Die Bärliner - The Bard College Berlin Student Blog
Tag "Student Life"
on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

Gotta get your partyin’ in somehow (Credit: Sabrina Slipchenko, BVG)

“Life’s not all about dancing, kid” I say with a pointed finger. I’m in the mirror giving myself a pep talk. There are readings to do, papers to write, yadda yadda- but I just wanna boogie. And why not, anyway? I didn’t come to Berlin to spend my Saturday nights in bed with Christian Joppke’s treatise on liberal democracy. The angels of my better nature are all a buncha nerds.

But there’s something exhausting underneath this necessity. There’s a scale underneath, weighing “cool” experiences against “not cool” experiences. If I don’t balance book learning with wildness, somehow I feel like a failure. Maybe I don’t have to take the night out, just because it exists. Maybe I don’t have to feel like life is moving too fast, without me. Maybe well-being means something other than staying up ‘till 2 am breaking a sweat. I just don’t want to be 80 years old, on my rocking chair, thinking of all the readings I’ve done. Or maybe it’ll be less lonely that way, later.

L&T performances (Credit: Andrea Riba)

Students from all corners of the globe arrived in Pankow this past August to participate in a two-and-a-half week writing intensive called the Language and Thinking program. These academic exercises were at times trying, new, or unusual, but certainly left an impression on students and teachers alike. Over dinner in the cafeteria, we chatted about the nature of the program and student’s reactions. A special thanks to Ido Nahari, Hanna Bargheer, Hans Stauffacher, and (of course) the graduates of this year’s L&T program.


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As intelligent and emotional (well, for the most part) beings, we humans tend to hold on to things. We collect objects that remind us of places, people and experiences – or in some cases, even ourselves. In college, however, the physical load of things we keep is significantly reduced. What is it then that college students keep in their rooms – and more interestingly – display on their shelves? One of the common phrases, of unknown origin, says that we can learn a great deal about someone by looking at their living space. The truth of this saying I leave for you to determine. All I can say is that the heterogeneity of our students’ shelves definitely lives up to the diversity of their cultures, backgrounds and personalities.

Click here to see the photo gallery!
The Olympic Flame, lit by the torch transported all the way from Olympia. (Photo: Hervé Kerouédan)

The Olympic Flame, lit by the torch transported all the way from Olympia.
(Photo: Hervé Kerouédan)

The first impressions of an encounter are usually the ones that do not tend to stick once one gets more acquainted with the subject of the impression. However, sometimes first impressions do linger for a long time––like the undeletable mark left after an onerous attempt to remove a sticky label from a jar.

My first encounter with the Olympic Games is one of my most vivid child memories. I was a toddler when the XXVI Summer Olympics ’96 took place in Atlanta. Though still an infant, I remember the shiny gold medal awarded to Alexei Nemov on vaulting, an Olympic gymnast who grew up a Soviet, but became one of the first Russians to compete under the flag of the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the USSR.

This said, the most memorable moment for me from the ’96 Games as a whole was arguably Kerri Strug’s vault for Team USA that sealed the gold for the team, which would later on be called the Magnificent Seven. Magnificent indeed, she vaulted her way onto the podium with a landing that severely injured her ankle. But she persisted, and she was highly rewarded for it, as she should have deservedly been. Many have argued that one of the highlights of the ’96 Games was the moment when Kerri Strug was carried to the podium by her coach Bela Karolyi––a result of her being unable to walk to receive her gold medal in the team competition.

That inspiring summer was the ignition of the spark that later on would become a lit Olympic torch within me. That very summer, I started (as witnessed by the old VHS recordings my parents kept) doing cartwheels, leaps, and dangerous things on the monkey bars. At the ripe age of three and a half, I begged my parents to put me in gymnastics: I wanted to be a “Strug.” I wanted to be a “Nemov.” I wanted that gold medal wrapped around my neck.

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I am a third-year ECLA student, and I am currently in Nepal since the end of last September, interning as a photojournalist. I am intrigued by the Nepali culture and its people, so I never forget to carry my camera with me wherever I go. There is always something wonderful to witness and discover in this country!

Nepal’s landscape is diverse, and so are the cultures, religions, and ethnicities of the people who inhabit it. Nepal borders Tibet on the North and India on the South, East and West. From the point of view of population, Nepal is a mix of Mongols and Aryans. It is very rewarding to see people looking extremely different holding hands during various religious and cultural celebrations. Nepal’s harmony is incomparable and just overwhelms me personally, as someone who comes from a region where fear and tension are growing among people of the same race and religion (Tunisia).


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Schaubuhne Hamlet in Rain

Photo by: Arno Declair

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous and yet most difficult tragedies to perform. The reason for this difficulty is the complexity of Hamlet’s character. Often the actors choose one or more idiosyncrasies of character and focus on this, while ignoring the humor and cunning of Hamlet. I once watched a Hamlet who constantly desired to kill his uncle and expressed it through an exaggerated form of anger. Although it is true that Hamlet’s anger towards his uncle Claudius is a key element in the play, an overbearing focus on this can overshadow some other important aspects. Fortunately, German actor Lars Eidinger’s Hamlet had none of these problems in the play that was beautifully performed at the Schaubühne in Berlin on 23rd March (directed by Thomas Ostermeier). In what follows, I will focus on how educational this performance was in showing Hamlet’s character as perhaps Shakespeare would have wanted it to be.

The performance began with the funeral of Hamlet’s father, with all actors on stage attending the event in a comical manner. As they moved around eccentrically on stage, the backdrop showed close-ups of the actors’ facial expressions through a camera which Hamlet was holding. Simultaneously, we heard Hamlet echoing ‘To be or not to be’: ‘Sein oder Nichtsein’. The action then moved onto Gertrude’s marriage and then gradually it focused on Hamlet’s troubled disposition. We see Hamlet as a young man who is suffering from the loss of his father, and grieving over his mother’s marriage with his uncle which has taken place too quickly after his father’s death. Hamlet’s response to the whole situation remains aggressive, yet also very tactful. Hamlet suffers from hallucinatory moments in which he tries to rationalize his grief, yet amidst all this he remains aware of the fact that he has to take revenge for his father’s murder.

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My New Year Establishment in Berlin

My New Year Establishment in Berlin

I finished my fall semester in Berlin and went back home to Kyiv in Ukraine quite abruptly—leaving for the airport immediately after the Goethe Training Exam for the German Language A1 level, which I took in the cozy office of ECLA of Bard’s German Instructor Dirk Deichfuss on December 20th. This space served me well in the past few months, as the Instructor and I held mismatched exchanges in German, and as my efforts were rewarded with coffee, biscuits, and Christmas music. I would have been happy to stay a bit longer, as the challenging test dissolved into a part of relaxed singing and chatting with classmates, but time was pressing. Having read plenty of terrifying articles about the Mayan Doomsday predictions, I was determined to be home by the 21st of December, to melancholically contemplate the sunset of civilization from my balcony. No sooner said than done, a plane delivered me from the (almost) vernal Berlin to a freezing Kyiv boasting 20 degrees below zero and knee-deep snow drifts with twelve hours to spare before the global collapse.

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