It’s been a month since I posted the first blog and when looking back, it seems like many things have changed even though it feels like every day is almost the same.

Hamburg is always very peaceful (especially, the place I live in is very very very serene) and I am having a good time.

There are a lot happening, but among all of them, I will talk about two things that are the centers of my recent life.

Work, work, work…

Yup!! Working takes the most part of my life in Hamburg. Fortunately, I like my work here for several reasons.

“You can see how organized I am”

Firstly, I get to use the skills and knowledge from the graduate school. I think this is the best part because I wasn’t expecting to use any of them at first. Quite cynical, right…? However, my experiences of working were not always like what I’ve expected and sometimes I felt like my degree was quite useless except for the moment I applied. (And it was a Bachelor’s degree then!) I’m not saying those experiences were bad, and I learned so much from them, but still I was quite disappointed for the fact that what I learned or know is not properly valued or used enough when compared to the tuition fee I paid for 4 years.

So.. I was very cynical about this internship experience in this aspect. However, what I do here is mostly writing a case study after doing a research and reading a submission form and it feels like writing a technical proposal every week. And oddly, in some way, it makes me happy. Another work that I do mostly is reading policy plans of other countries and analyzing. This is not exactly a fun thing to do, but still I feel like I’m learning a necessary thing for my next career.

Secondly! I became closer to other interns at the office. Since I am not a very social person who gets along well with people at first sight, I was quite worried about this part. However, luckily I have a cohort with me here in Hamburg so I had less worry to carry. (Although she left me alone in Hamburg and is on a trip for 10 days right now) Still, connecting with others is important because this is a rare chance to meet with others who wish to work in this field. So I put my efforts to go out sometimes and have fun (unlike usual me) and have lunch together and we are now closer than before. Although it’s hard to catch up with everyone because there are some people who returned to their home and some who just newly came (we are still expecting more interns coming), the institute is full of nice people and it’s always fun to communicate with them.

Eat,eat, and… EAT!!!!

In case you don’t remember what I presented for the culture sharing during Proseminar, let me remind you. FOOD is my ultimate inspiration and motivation for life. It has been like it since I was little and still is and will be in the future as well. Thus, moving to another place means another food culture to explore!

And yes!!! Hamburg is full of places to eat!! And I enjoyed encountering with new restaurants and cafes!! For about… two weeks…?

Quite short, right? It’s because the price… It’s quite expensive to have a decent lunch or dinner in the restaurant. At first, I thought it’s cheaper than Philadelphia because the price is written in euro. After spending more money than I planned and seeing my drained account, I realized euro is more expensive than dollar and made some adjustments. E.g. not having a dessert every time after the lunch or dinner (despite its heavenly taste).

Still, having a good meal is always my life mission and the first thing I ask to Yingxue in the morning at work is “Any idea for lunch?” (so professional..) There are some cheap options I found around the work place and I’ll introduce you some.

  1. Student cafeteria
“Student Cafeteria”

The place where I work is located just next to the university. Actually, the process of establishing the institute has a lot of things to do with the university (this is the fact I found out during writing the pre-departure report). So it means that we can go to the student cafeteria and have lunch with college students there. It is quite a balanced meal (when compared to instant noodle) and the menu changes everyday. There are several options available everyday and it is from 3 euros to 4 euros.

It rarely exceeds 5 euros and I am feeling grateful about having student cafeteria as an option. There is a frozen yogurt stand right outside so that could be dessert, which doesn’t really exceed the budget either. Additionally, the campus is also beautiful so it’s good to explore with full stomach before heading to work again!

2. Market

There is a farmer’s market every Thursday near the institute! And as you can guess, a lot of food and desserts and everything is there! It has been less than two months, but I still haven’t explored all the food in the market, and I am aiming to conquer them all at the end of this internship. You can have decent lunch for 6 euros in average and there are various menu available. So far my favorite is lasagna, Thai curry, paella, sausage with pommes.

“Sausage with pommes”
“Lasagna”
“Thai Mango Curry”

A lot right? It’s probably because I don’t usually hate anything that is edible. I’m planning on having Vietnamese food next time. Also the dessert is amazing. There is a crepe stand and the smell never fails to attract me. It’s full of chocolate and who can really resist chocolate? Fresh fruit is available as a dessert and my favorite is always strawberry and cherry. But!! There is my certain favorite for the dessert!! It is Portuguese egg tart.

So this Portuguese bakery stand sells Portuguese egg tart as a menu. It tastes extraordinary and the coffee there is also amazing. This totally makes Thursday my favorite. But unfortunately this stand is not there for the last two weeks and it’s kind of depressing. I hope to see it this week!!

3. Restaurant in the Museum

“Not as expensive as it looks”

There is a museum about a block away from the office, and a fancy looking restaurant is inside of it. Despite its fancy look and divine food, the price for lunch is actually about 8 euros. It’s not super cheap but whenever I want to feel like having good food, I visit here and enjoy.

There are a lot of restaurants to go in Hamburg. Also, since Hamburg is one of the most international cities in Germany, it has wide range of menu choices. Dessert is also amazing since Germans have had long history of tea culture. However, it is quite costly to eat in these places sometimes and as you are an unpaid intern, you cannot afford to have this every day. So I came up with several lunch options I am recently enjoying with reasonable price. Or I can just have a lunch full of guilt sometimes and then pack my lunch (which is mostly a leftover or instant noodle) for the rest of the week.

For the next blog post, I will talk about traveling in Europe.

I had several short trips inside the country and also expecting two trips to Prague and Spain coming up. I’ll write about them for the next blog! See you soon and hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer!

Tschüss!