This summer’s coming hard…

And then there was summer.

After a year of essays, assignments, homework, IA’s, written tasks finally: Freedom! Such a great feeling, a bit like in the beginning of UWC were it felt like everything is possible (so poetic 😉 ). Not that I didn’t enjoy my time at UWC, but the feeling of being allowed to sleep in and not having yet another deadline right in front of you (at least for some time). Though, with great freedom comes great responsibility (didn’t somebody said that at some point), which is why I made a great ‘What-to-do-in-summer’  list which obviously didn’t work out. There was so much stuff which I said I would do over the year, like writing a blog 😉 , meeting loads of people, get a job, travel the world and clean my room. Basic stuff you know. But nothing felt really pressing as I had three month, right!?

 

Probably a good time to touch on this point now. Before UWC I thought it was great to have three months of summer, but latest by the beginning of summer I noticed what a shit idea this was (at least for me who has there family nearby and who’s ticket doesn’t cost a thousand bucks to go back home). Three months. This was such a contrast to the nine months of suffering in the IB. I mean I understand why the college does that (college costs, not wanting to make students uncomfortably with not being able to go home over vacation), but I simply get totally out of academic mode in that time.

 

This was great for the start though. After Gerardo (my roomie) had visited me for four days I went again to Calais with two friends from campus. We volunteered and camped there for four days and it was again a blast. This time I also did anthropological research for the most bad ass essay there is in my IB life: the Extended Essay (4,000 Words). For all who don’t know anthropology too well, this means that I basically interviewed a bunch of volunteers and made notes on the behavior of people and structure in the warehouse (the place where we volunteered).  It was as said above a quite great time, and I feel like I bonded a lot more with the people there than last time as I really tried to step out of my comfort zone to get into touch with the volunteers a bit better. Also, we had a lot of fun at the beach where we successfully climbed an old 2nd World War bunker (le Fort Lapin) and had a really great time wandering and dancing through the low-tide sea.

Also, I had my first experience in hitchhiking there and back, which was great as we were quite lucky and met a bunch of really nice people, including an English-German grandmother who was super amazing and took us right in front of our camping spot. I think I’m going to do this a lot more often now, sadly this often only works if you don’t have time pressure which is mostly never the case for me.

 

After Calais Gerardo (who had spent his time in Norway in between) came over for a last few days, which we spent on the countryside, until he left for real. It was again quite sad, especially as I’d started to realize a bit by then what it means to not know whether you are going to see a person again, at least within the next 10 years or so (Gerardo is a second year, so it was his last year on campus). Though I’m a bit jealous as he’s going to spent his next years in Florida 😉 !!

 

June was quite packed for me. This is why four days after Gerardo left, I was travelling again as well. To be fair, this was also a bit too much for me, hosting, and travelling and not having even a week to chill in between especially after such a year at UWC, but I was going to have a lot of chill time later in summer. I will plan next summer better ^^ . Anyways, this time I was starting the biggest journey of the summer: Travelling to Egypt to visit my Roomie Mario. When I booked the tickets I was first annoyed, because it said that I’d have 16 hours of waiting time, until I realized that I was having 16h in Istanbul which I could use to meet a friend from campus who’s living there! Ege (the guy 🙂 ) and me had (at least from my perspective) a really great time in Istanbul, and I quite enjoyed seeing it a bit more through the eyes of a local and check out better places through this. If I were just a normal tourist I guess it would have been a bit boring. Istanbul is a really great town, so beautiful and I wonder whether I could live there one day. Another good thing about the journey was that I was breaking my “fast” as a vegetarian for the first time in 2,5 years as Mario told me that it would be near to impossible to be a Veggie in Egypt which is why I also broke my fast in Istanbul so that I could enjoy some Turkish Sea Food (I never tasted that before). Actually, I think I judged it too hard in the first place because while writing this I have the taste again in my mouth and I’d really like to have one now 😛 . Though, to be fair, I’m also a bit hungry now!

 

Next up: Egypt! After lying on the freaking floor at Atatürk Airport, I almost instantly fell asleep on the flight to Cairo. After arriving there I was a bit nervous as the Egyptian Consulate in Hamburg had told me that I might not get into the country, but (without trying to enforce any stereotypes, just retelling the situation) after they saw my visa money at the airport I had no problem, also thanks to the help of a German-Egyptian. Mario and his father picked me up there and what can I say, everything was different. After having been in Calais so close before, and then also Hamburg now this was really something different. I was totally not ready for Egypt mode yet, but the coming 1,5 weeks were amazing. As Mario’s friend Bebo would describe it, I became fully “Egyptianized” (after having gone through some daily challenges 😀 ). Nearly everybody I met was so welcoming and friendly to me, especially Mario’s family and I feel like we kind of understood each other even though my Arabic is no better than knowing a few insults. I especially enjoyed comparing lifestyles in Egypt and Germany with Mario, and I learned a hell lot about the society, politics, religion and sustainability. Mario was a more than perfect host, he tried and managed to make everything perfect for me and I bet it must have been really stressful for him, so if you every come to Egypt and are in the lucky position of being friends with the most amazing guy imaginable, you should visit him ❤ . Probably my favorite moment of all was when (no exaggeration) about a 1000 Egyptians tried to get into one subway trolley, and when it arrived they were all clapping their hands and screaming happily, also whilst pressing themselves in. We were all laughing (well, what was possible when you’re squished in a way that you never imagined you could be in).

 

I really noticed that travelling further abroad than another European city (at least for me), helps me a lot in understanding myself, the world and to widen my bubble. On the other hand, it’s often a lot more expensive…

 

Well, than most of travelling month was over. I have to say, June was probably the best part of summer, and there were so many memories that would take up books to describe, which I’m all really happy of. It meant a lot to me after one year of being in Freiburg, as I feel like travelling changed a lot for me, first of all because I travel a lot more alone or with friends rather than my family (I mean I did it a lot as well before, but somehow I feel now a lot more independent). It’s just different if you travel to Istanbul and learn about the problems and advantages of life there whilst you know that a guy from your History class lives there.

 

Well, enough of pseudo-philosophical bullshit.

Hope you have had a nice day and loads of those to follow!

Merlin

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Last Month with Second Years :(

Hello everybody!

Crazy that I now write about the last month of my first UWC year. This makes it even more definite even with the new school year starting in two days! They say “time-flies” but actually, it somehow also didn’t, considering that the year at UWC felt like a decade. Anyways, enough “Boschtalgia”, as my Dutch 2nd Year just called it.

The Month started of quite tough straight away with our end-of-term exams. Somebody had the great idea to also put our TOK practice Essay writing time there, however I should probably blame myself because we were given the chance to write it before. Anyways, this was only the first day of the week, and as I personally didn’t have an exam then so I went to one of my favourite coffee places in town with friends and we were writing the essay there.

The Rest of the Week went better as I thought, my two oral exams were good and I had a good feeling for 3 out of 4 essays which proved later to be true (the 4th one was physics 😦 ). The grades we got actually count a lot as they set the basis for the 3-4 reports we are going to get next year and with which we are going to apply for most colleges.

Whilst we were only having one week of exams, our 2nd years had to go through 3 weeks so the college was in a total different mode from normal for this time. The 2nd (or 1st in the German way of writing) was totally blocked for the whole time. It was quite interesting to see how different students handled the exams – some were basically living in the library whilst others enjoyed the freedom of not having classes. Usually people were having max. one exam a day, which I personally really enjoyed because you could really focus on one subject for this day, and I am taking grades not as serious as others so it was ok (EXCEPT physics. Damm. That exam 😉 ) . After our week everything was still different. Some classes were more chill but in others we were way behind schedule so that we tried to cover as much stuff before summer as possible. That wasn’t as bad as it sounds as most of the academic pressure was away (for us).

Right after the block week we also had a really nice outdoor weekend just as first years, where students volunteered to lead outdoor trips around the Freiburg area. I tried to organise a canoe trip but in the end it was sadly not allowed due to the college’s responsibility of keeping us alive which is why I ended up hiking a bit through the higher peaks north of Freiburg. We had a really great time and what I enjoyed most (as so often on trips from campus) was  that I got into a deeper relationship with yet new people on campus. It’s crazy how many simply awesome people we have there, this is what truly drives me at UWC.

As it was the last weeks, a nearly everybody wanted to end or start something which had been on their to do lists for a longer time so that we had quite a lot stuff happening. Also we needed to prepare for the farewell of the 2nd years. Additionally we had a great James Bond Prank on my Math and Physics teacher which included kidnapping his girlfriend and was pretty great. My physics class and teacher are simply amazing ❤ !!Meanwhile summer started to begin in Freiburg which was beautiful as now half the college was again sitting on the Mensa Courtyard for lunch and not anymore in the actual building. Also playing Ultimate was getting quite convenient again, and visits to swim in the pond or in the Dreisam became much more frequent. As I love summer, the college felt twice as beautiful as it already is, and as the exams were over I was feeling much more alive again (this doesn’t mean that I was feeling bad before but the sun always gives me an additional ‘kick’).

Also I feel that through the knowledge that it was already going to end soon, the college community was growing even closer. Then the beginning of the end, the last weekend started: the 2nd year show on Friday night. We 1st years and also teachers had prepared it for quite some time and to me and I think also all the others it was quite touching. We truly had a great community, and I’ll try to use all the sadness about loosing it as energy to build a new great one next year. We had basically a recap of the last year and it was basically indescribable (not to say we were so good, but it was just really emotional in a kinda funny and sad way).

Saturday was basically just cleaning up the houses. Everybody was cleaning literally for hours, and my house mom is especially concerned about cleanliness which is why it was even harder (but probably also made sense). Trust me, you don’t want to be in a end-of-term clean up in a boarding schools. We found some really ugly stuff in the house, but I don’t want to give away to much except the word mould 😦 . At least I feel like everybody really tried their best, and the best thing for me was that I was in the group of people that were carrying all the stuff which the 2nd years didn’t need anymore but were still useful to the Chique Boutique, were I found loads of coll stuff which I can use next year (However, I lost a battle over a Tarot card set to my Russian Co-Year, but to be fair I think he’ll use it better than me 😉 ).

I enjoyed the sun and swimming in the Dream one last time with friends and then the last ‘normal’ evening before the closing ceremony on Sunday. I didn’t expect it but on the closing ceremony it already felt like it was over. This is because we had so many visitors on campus and through that the whole community feeling was kind of lost. The events were very formal to me, though they also had to be, I can’t blame anybody on that. Except for the speeches of students and staff members in between.

It’s actually quite hard to me to describe the events as everything I write feels like not really capturing the moment, and even if it did this would be kind of wrong as it is to some extent an intimate experience (of the community). But I’ll try for a bit.

The last night nearly nobody slept more than a few ours and over the course of the morning/still evening (starting at 1 am) the second years left. It was quite a tough experience, even physically as we were all quite exhausted from the emotional pain and not sleeping and additionally it was raining which is why I in-between nearly stood 3 hours in the rain which was not really good for my health. It was quite funny – in the afternoon I met some of the second years that still were in town randomly and we were just greeting normally – as if all the emotional energy of being able to say goodbye again was gone.

The last 4 days without the second years were again and obviously quite different from normal. First we had to get used to campus again and then we also needed to get used to the thoughts that we also were actually leaving. This included packing everything up which was a disaster – Mario (my Roomie) and me are both disasters in cleaning up and organising our lives (the last part at least me), so it was quite a challenge but we managed. Saying goodbye to the first-years was much easier which I didn’t expect as we’d still not see each other for three months, but I think a lot of people were also quite excited about summer and seeing their respective homes again. Also, I knew that as I didn’t fully realise the 2nd years were away, I also wouldn’t realise until I was actually gone for some time that I’d leave so that was fine.

Also I knew that I’d see a lot of people again over summer – including most of the Germans through another Zero-First Year Meeting of UWC Germany.

After being one day home my Roomie Gerardo also came over for a few days which was again really nice!

So, that was the last month. One year of blogging for UWC is over (though I’m writing this in August so maybe the last sentence is kind of wrong). Anyways, I hope that whoever reads this enjoys it and has a great time. If there are any upcoming first years: I’m REALLY excited to see you in a few days!!

Best,

Merlin

April Fools Mont… – whatever, won’t try to do a pun here

Hey guys,

so now April, I will try to do as many as possible now! I’m looking at the list of things I prepared to write this as it’s been quite a time and I realise that everything feels like it’s been ages ago. Again, sorry for doing this so late. All right so let’s start.

After coming back from Spring Day, we got back into school routine pretty fast. I mean we had to as it was the start of the end of the year, and still so many things needed to be done, especially obviously to prepare us for the upcoming exams in May. But also normal UWC stuff was happening, especially one big event stood out which might be one of the most memorisable events in my whole time at UWC: The Vagina Monologues:

So, for those who never heard about them this might seem quite weird. At our college they called it the Liplocked Monologues. It’s all about breaking taboo topics, and even though I’d say that on campus there is quite a liberal atmosphere so that we talk about a hell lot of stuff which might be inappropriate to mention in our respective homes, however there’s still a broad range of topics which students feel uncomfortable to talk about. At least that’s what I learned at the event. It worked like the following: A group of students who had prepared this over months invited the whole community to the auditorium and in the main part had a few minutes to give speeches (or also sometimes performances) about stories that happened to them, or stories from the actual vagina monologues that confronted taboos directly. As some of the stories were copied from the vagina monologues you don’t always know whether the experiences actually happened to the people on stage (even though they gave it kinda away later but I at least didn’t remember all of that). To me it was a great event, because it really showed publicly the struggles people were dealing with which we might forget sometimes on campus. Also it showed that there ARE those taboo topics and this got a discussion rolling. It really made me a lot more aware of my own behaviour and I think it was great for our community which is by far the most important thing at our lives on campus at it effects everybody greatly (again, my point of view). It also made me quite motivated to talk about the taboos I feel limited by in my life on campus at a possible new vagina monologues next year!

A lot of different other events happened in April including a visit of Esther Bejerano (a Shua survivor), the recording of our college LibDub (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8DI8mo00Z0), The Poetry night, the Masquerade ball (were I had a lot of fun designing my own masque), another college Musical (love you guys who did this!!) and the announcement that our school (after two years) if finally officially being declared an IB Boarding School (YAAAY, it’s pretty cool to say that I was student at RBC before it even was publicly recognised a school 😉 ).

Also, we had University Day. I know, the other events would be more exciting to write about but I think this one is more important. Whilst we’re having all this UWC and IB stuff on campus, and all those huge events in between the topic of what we’re going to do with our respective future’s is widely discussed. It also played a major role in my summer, but I’m going to talk about that in a few posts later. Anyways, comparing it to my former school, this topic is worshipped here. This has to do with a lot of reasons, including that applications start a lot earlier internationally, especially in the US where probably most of us are going to end up studying in. It goes so far that we already had right in the beginning of the year two Ivy Leagues (elite schools in the US) visiting us, and I feel that this creates a lot of pressure on the students. Personally, I never had considered before studying outside of Germany, but in a place where everybody does that, it get’s quite hard to resists reconsidering that. From my perspective, it’s quite sad that we are, and to a large extent have to be so University focussed, whilst we still should enjoy being at a UWC, and it changes the community a lot when in the exam period people are stressed as hell because actually their future lives depend on getting good grades and exams. After realising that I was getting quite sad – Why do we work so hard for a future that wants to limit us in our personal lives and in the discovering and living of our actual passions? I know that this thought is a bit too idealistic, but it’s still reasonable.

The Day itself was designed by our (beloved) University Counsellor Hubertus (called Hubebi by the students which is a pun in arabic on the word Habebi [7bebi] meaning sth like my love). We had a lot of information on different application systems in different countries, financial aid and a lot of different colleges and other opportunities. It’s crazy to look at the amount of knowledge you need to understand the whole system including ACT’s, SAT’s, ISFAA’s, the CommonAPP, early decision, free waiver etc…, just to give you a small insight.  On the other hand it’s only fair to state that the amount of opportunities we have is incredible, and I’m really happy for that but this opportunity comes with a lot of responsibility – what do you make out of that and how do you find the right choice?

Sorry if all of that might be a bit confusing, I just wanted to give a small insight in my head on that topic 😉 .

Talking about University and pressure and everything: The end-of-term exams were coming up in early May, and therefore the last Days of school for our second years (and us in that year) started. For me this was great as this meant one of (in my opinion) greatest parts of German school life took place: Motto Week (at least that’s how we call it back home). It’s basically in that last week, and the generation which is about to finish school dresses up according to different topics for each day of the week. I don’t want to give away too much, but our second years did great. Especially on the very last day: They pranked the rest of the community in quite funny ways and had an AMAZING mock-the-teachers show in the end which I will NEVER forget. I think I never laughed as much in my whole life – it was a blast!

Afterwards thought the “Ernst des Lebens” as we’d say in German (Seriousness of life?) started again! We had a week to prepare for the exams. For me this week was great as I had the probably  most amazing idea ever – to visit my grandma near Stuttgart during that time. This had a lot of advantages: 1. I could see my family again (obviously), 2. I had a really quite atmosphere to study in and 3. (most importantly), my grandmother (because she is amazing), cooked me anything I wanted, and she is an amazing cook, so yeah, I had a good time. Additionally I had the chance to visit my sister in Stuttgart as she started to study there in the beginning of the year which was also really nice (Thanks!!! ❤ ).

So, this was some of April, hope you enjoyed reading it!

Lot’s of love,

Merlin

Past 5 months ;)

Hello wonderful people,

it’s August 9th and I know I’m usually starting those posts with saying sorry for not having updated everything. Truth is I’ve kept searching for excuses not to write this thing, and kept giving me new deadlines. I’ve especially become soft in the last 2, 5 months as I had summer break and kept thinking I still have time. But this will stop now. So once and for all: Sorry!

So, as you might have imagined, there has happened a whole bunch of stuff since March 1st (when I wrote my lost post). It’s also quite hard to keep track and make sense of what has happened that much later but I’ll try to remember through notes, FB-posts, eMails and the College Calendar 😉 . SO here we go:

One more thing: While looking through my notes just now I can barely imagine how much stuff we did in this short time of just one year at RBC. Meanwhile I’m comparing it to some lazy weeks of summer and feel quite ashamed (you’ll learn about it later as well 😉 ) . I can’t help but noticing that I’m sooooo ready for RBC (not in terms of having finished all that I needed to finish until then but in terms of wanting to be there 😉 ). But now finally…

… March:

March directly kicked of with G4 Project Week (finally it doesn’t only FEEL like it has been so long ago since things happened while writing those posts but actually HAVE been really long ago ^^ ). So what’s G4 Project Week? G4 stands for Group 4 which is the science section of IB subjects, and the Project Week is basically just organised because the IB wants us to (as it helps us to deepen our knowledge in understanding the world blah blah blah). As you might have noticed, I’m not really excited about sciences that much (not that they’re not fascinating, but usually it’s quite hard to motivate me in the way I need to be motivated for sciences – I don’t like to prove things via experiments which other people already proved… ). Even though a lot of lack of motivation amongst the students of my generation as we really just hoped for a nice break and forgot that we also needed to do some stuff I have to say that I’m quite impressed by what the teachers did for us, considering that they also needed to prepare and watch over the 2nd years mock exams in the same time!! Over the course of the week we looked into various fields of sciences in the overall topic of (big surprise here): SUSTAINABILITY – I guess that every RBC family member must have heard this word an approximate gazillion times, and must have been annoyed by it at least once but to be fair (at least for me) sustainability is quite an interesting topic and therefore sweetened the bitter taste of science. (OMG I’m getting so poetic here :D) (I have to stop making so many side comments)(really Merlin stop it)(AHHH)(ok, excuse me, haven’t been writing in a long time) :-J . We were in groups of something like twenty and the teachers organised workshops. I liked about 2/3rds of them which I think is a quite good rate…

… AND I had a quite chill week topped of with another Host family weekend. (those transitions – I know, amazing!!) . This time I wasn’t so nervous before it compared to the last host family weekend as I already new my host (grand)parents. Still a bit – but I was also quite looking forward to a round of Canasta (a card game which I learned there the last time) and also meeting my host nephew(s)(really don’t know what’s the right term there – it’s the grandson of my host parents)? I had quite a good time of sleeping in, nearly killing my host nephew a hundred times, taking the skis of my host father and skiing down Kandel and having a good time overall. It’s quite a nice though of having contacts outside the UWC bubble in Freiburg and a place to visit if I would go to Freiburg again after my time at the college.

A bit later the following week we had Interfaith Special Focus Day. I’ve been a bit sad about this one as I’ve been in the organisational team but couldn’t attend the last meetings (and admittedly prioritised other stuff) so that I couldn’t be a part of it. On the other hand I have to say I’m quite impressed about what the others set up again – especially as there are some people who seem like helping out at every single event – e.g. my Japanese and Rwandan co-year: Thanks ❤ ! We had a fair about different faiths/religions and some quite interesting discussions about it. The topic of faith is quite often popping up in my discussions as I don’t identify with any of the big faith streams, so have my little own faith but am not really fixed about it. It’s quite a significant topic as it occurs in the emotions of so many people – but I don’t want to get too TOK here (it’s an IB thing – don’t worry if you don’t understand ,) . The only thing that I disliked a bit was that the musical performances were almost all made by Christians as we have some quite talented and confident people in that group which I can’t blame the organisers for but still was a bit against the idea of the day from my point of you.

Anyways, a minor event which also occurred in March was the co-operation of Michaelschule and UWC where 9th graders of a local public school and UWC students created a theatre performance on the topic of refugees. I’m usually not a big fan of school theatre performances as it’s often more of a “We-spent-some-time-on-this-thing-so-we-need-to-show-it-even-though-it’s-not-really-showable” thing, and this time it was also in my opinion a tiny little bit like it,  but I really like seeing the college co-operate more with local institutions and you could really see that a lot of effort was put into it, plus there were a lot of creative ideas so that I enjoyed my time!

Next up is the second project week and this time I think it was definitely one of the most significant experiences in my UWC time if not the most significant one so far. I went (after a catastrophic stressful start) with five other students lead by my British co-year to Calais. I don’t  want to spent too much time on this one but the situation in Calais is roughly like the following: Britain decided at some point that they want to block out all refugees from coming into Britain while France doesn’t want to take care of all those ones blocked out which results in a 5,000 to 7,000 big slum like unofficial camp – to contrast it: right in the middle of two grand West-European capitals Paris and London. It’s quite a paradox. Anyways: a small number of volunteers and mostly minor NGO’s (as a lot of the big ones don’t dare messing with the French government) have tried to keep those people alive and healthy over the part few years and we wanted to volunteer as well. After some confusion, a lot of walking, a visit to the camp and a police control we ended up in “the warehouse” shortly speaking the main organisational centre of all volunteers in the region. We helped the following days there in the camp(s) – every day from nine to six with some minor breaks. My tasks were mainly sorting out clothes, repairing shelters in the camps and helping out in the preparation of deliveries to the camp. I could write whole essays on my time there (in fact I’m writing my EE [a 4,000 words IB essay] on it – I’ll write more about it later), but I have to cut it short here as I don’t have the week to write that on this blog now 😉 . It has been a live-changing time in many ways, as I saw huge effects of consumerism in our capitalistic society there, was confronted directly with intentional bullying by the French government, but also most importantly of all met so great people from all over Europe who just had this unstoppably awesome motivation to help whilst still being incredibly humble. Additionally, like last Project Week, I enjoyed getting to live with people with whom I don’t have so much contact on Campus in total, which started or strengthened great friendships!

After the Project Week there was Spring Break as it was Easter time and the college always wants to combine the holidays with national festival days so that we can be most productive at all times 😀 (though I understand it as if it wouldn’t do that the school year would need to be longer and we simply cannot afford that!). I took a (too late) train to Brussels from Calais after I managed to figure out the weird train system in Calais and leaving the others behind in the AirBnB (promise no intentional product placement 😉  ). Getting through Brussels was quite a challenge as it was right after the attack, but on the other hand it was a great opportunity as I managed to get into contact with the locals a bit and talk about how they perceived the attacks influencing the city. However, this all led to another delay so that I in the end had to buy 0,3 litres of water fro 4 bucks as I didn’t have the time to find sth better. Freaking Brussels! Additionally I lost my beloved UWC bottle in the subway 😦 , which is probably bad as I left an unguarded backpack in a metro right after a terrorist attack, but I just was too stressed (blush).

Next I took a bus to Hamburg (my home town) where my roommate, Mario from Egypt already waited as we wanted to spent the days together there. We had (from my point of view 😉 a great time overall, though we planned to do school work for 4 hours each day and didn’t manage to do anything – time flies. Even though the school days right after that were really stressful it was definitely worth it! I really like that people from campus constantly meet each other at their homes because I feel like we talk way too less about the actual places we live in on campus and rather about grand political problems.

Project Week and Spring Break overall were really great, even though I didn’t really recover or chill. I enjoyed especially that the kind of work I was doing in Calais was a lot more physical, and in Hamburg more organisational focused (though it wasn’t ‘work’) than the sometimes too academic UWC life.

Another thing that occurred at some point in March was the One World Challenge. It’s a global challenge for teams of max. 5 people to get together and live a more sustainable lifestyle. You can e.g. shower less, eat vegan, change your shopping lifestyles, plant a plant etc. You then go online and (honestly!) fill in everything you did. More than half of our school joined, also teachers, and I think we were the second most participating school/university world wide and probably the one with the highest participation rate. I switched into a quite competitive team (Treehuggers <3) but we were all a bit too less focused from the second (of total three weeks) on so that we in the end made 2nd place (which I’m quite proud of)!! If you are interested to join next year, you should go to http://www.oneworldchallenge.me , however I think it’s not accessible yet. I’ll keep you updated!

Also, my parents came over in March, on the same weekend as the “Environmental Laureates Day” (a Day were Environmental Laureates come to a Freiburg school [this time ours] to discuss international environmental problems with young minds). As I participated there it was quite a challenge to me to organise everything (also we had an excursion in the Friday morning with my German A class to a concentration camp), but also it was quite a nice experience. To be fair – it was also quit weird to see my parents in my new home but also nice to rather show them physically what I was talking about at all those Skype talks

So – even though this must have been a bit messy, this is my Five Months Late past on March – sorry again. I probably won’t do the next ones so detailed due to the lack of time.

Hope you’re all good!

Merlin

 

Snow Day, One World Challenge,..

Hello guys!

So, on time 40 minutes before my self-set deadline I’m finally getting myself to write this entry. The past days have been surprisingly calm so I really feel like getting out of this IB Stress a bit and getting a bit out of my normal routines, which is really nice and surprising – though I still see more and more stuff coming up, so it’s not getting boring!

As my last entry was already into this month (sorry again) I can start right in the middle of it: On the 16th of February we had Snow Day!! For everybody who doesn’t know what that means: It’s basically a day where (nearly) the whole College drives to a kind of nearby mountain to explore sledging, downhill- and cross country skiing and also mainly snow as a tool for fun for those who might not be so familiar with it ^^ . After skipping with my family as there was a birthday whilst trying to cook my dad’s special cocoa recipe and bottling it up but failing miserably at the same time I was running down to the busses to not be late. In the morning my group was starting of with downhill skiing which is by far my favourite winter sport and it was definitely really great, especially discovering the ways through the forest. I haven’t been skiing for a few years and it was a hell of fun!! After trying out cross-country where I also miserably failed (though had some fun as well) and having a break in a nice cute hut I could go back to skiing downhill cause I was one of the lucky ones who still found skies in their size, shoes in their size and a card for the lift 😀 .

Next up was a week full of deadlines, exam-preparation and sleeping as I was having a bit of a cold, so nothing really important happened. Though last week the ‘One World Challenge’ started and as about 100 people on Campus participate I thought it would be worth mentioning it. It’s a competition organised by some university alumni’s and you mainly form a team with your friends (up to six people) and then act for three weeks more sustainable in your life – which means showering less, doing your laundry colder, not drinking coffee, eating veggie/vegan … and then filling in your accomplishments on an online database which gives you and your team points in reverse. A Group of staff and students from our college won last your some beanies, so it’s definitely worth it.

For the One World Challenge me and my team went on Saturday to the local ‘Münstermarkt’ a market in the center of the city to get some fresh vegetables and potatoes to prepare a regional and (more or less) seasonal meal later in the evening. It was great because we took the root over the mountains to the city which I didn’t explore before and as it was a sunny day it was just beautiful. On the way back we were again trying to figure out some new roots and in the end I found myself climbing trees – it was a great day overall 😉 .

This week – as the second years have their mock (practice) exam weeks – we first years have our G4 Week, which means that we have for one week neither school nor CAS but attend workshops on sustainability from various natural scientific perspectives. Today started of a bit boring, but I’m actually quite happy about it as it means some time to breathe in between ^^.

I’m sorry to not write more and just summing up what’s happening without reflecting too much but I’m tired, so I’m going to go to bed now 😛 .

Sleep well!

Your Merlin

I am late!!

Hey guys!

I know I’m three days late with writing, which is just because I forgot that we were going to the theatre on saturday night with my german class and I therefore couldn’t fulfil my plan to write it two hours before the new month started. But that’s just a lousy excuse 🙂 .

Now it’s six days later, I somehow managed to fall asleep at the first attempt but today I got three (!!!) blocks (/classes) free so there really is no excuse not to write the blog 😀 .

So, there was again a lot of stuff happening the past month. It all started with leaving Hamburg again which actually seems REEEAAAAALLLLYY far away now. Anyways, I spent the last days in there watching series and the very last days super stressed because there was still bunch of stuff I needed to do, especially working on my Crowdfunding Campaign, but I managed it now. Thank you so much for my family for helping me a lot those days!!! ❤ . After a long 11 hours bus ride + half an hour on tram I finally arrived back home. I feel like coming back was actually the bigger shock than coming back to Hamburg because I didn’t expect this to feel so natural, so happy, so home. I spent a great afternoon talking with people, sharing experiences and just having a lot of fun to see my friends again. Then school started again (right on the next day – AAAHHHH!! ) and with that the chaos started. Though I have to say that I felt rather productive in the begging of the month – especially because I was so lazy in winter break, but this dropped again now which I’m a bit worried about. Anyways, I had a really great months though when it comes to having fun.

I built a swing out of an old skateboard with some friends at a beautiful tree in the black forest back to campus. I started playing the Irish Tin Whistle (a flute), that I got for christmas and I catch myself sometimes annoying other people with that, but then I also have e.g. the opportunity to climb nearby trees in the forest and play it on them which makes me feel really hippie but also calm 😉 . I went hiking/camping with some friends and saw a beautiful sunsets on top of a mountain. I had an amazing ‘Rhythm is a dancer’ session (my CAS were we kinda dance for meditation). I had a lot of pretty random fun talks and nights out. So overall I’m feeling pretty good except that I’m a bit sick -already the second time this month 😦 .

Oh, and our first-years were already nominated!! This was a really strange feeling, as it was really exciting – as I also knew some of them (at least a bit) – but it was also really strange to imagine the campus with a bunch of new people – and also obviously without our amazing second years 😦 . I’m really looking forward though to meet them and show them around Campus in August in Orientation Week and I’m actually pretty excited to create a totally new, imperfect, crazy and cosy community. If you are reading this guys, you have definitely a lot to look forward to!!! (though there will be some hard times too 😉 [#IBLife.. ^^ etc.]). Still I try to not think a lot about it as I want to enjoy my time in the present, ‘im hier und jetzt’ as we’d say in German.

Despite all the good stuff happening here there are also a lot of ‘stress-factors’ . In English we start to do our FOA’s, in History the mock-IA’s and we also already started the whole EE thing. Don’t worry if you don’t get the abbreviations, it’s just a bunch of IB stuff which is rather important and it’s stressing me a bit out. However I am quite happy as I more-or-less decided my EE (Extended Essay – about 15 pages of research on a self-chosen topic in any subject we take) – I’m probably going to do it in Anthropology about different mentalities within Germany (it’s way more particular but this would take to much time) and my supervisor is going to be one of my favourite teachers so I’m very happy about that.

So, this was as always just a slight inside in how it’s going on in here. If you have any questions, comments, etc. just comment below 😉 . I may also include some pictures at some point, when I have time … … …

Best!,

Merlin

End of term

Hallo ihr da draußen!

Da es ja nun Sylvester ist, ich dieses “einmal im Monat schreiben” Ding auch echt einhalten möchte, und da ich in einer halben Stunde los muss dachte ich mir, dass ich jetzt vielleicht doch langsam mal mit dem schreiben anfangen sollte. Ja, dass IB macht mich auf jeden Fall verantwortlicher und fleißiger!! 😉

Um in der (wahrscheinlich) tradition zu bleiben: Alsooooooooo…. es ist in letzter Zeit echt viel passiert 😀 . Nein wirklich, es ist echt mega viel passiert!! Ich glaube mein letzter Post war vor der Block Week, also fang ich mal da an. Block Week ist so ungefähr wie eine Prüfungswoche, allerdings zählen die Prüfungen darin kaum mehr als eine normale Arbeit. Man hat für jedes Fach diese Woche einmal drei Stunden Zeit, was also insgesamt weniger als sonst ist (normalerweise haben wir 3 x 1,25 h… you can do the maths!) . Deswegen fand ich die Woche relativ entspannt und ich hatte das erste mal seit langem (!!!) wieder Zeit, so etwas normales, langweiliges zu mache, wie etwa eine Serie anzukucken, und dabei Gummibärchen zu fressen, die ich von zu Hause zugeschickt bekommen habe (DANKE!!). Allerdings wusste ich garnicht, was ich mit der ganzen Zeit anfangen sollte. Natürlich hätte ich lernen sollen, allerdings erfuhr ich von zwei Arbeiten erst kurz davor (weil ich zu blöd war) und deswegen habe ich also nicht so viel gelernt, was im Endeffekt aber gar nicht so schlimm war.

Außerdem war direkt vor der Blockwerk Maastricht, also war es eh Hoffnungslos. Maastricht war eine Reise mit ein paar Leuten von unserem College zum United World College in Maastricht (Niederlande). Wir sind dort auf den Youth Environmental Sustainability Congress (kurz YES!, sehr kreativ!!) gefahren, was bedeutet dass wir uns dort Vorträge angehört haben, und mit Leuten von verschiedenen Colleges (Mostar und AC hatten auch Delegationen gesendet) darüber diskutiert haben, wie wir etwas im Bereich Nachhaltigkeit tun/verändern können. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, haben wir nicht ganz so viel getan/verändert, allerdings habe ich sehr viel dazu gelernt, gerade aus Gesprächen… auch nicht nur über Nachhaltigkeit. Wir haben auch viel über UWC als Bewegung, die einzelnen Colleges, das IB und das Leben am College geredet und dadurch viele Erfahrungen ausgetauscht. Mir hat das ganze sehr viel gebracht, gerade im Bereich kritisch über UWC denken etc. Ich bin aus der ganzen Sache noch euphorischer über UWC, Nachhaltigkeit und meinen persönlichen Weg gegangen und dafür bin ich SEHR dankbar. Außerdem habe ich neue, unglaubliche tolle Menschen kennengelernt, und alte Bekannte, unglaubliche tolle Menschen wiedergesehen, unnatürlich das andere College entdeckt (was natürlich sehr interessant war [RBC ist besser, aber pssst!!! 😉 ]) .

Die Wochen danach ist auch wieder viel passiert, viel Spaß, viel Anstrengung, Einsamkeit, Freude, Tanzen, Musik, Input, Sustainability, Winter Ball, Reflektieren, Arbeit, Waldspaziergänge, Verwirrung, Ängste, Sonnenschein, Glück, Unbeschreiblichkeit. Um es mal kurz zu fassen, weil lang fassen kann man es eh nicht. Auf jeden Fall sehr interessant, aber ich bin emotional auf eine sehr harte Probe gestellt worden, aber ich glaube ich lerne langsam damit ganz gut umzugehen. Niemand hat gesagt, dass es einfach werden würde, oder!?

Am Donnerstag vor Weihnachten war es schließlich so weit. Ich Begriff, dass ich tatsächlich bald gehen werden würde. Meine Güte, das war echt…. Auf jeden fang fing alles damit an, dass wir unser Haus und unsere Zimmer putzen, und aufräumen mussten, und das wir unsere Koffer packen mussten. Da meine wundervolle Haustutorin Sara aber ein wenig streng mit sowas ist, dauerte dies entsprechend lang was ich aber eigentlich gut fand da ich so Zeit hatte mich noch einmal intensiv mit meinen Roomies auszutauschen, was besonders schön war, da wir in letzter Zeit irgendwie echt zusammen gewachsen sind. Ich vermisse sie gerade total! Dann musste ich letztendlich (früher als alle anderen, da mein Bus so früh vor) schon am Donnerstagabend, leider vor dem Christmas Dinner Tschüss sagen, was irgendwie unerwartet schnell beziehungsweise total Unzufriedenstellend verging, da ich gemerkt habe, dass ich mit so vielen Leuten unbedingt noch etwas machen wollte. Aber gut, ich musste halt los und machte mich auf, auf meinen 12 h 2 Busse Trip durch die Nacht nach Hause, von zu Hause Weg, von House 5 nach Hamburg, von RBC nach Einsbüttel.

Das war natürlich aufregend, und ich bin nun ja schon ca 2 Wochen hier, und auf einmal macht alles Sinn, was mir alle immer gesagt haben:”Du veränderst dich, aber alles andere hat sich nicht verändert” . Ich war in meiner alten Schule, habe meine Freunde wieder getroffen, saß in der Küche und habe mir zwei Spiegeleier mit einem Tomate-Zwiebel-Butter Brot gemacht, bin im Regen auf meinem Fahrrad durch die Straßen gefahren, habe die zwei Treppenstufen auf denen Farbe ist übersprungen, war bei meiner Nachbarin. Alles unbeschreiblich strange… Auf jeden Fall sehr spannend, und ich glaube jetzt schon einer der wichtigsten Erfahrungen meiner UWC Zeit! Für mich war es ja auch das erste mal zu Hause, seit dem ich am College das erste mal angekommen bin, also anders als viele andere Deutsche.

Das einzige Problem ist, dass ich mir vorgenommen habe so verdammt viel zu tun (also nicht in Hamburg, sondern für Schule und vieles andere), und gerade einfach zu faul für alles bin, und ich gefühlt allen Schlaf nachholen muss, den ich übersprungen habe, und glaubt mir, dass ist verdammt viel!!!!! (#IBLife)  .

Übrigens mir fällt jetzt erst auf, dass ich deutsch schreibe 😀 aber vermutlich ist das eh gut, da dieser Blog eigentlich ja Englisch UND Deutsch sein sollte ^^ .

Resumé ganz kurz über mein letztes halbes Jahr: Krasse, gut, durch Inperfketität perfekt und gaaaanz viel dazu gelernt!!!!!

In jedem Fall höre ich jetzt mal auf, da ich gleich los muss. ich hoffe ich habe nicht nur von Ereignissen sondern auch von wie man damit so umgeht erzählt, da ich es eigentlich immer kritisiere wenn UWC-Blogs sich nur auf Ereignisse fokussieren (also no offense, ich mein man hat ja auch eigentlich keine Zeit was anderes zu machen, allerdings wirft das ja auch manchmal ein falsches Bild auf UWC [s. letzter Blogartikel])

So oder so ich wünsche euch allen ein gaaaaanz gutes, im Sinne von was auch immer ihr als gut anseht, neues Jahr (wer auch immer ihr seit), einen richtigen Ausgang bei der Auswahl, für alle die sich bewerben (und natürlich auch viel Glück, was man leider auch braucht),

und einfach alles Liebe,

euer Merlin