My plane was delayed by about an hour on my 9 hour flight to Berlin. I was a bit anxious as it would be the longest plane ride I’ve taken. It would also be the first time I traveled alone other than for school. I was nervous to say the least, but my excitement won over. The plane ride was long and taxing, but it would be all worth it.

By now, I was fresh off the plane in Berlin and had so many thoughts had been racing through my head. For starters, I was not able to sleep on the plane and was eager to start my day and attempt to not fall asleep before nightfall. Our group’s rendezvous was at a restaurant in the Berlin Airport and I met one of my peers there. We got a taxi to the hotel with a guy that only spoke Turkish; it was an interesting drive to say the least.

I was immediately taken away by how wrong I was about Berlin. I had some warped idea of stereotypical German culture in my head, which was not present in Berlin. The first thing that struck me was the amount of graffiti everywhere. I’ve been to large cities before, but had never seen this level of graffiti. It was well done and did not look tacky. By the time I got to the hotel and was ready to get to my room, the receptionist told me that my room would not be ready for another five hours. Not the start of the trip I had hoped for, but I learned to go with the flow. This would be the most important lesson I learned over the trip.

The first few days were an absolute blast. I met a lot of great people and had a great time exploring Berlin. The architecture of Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag were some of the most impressive buildings I have seen. Berlin was a great introduction to Europe and a different way of life I knew little about.