Monday, July 31, 2017


Today began appropriately chaotic, as some of us scrambled to say goodbye to our community partners before heading off to Humboldt for our final presentations. By 3pm we had gathered with our special guests to reflect on the service learning experience and outline our research focus moving forward. It was pretty cool to hear how far we’ve come since a similar presentation of our Community Engagement Research Proposal’s just 6 short weeks ago; personally, since I’ve been in Berlin I’ve totally reframed my topic—as I think most of us have. To finally learn of the context behind what other groups are working on was really enlightening, and left me excited for fall when our papers will be published.

As each of the students identified their major, I was reminded what a diverse set of skills are present within this group. From Geography to Journalism; Political Science to Comparative History of Ideas; Economics to Computer Science; Pre-Law to Aerospace Engineering, and seemingly everything in between. I think the variation in our backgrounds is the reason we didn’t hear 15 of the same presentations today; we each brought something different to the table, and that was reflected in the way we each took something different away from this experience.

After hearing from the groups at Kotti e.V. (Katie, Hannah, Bryan and myself); the Youth Museum (Zosia and Clayton); Empati (Nikki and Justin); Neopanterra (Ally, Laurette, and Catherine); and Muanana (Sophie); we collectively headed to Die Gärtnerei for Sophia, Ying, and Becca’s presentation and one last meal together. Part of the assignment was to create a community asset map, and what these ladies produced was pretty impressing. I had to include a photo because they were actually able to leave behind a tangible contribution for the community to enjoy. 

As the Die Gärtnerei group wrapped up, Kathryn took control of the kitchen and put us to work chopping, mixing, and grilling. We ate a deliciously fresh, healthy dinner together in the garden before saying goodbye to our instructors. Those of us leaving on Friday hurried back to the hostel to pack so we could hang out on our last night in Kreuzberg. The evening ended with a chicken (and fry) stop and a late walk through Görlitzer Park (not as scary as it sounds). Although I was unsuccessful in getting a group photo before we went our separate ways, I did get this shot from the garden and felt that it was an appropriate enough send-off.

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