Life Abroad: Berlin!

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Hello everyone!

My name is Dan Audette, and I am a junior economics concentrator here at Brown. On campus, I am a tour guide, info session leader, Meiklejohn peer advisor, and instructor in an elementary school program run through the Swearer Center for Public Service, among other things. For about the next nine months, I will be posting this year about my life abroad at the London School of Economics as a part of the column “Life Abroad”!

I apologize for my absence over the past few weeks, but Lent Term (the spring term) at the LSE tends to be a very busy one. And, although I have had trouble finding time to post, I have been able to travel! This post will be all about my recent trip to Berlin!!!!

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First of all, Berlin was like no other city I have been to. Seeing as 90% of the city was destroyed during WWII, it is not the typical European city. However, as you can see, through luck and extensive reconstruction, some of the historical architecture has either survived or been replicated, such as the Reichstag. You can even enter for free and climb to the top of the dome, designed by Norman Foster, for some great views of the city.

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The Brandenburg Gate is a very impressive piece of architecture that survived WWII. Located near Unter den Linden, one of the main roads in Berlin, it was a symbol of peace that was transformed into a symbol of power and the Nazi party during the Third Reich. The Berlin Wall ran just behind the Gate, and now it is one of the primary landmarks of Germany.

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However, just because not much of the historical architecture survived does not mean that it does not have culture. Berlin is one of the best cities in the world for urban art and graffiti. Perhaps the most impressive example of this is the East Side Gallery, a long stretch of the Berlin Wall absolutely covered in art.

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Berlin also addresses its and the country’s complicated history in various ways, one of which is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Located on an uneven plot of land two blocks from the Brandenburg Gate, this memorial was inspired by a graveyard. Peter Eisenman, the designer of the memorial, has left most of the interpretation open, wanting people to assign their own meaning to it based on what it makes them feel.

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The Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is a striking piece of architecture from the outside, and the interior is full of long hallways, sloping floors, and empty spaces that make you contemplate the magnitude of what occurred during the Holocaust.

Berlin was a fantastic city overall, and was one of the most interesting that I have ever been to. My next posts will be another discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad for a year, London life, my trips to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Milan, Venice, Rome, and Prague, and a day trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour!!!!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at daniel_audette@brown.edu.

Dan Audette

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