Submitted by Collin Clark on the 2017 winter session program in Leipzig, Germany sponsored by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures…
Since the flight, the most overwhelming sensation I have of Germany is one of utter exhaustion. Every day we trek to-and-fro, visiting sites, enjoying company and traveling without respite. In the past five days, I have experienced enough to fulfill me for weeks, but every day we start afresh with more to do, see and photograph.
Our first full day in the city of Leipzig, we started with a grammar exam, separating us into tiers based on our proficiency. We followed with a city tour, and lunch with the other students, all held exclusively in the native German. By the time I laid down for the night, I was worn to pieces. And when I awoke from a surprisingly German-filled dream, I was ready to lay back down and call it a day. But we carried on, to-and-fro through German-only classes to a German-only restaurant, to some sites and a grocery store which we navigated with our American accents and University wit. I doubt my accent will fade as quickly as the bottoms of my shoes, but I can order food without a hitch.
Following several days of relentless German, we explored Erfurt and Eisenach, two medieval towns that out date even the thought of some odd amalgamated states in northern America. We walked to-and-fro, following in the footsteps of Martin Luther in the 500th year after the Protestant Reformation. And afterward, we met some German students who gave us the real tour of the sites in the city, navigating through a combination of our poor German and their fragmented English.
Through castles and citadels, classes and restaurants, languages and hand motions, I have worked my way to-and-fro across this city in the past week, each day more with more sleep deprivation and desperation, but each day with a little more understanding and more than a few new words.