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Written 7/29/2003


I am back from my trip to Poland and almost on the way to Kiel. For all of you who do not know yet why I am going to Kiel, just click here.

Some more words about Poland. I was traveling around there with Justyna and dropped by at Agnes' place (in Wroclaw or Breslau for all germanophones). We went to Warsaw (where Justyna lives), Gdansk (Danzig), the beach in Hel, the teutonic knights' castle in Malbork, to Poznan (Posen), Krakov (Krakau), Oswiecim (Auschwitz!), and Zakopane (a beautiful tourist city in the Tatra mountains).

Unfortunately, I still belong to a generation who grew up during a time when there was the Iron Curtain between the eastern and western part of Europe (at least the first eleven years of my life). Thus my knowledge about central (not to forget to write this, dear Polish friends) and eastern Europe is - frankly spoken - not very profound.

Poland is most known in Germany by many Polish jokes making the inhabitants potential pickpockets. For all who like the Polish jokes. Sorry, but I was able to keep my purse and everything else I brought there. And I haven't found any of my stolen bikes neither.

So what was my impression?

Poland offers a wide diversity of geographical sights with the Baltic sea in the north and the mountains in the south. There are some extremely beautiful inner cities in Gdansk, Krakov and Warsaw, whereas the surrounding areas are still dominated by the communist buildings in 60s and 70s-style. Surprisingly the high unemployment rate is not visible on the streets. For western tourists the prices are more than reasonable. You can sleep in a student dormitory for 5 Euros and buy a good meal (including something to drink) for 3 Euros. In addition, I never had to be careful concerning the food (such as it would perhaps be the case in Mexico). English is not as widely spoken as in Germany. For me this was no problem because I had my personal Polish translator. But I think holidays in Poland should even be possible without a deep knowledge in Polish und without somebody who translates (as long as you have two hands and a face). My trip gave me a lot of appetite to come back to Poland or to see some other central and eastern European countries.

Unfortunately, I am to lazy to scan in all the fotos. But feel free to pass by and to have a look at them personally.


Written in April 2003

Dear friends,

To all who have not visited me yet in Strasbourg. There is some time left. I will at least stay there until the middle of June. Well, if you are not able to pass by, you can come to Kiel sometime between August 2003 and May 2004. What? Where? Why?

To all non-Germans. Kiel is the capital of the region "Schleswig Holstein" which is next to the border of Denmark. Kiel has about 250,000 inhabitants and is situated at the Baltic sea. Perhaps, I will have a beach next to my apartment or dormitory. An Italian climate would not be bad either. But everything at its time...

I am going to participate in a post-graduate program in "International Economic Policy Research" at the Institute for World Economics. The professors come mostly from the United States and hold two to three week-lectures in the field of International Economics. In addition, seminars are provided by representatives from international organisations and academics. Furthermore, I will have to write two research papers. The whole program is in English, and fortunately I am freed of the tuition fee of 9000 Euro. For the more curious ones: take a look at the Advanced Studies web site.

So why will I go there? Is it because I cannot get enough of my student life? Well - perhaps... But seriously, I think of obtaining a doctoral degree in economics, probably in International Economics or International Finance. Therefore the program is a great preparation. And if I am fed up of universities and gray theories before, the optimal exit-option would be an international organisation or company. And therefore the program is not bad either. So why hesitate? Let's go Kiel.

Certainly, I am a bit unhappy that my Erasmus life in Strasbourg will be finished soon. You can find a short description here that I wrote during my Christmas break. But I hope that my time in Kiel will be as international (this year's 25 participants have 18 different nationalities, there's is hope!) and as much fun (there is always a way) as in France. I will miss all my friends (some very much!!!), the "pains au chocolat", all the Erasmus parties, the trips to Paris, Alsace, Switzerland, and probably much more... Maybe I will even miss some of my French teachers who treat their students such as if they were three year old applicants for kindergarten. Well, maybe perhaps not that much...

When I write this text, more than six weeks in Strasbourg are still waiting for me. So I will cry later and take another dive.

I look forward to your comments in my guestbook (in whatever language) or per e-mail.

Enjoy life and see you soon,



Written in January 2003

How´s life in Strasbourg?

To put it in a nutshell: GREAT.