My first year in Germany

Nuremberg is not as crazy as Hanoi or New York – but a perfect place to calm down. Photo: Anh Tran

It’s been almost one year since I came to Germany to do my master program. By now I can get around the city central without having to look at Google map. One year may not be enough time to explore every place in Nürnberg, but I can get the hang of it. I have established some daily routine, where to buy grocery, my favorite route to the Uni and to my student job. Sometimes, I venture on a new way back home and then congratulate myself for being so adventurous.

A lot people asked me: Why did I decide to come to Nürnberg? And I always give the same answer. I got accepted into FAU and it seems like a nice city, very peaceful. Nürnberg may not be as glamorous as New York, or as chaotic and crowded as my home city, Hanoi. It is peaceful in a sense that I can take my time walking around without being pushed by people. I see greens in the parks and on my way to Uni. I can let my mind wander without being bombarded by ads and flashing billboards.

The living price is relatively cheap. A decent, human-sized room costs around $270-350. You can decide to become vegan and change your diet in a blink without going broke. I have finally come to term with the fact that nothing opens on Sunday. Nürnberg seems like a zombie town on Sunday. Sometimes, I miss cities that never sleep and the possibilities of going to a convenience store without thinking twice about the hour or riding Uber home if I missed the last train and don’t feel like staying out till 4 on a Wednesday.

When I complain about it, the locals have reminded me of the fact that other people may want to rest, spend time with their family and have a day off as well. That’s why the stores are closed and people plan their grocery shopping trips. Watching the locals enjoying a Sunday afternoon on a sidewalk cafe, I have learned to slow down and live in the moment. I try not to rush from places to places or accomplish too many tasks a day that I don’t even have time to enjoy my lunch.

During my one year here, I say goodbyes to many of my friends, who go back to their home countries after their Erasmus program. Some leave to embark on their new adventure during their semester abroad. I say goodbyes to my flatmates, who complete their internships and move to another city for new opportunities. Goodbyes are always harder for people who stay behind. It’s a bittersweet feeling to think about the memories we share together and the time we have to wait till we see each other again. New people will come, we will form new relationships, and life goes on. But as long as I’m with the right people, I will have a good time regardless of where I stay.

Anh Tran