Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Traveling in Germany is an experience in itselfâ€¦Â As one of the students who had the most trouble following the train schedules I discovered the easiest way find the trains and departure times.Â Realizing who important this is for future students I will share my secrets with you.Â The easiest way to find trains and departing times is to use the internet.Â If you go to the website www.bahn.de you will be able to access the schedules.Â There is a drop down link at the top of the webpage where you can select the language of the page.Â Once you have changed to English, or any other language you like, all you have to do is enter the departing station or town and the destination.Â Be sure to remember that they will use military time when telling you the departure and arrival times for the trains.Â Also be sure to check what gate the train is departing from so you wonâ€™t miss it.Â Â Now I realize that things happen and train schedules change, most of the time they will announce those changes over the intercom at the station (in German).Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you donâ€™t have access to the internet there are red ticket machines at the main train stations with a touch screen that you can use to access schedules.Â All you have to do is touch the British flag on the screen to change the language to English.Â Then I think you select Ticket Reservations, after that you just follow the directions on the screen until it gives you a list of trains that will stop at your desired destination.Â Once you have this list you can print out the selected schedule for your journey.Â However; be careful when selecting your trip to check and see if there are any stops that you have to switch trains.Â If you do not pay attention to this you could miss your connecting train and have a lot more trouble getting to your destination.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Last but not least the most basic way of finding trains, but in my opinion the most confusing, is to look at the paper schedule that is posted on the wall at the train station.Â Be sure to know the difference between arrivals and departures, because there are two different schedules posted.Â I hope that all of this information will be helpful when you are planning your trips.
Traveling will be one of the most fun things you will do while studying here in
Europe. Â You will have so much more time on your hands then you do while studying in the
U.S.Â My roommate Suzi and I decided that we were going to do one big trip and visit some of the main cities on our list of places we wanted to see. Â So we planned a trip that would take us to London, Dublin, Madrid, and
Paris. Â We searched all of the travel sites and found that RyanAir has the cheapest flights available.Â We did learn a very important thing while we were leaving the country. Â As an American student you really should not get a student visa. Â One of the girls traveling with us is from Canada and she got a student visa before she came to
Germany and as we were leaving the country she found out that they had made a mistake with her visa and only allowed her entrance into the country once. Â So as we were leaving the Immigration officer told her that she wasnâ€™t going to be allowed back into the country unless she went to the German consulate in London or
Dublin and got a new visa.Â When she went to the consulate she was told that she never needed a student visa and that her passport was more than enough for her to enter the country and remain there for at least three months.Â So we all learned that Student Visas are completely unnecessary for American and Canadian students.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The first stop in our trip was
London.Â I have to say that it is one of my favorite cities. Â We visited Big Ben,
Palace, and all of the other major landmarks. Â If you really want to get a good view of
London you should visit the Eye of London. Â It is the largest ferris wheel in the world.Â You could see everything from the top. Â But my favorite thing we did was see Wicked.Â It was an amazing production.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â From London we traveled to
Dublin we made sure to take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. Â At the end of the tour you go up to the gravity bar where you can get a 360 degree view of
Dublin along with a free pint of Guinness.Â But the coolest thing we did was go on a day tour of
National Park. Â We got to see the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. Â It is also the park where they filmed P.S. I Love You and Braveheart.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â In
Madrid we went on a free tour of the city through the website NewEurope.com. Â I would actually recommend that you take a look at this website if you are planning to travel anywhere in
Europe. Â They offer free guided tours throughout most major European cities.Â We also went on a pub crawl one of the nights and got to see
Madridâ€™s famous nightlife.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â From Madrid we went to
Paris.Â This was my favorite city of the entire trip.Â The buildings and landscaping of
Paris are the most Beautiful I have ever seen.Â I honestly do not think there is a city that compares with it.Â I was also very surprised because we were told numerous times that the French people would not be very friendly toward us since we were Americans but everyone we met was so sweet.Â The very first day that we arrived in
Paris, we got lost trying to find our hotel.Â We were able to find the general area where our hotel was located but not the building itself. Â Two French guys saw that we looked lost and offered to help us find our hotel. Â But
Paris is a city rich with history and there are dozens of amazing sights to be seen. Â Of course we saw the main ones, the
Tower, and the Louvre, and several others. Â My favorite thing was the boat tour we took at night.Â I absolutely loved that city.Â If you get the chance you should definitely visit it.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I have discovered that entering a country without speaking the native language can be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life.Â You are suddenly thrown into a completely different way of life.Â Luckily I was met at the airport by my roommate Suzi and representatives from EBS who drove us to our flat. Â Unfortunately the people who were sent to pick us up from the airport did not understand a word of English.Â We did however make it to our flat in one piece with just enough time in the day to go exploring.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Here is a helpful hint for anyone planning on studying in
Germany. Â All of the shops are closed on Sundays so if you need something to eat you better stock up during the week because you wonâ€™t be able to get anything. Â Also most of the stores in small towns, such as Oestrich-Winkel and Hattenheim where we are currently living will shut down at around lunch time for 2 or 3 hours so that they can go home and rest while eating their lunch.Â A fact that Suzi and I learned on our first day while we were wandering around trying to find something to eat.Â There are however a few restaurants in the area that are open so donâ€™t worry you wonâ€™t starve.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Other than the odd shop hours I have to tell you that this area is amazing. Â Every available piece of land is covered with grape vines.Â We live in Hattenheim Germany which is outside of
Frankfurt.Â Apparently all of the wine made in
Germany is made in our area. Â The flat provided to us by EBS is located right along the
River.Â It is the perfect scenery for jogging and riding bikes.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â From what I can tell so far Hattenheim is a small quiet town. Â We are within walking distance from just about anything we would need, and about 20 minutes from
Frankfurt in case we decide to have a fun night out. Â The citizens of our quiet little town seem very friendly yet private. Â They really appreciate it when you try to speak German, which you will have to do a lot of because a lot of the older citizens do not speak English.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I love
Germany so far but we havenâ€™t started classes yet so there really isnâ€™t that much I can tell you. Â I will write again when I have more tips and information.