Ever since I left Germany in fifth grade, I?e longed to return there for college. This dream was fulfilled in September, 2004, when I had an opportunity to spend a year in Germany as an exchange student of Universitaet Koeln.
What can I say changed about myself during this time abroad? Above all, I think I?e become a lot more independent. Having to do everything for myself, I picked up the habit of venturing out alone, asking where the directions are and so on. Things weren? always smooth. Because I didn? live in the school dormitory, I had to find my own boarding room. There was an incident where the landlord of the house I stayed wouldn? give me back the deposit I? paid earlier. At first, I was taken back and even decided to just give up the money. However, I couldn? allow myself to become a loser. After a number of trials I got myself a lawyer and won the money back, without having to pay a single penny!
Another fantastic thing about living in Germany was the fact I could get around neighboring cities at low costs (A British airline offered round tickets for just 70,000 won!). I was able to enjoy leisurely trips to Britain, Spain, Italy, alongside the countries that border Germany. These weren? rushed or scheduled trips, they happened at my own pace, and at my own pleasure.
Universitaet Koeln is a large university with around 40,000 students, and I mainly took courses based on media and film. Although there were no roll calls, the students were avid participants who hardly missed a class. The most memorable course I took was called ?hakespeare in the Movies.?Basically, each week there would be a presentation and debate about one movie, which is adapted from Shakespearean plays. Viewing 12 movies that semester, in class alone, was a treat for a movie fan like myself. I also made some close friends. Getting to know not only German students, but also friends from all over Europe was indeed a lifetime experience. (Elenore from Britain, and Miguel from France, are just a few of the friends I made.)
Though slow at first, the year went by in a whiz. Looking back now, at times it seems like a dream, and at other times, I could say, a time of relaxation and romance. Riding down the sunny banks of Reine River, on my bike, sipping on a cup of Apfelscholre (a type of apple juice) at a nearby terrace of a pretty caf? and lying down on the grassy fields with a book under my nose, are all, memories that feel like a dream.
I am back in Korea now, back in the full throttle of a busy lifestyle. Sometimes it saddens me to find myself losing a sense of leisure in between the bustles of life, however, when I do feel that way, I have a year of treasured, beautiful memories to look back to. To me, the one-year spent in Germany, will be remembered, as a time that was ever so precious, and a time that will never return.
Lee Bo-mi (Journalism, 3) was an exchange student to Universitaet Koeln in 2004 studying media studies and film.