists stood around a monument in the middle of a plaza in Budapest. Four Germans, three Americans (including my friend and I), and a Swede. “It’s a statue… Continue Reading →

Transformative Humanities? A transformative moment in Berlin

Feeling a little homesick yesterday, I decided to read about current events at Cornell. On a webpage titled “New Century for the Humanities” (http://as.cornell.edu/humanities), dedicated to the completion of Klarman Hall, I came across two essays by two professors in… Continue Reading →

Extra Foreign: A Chinese-American in Berlin

There’s no doubt about it: although some Germans like to make fun of American culture and our supposed lack thereof in comparison to their “European cultured-ness”, the Germans (according to their media) still consider Americans members of the vaguely defined… Continue Reading →

In Deutschland sagt man „Hallo“ // In Germany, one says „Hallo“

I said to a German man today: “We are in Germany. Please speak German.” What happened? I was walking to the U-Bahn (subway) station, minding my own business, when a man crossed my path, said “ni-hao” to me, and proceeded… Continue Reading →

Feedback, and Falling through the Cracks

  This is something that every student I’ve talked to at the Freie Universitaet complains about: the lack of clear feedback. “Office hours are unhelpful” “You don’t get any feedback from the professor after you give the oral presentation” “Grades… Continue Reading →

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

“I bought a Greyhound “Explore” ticket, and traveled all over the USA for two months, couch surfing in stranger’s homes” mentioned by new friend Mercedes, as we stepped into the U-Bahn (subway). “Oh why?” “I’d just finished up my year… Continue Reading →

Are you White?

“I did an internship in New York City for a year, as an assistant teacher for elementary schoolers” began my new friend Fatma. “One day, the kids asked me: what race are you? And I was stunned because you don’t… Continue Reading →


  This semester I am enrolled in a seminar called “Rechsextreme Orientierungen”, which translates to “right-wing (political) orientations”. In the seminar, we learn about the causes, characteristics, and development of extreme right-wing political views, and the impact and influence of… Continue Reading →

Community Politics and Racial Tensions: The Shadow under the Rainbow

Neukoelln is one of Berlin’s largest districts, home to large Arab and Turkish populations, and a center for LGBTQ cultural life. On Saturday October 28th, the Sallam-Schalom Initiative, a Jewish-Muslim community organization in Neukoelln called a meeting to discuss the… Continue Reading →

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