The start of a journey

Dear 姐姐,

Hello from Stuttgart Germany!

The next three months are going to be a European adventure to remember. I’ll be helping out on a research project at the University of Stuttgart to develop a system that analyzes the biomechanics of figure skating.

This journey began back in September when I was looking into international exchange opportunities for the summer and found out about the OUI summer research program. This program provides students interested in conducting or assisting in research at universities in Germany, France and China, a scholarship and support to pursue their interests. I decided to apply and reach out to Professor Alt at the university of Stuttgart since his research is focused on biomechanics and he had a project on figure skating. It seemed like a near perfect match for my interests with my 12 year competitive figure skating and kinesiology background. The process of securing this opportunity was a roller coaster ride but I will spare you the details.

Fast forward to today: 1 week* into my life here in Germany.

It’s been a challenge settling down and figuring out all the administrative things like registering with the city, purchasing a phone plan, getting internet, opening a bank account, among many other things. If you’re planning on moving to Germany and would like a first hand account on these processes, comment below and I’ll make a post about it.

From this first week, here are a couple random things I’ve learned:

  • They really love their bread and truly have a great variety of it. You’ll find a bakery on just about every corner of the city.
  • Most Germans are not the cold, distant and blunt that the american world makes them out to be! Out of all the Germans that I have interacted with so far, only one has fit that stereotype (but boy was he rude and mean for no reason whatsoever).
  • Cash truly is king here. Think you’re going to use your credit and debit card wherever you go? Think again. Better to bring enough money in cash or open a bank account if you plan on staying longer term.
  • Nearly everything closes by 8:00pm but most restaurants remain open and you might find the odd grocery store open past this time.
  • Again on the note of stores being closed: Sundays are the “rest” day so again, most stores including grocery stores are closed. Restaurants and tourist attractions are generally open though!

With all the administrative things now figured out, I hope that I will be able to start to truly enjoy my time here. If any of you have been in the area before, let me know if you have any recommendations for must sees, dos and eats!

Also, I’m a little behind on my posting because of the craziness of arriving in Germany so you’ll be getting some posts about visiting you in New York for the second time with mom and dad before the rest of my Germany trip updates.

-Bel

*Edit: this was supposed to go up a week a go, but better late than never right?

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