My Third Hometown, Berlin
My Third Hometown, Berlin
  • Young-sup Kim
  • 승인 2010.04.14 14:16
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▲ Young-sup Kim / IME 04
What is your image of Berlin? Maybe you might first think of it as the capital of Germany. A lot of students from Korea backpack and leave to Europe but they are more attracted by famous cities such as Paris, Rome and London. To most backpackers, Berlin is the city that was once divided just like current Korea and had the ‘Berlin Wall’. It also has great beer and sausages but Munich is more famous with its ‘Oktoberfest’. Berlin can be a great attraction for people who are seriously interested in history, but for most, it is just another city in Europe. I was among this majority. When I was traveling Europe two years ago, I stayed there only for three days and was not really impressed. The only impression I got was “Wow! Nice railway system and many bikes!” However, after a six-month stay, my third hometown definitely became Berlin.

My story goes back to April of 2009. I was seeking an opportunity to go abroad. I had already been to the United States for a summer session program. I always had been interested in exchange programs but I was not sure where to go. All I wanted to do was get a chance to study more about business administration. A week before making my decision, I met Jessica who was from TU Berlin on an exchange program. She was half Korean and half German and loved Korea. We became good friends and she helped me make my decision. Since Berlin was one of my candidates, I decided to go to Berlin. I said, “Well, Berlin here I come!”

Talking about meeting new people in Berlin, the chance to meet foreign students is extremely high. Unlike the image held by Korean students, Berlin is famous for its high diversity of foreign students. TU-Berlin, where I studied as an exchange student, has a great proportion of exchange students. A lot of students come to Berlin not only to study their extraordinary history and technology but also to study art and music. Students are the background of Berlin culture. The city of Berlin even offers a small amount of money to the newcomers who come to study in Berlin. I had a chance to meet a lot of students who studied art. They went to Austria to take photos and to Vietnam to make a documentary. Most of their expenses such as flights and camera equipment were supported by school, something we cannot imagine. No wonder their cultural background is stiff and solid.

These things might make Berlin a cool city but there are more. Berlin is just like 80’s New York, which means this city is the origin of many contemporary arts and new culture. People know how to enjoy their life and make it more colorful. Did you know that electronic music started in the 70’s in Berlin? There is a nice bar with modern art and cool DJs on every block in the city. Their art and culture is neither expensive nor fancy since they come from students just like us. Berlin is the city of students. When Germany was reunified, the eastern part of Berlin was such a mess. In the destroyed buildings and streets, young but hungry artist came and settled down. Berlin itself became an inspiration for young artists and their culture is mature now but still active.

My first hometown certainly is in Korea. My second hometown is in Florida, U.S.A. I spent some of my childhood in the tropical weather. I learned their culture growing up and attending school. Now I can say Berlin is my third hometown since I was trying my best to experience as much as possible in Berlin.

People might be curious about what I studied and how the courses were. Honestly speaking, I did study but only the necessary parts since I was too busy enjoying their culture. I learned more precious things that can be never taught in the classroom. One thing I realized while I was attending POSTECH was our lack of cultural background, emotion and broad experience. I am proud to tell people that my experience and background has become broader and wider. Students in POSTECH should take advantage of this opportunity while they are in school. We can be wider and broader people. Why hesitate? There is a new world waiting for you.

Young-sup Kim
IME 04