“Every ending marks a new beginning”
It has been two months since the close of the fall semester. My fellow first year classmates and I departed on a brisk day in December from the Tegel International Airport bound for the States. Despite my preparation, I could not evade the initial shock of returning to America. Apart from having to re-acquaint myself with the suburban life I have grown so accustomed to (ever since my family moved to Virginia five years ago), I could not help but notice the conspicuous absence of bicycles, the lack of snow (as there was almost no snow when I arrived) and the fact that everything around me generally occurs or appears in English. Yet, in spite of the nostalgia that was inspired by such things, all dissolved away under the joy of seeing my family after several months of absence—the longest I had been away on my own. Yet, our reunion was all too brief. For after a mere two weeks, the scenery changed once again and I found myself in Annandale on Hudson, New York.
At Bard College, first year students are required to take part in the Citizen Science Program—a two and a half week program focused on civic engagement and the scientific discipline (this year’s focus was infectious disease). I will take a broad liberty here in asserting that for the majority of my fellow freshmen returning from the holiday break two and a half weeks early to begin our studies was challenging. However, I viewed this compulsory return as timely and beneficial, for it gave us an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with Bard—becoming familiar again with the campus, its inner workings, its layout, and the social dynamics which the campus engenders.
At the close of our Citizen Science Program, I saw the new group of Bard-in-Berliners depart and witnessed the return of the rest of the student body, each beginning the new semester with less fear and more confidence. Now, two weeks into the new semester, Bard is my second home. Yet, a day does not pass that I do not encounter one of my fellow “Berliners.” We exchange fond memories tinged with longing and gratitude for the opportunity we were given. So while my departure from ECLA of Bard signifies the end of my time in Berlin, it also precipitates in the commencement of a new semester at Bard—bringing with it a myriad of possibilities and adventures. Even still, I refuse to say goodbye to my Deutschland. So, until we meet again, ECLA of Bard. Thank you for an incredible semester and experience.
Blaga Atanassova, Signing Off