Back to SummaryMolly Pam - Student Advisor Profile
MAJOR: Science Technology and Society
Going to Berlin was somewhat of a personal experience for me. Because of my Jewish background, I wanted to learn about the Third Reich from the German perspective. In every interaction I had, whether with Professors, my host father, or my bosses over the summer, I learned a new perspective on Jewish German history and the way Germans treat it. To further this exploration, my parents joined me between the end of classes and the start of my internship for a road trip through Poland. We visited many important Jewish sites including Auschwitz, Prague, and the town my grandfather was born in.
During the five months I was in Berlin, I discovered the city as much as possible, exploring neighborhoods, visiting museums, and eating in as many restaurants
as possible. Everywhere I went was an opportunity for me to practice my German, whether it was with fellow Stanford student or with shop owners. The cultural trips to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen, the city Potsdam, and my trips to the East gave me a first-hand view of Germany’s history from its unification to the present.
My summer internship at the Robert Koch-Institut, the German version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was especially helpful in cultivating my language skills. Even though I spoke with my bosses mostly in English, I read many papers in German and communicated in German with other members of the institute. My most memorable day was the company trip to Wittenberg, the place Martin Luther posted his 95 theses to the door of a Catholic church. At my internship I was able to learn about the German health care system at the same time as I followed the U.S health care reform unfold. I familiarized myself with international health standards and learned how to execute a population-wide study about Asthma.
Berlin has the best student prices of any city I've been to. With the Bing's generous cultural subsidies, I was able to attend world-class operas, ballets, and
concerts for just over € 5 each. Because Berlin is such a mix of modern metropolitan and classic European culture, there is something for every taste. I saw the ballet classic Sleeping Beauty and a new and modern version of Snow White both performed by the Staats Ballet, the classic opera Eugene Onegin and the modern, seductive opera, Salome. In addition to seeing shows on my own, I was part of the contemporary theater class, in which we saw plays each week. Each play helped improve my German and our discussions about the plays touched on important aspects of German history or culture.
The best part of my Berlin experience is the friends I made there. We would go
out to dinner, go to the Turkish market and then make dinner, and just hang out by the Spree or in one of Berlin’s many parks eating ice cream. Because Germans take their 8 hour work days seriously (no overtime!), I had copious amounts of time to take advantage of what the city had to offer culturally, linguistically, and artistically.