Student Life at NYU Berlin is about YOU - our past, current and future Berliners. As part of a new generation of cosmopolitans, you are at home at different GNU sites, countries, cultures and languages. Coming to Berlin is part of this very exciting journey and we are privileged to be your partners as your individual stories unfold.
This video is a short introduction to the NYU Berlin community and the interview below shows how NYU Berlin Student Life relates to their city. Anne and Linn cannot wait to offer tips and support so that you will soon feel at home in Berlin.
Anne: It’s a warm Saturday in September. Where are you and what are you doing?
Linn: Victoriapark, on top of the Kreuzberg with a HUGE lactose-free café latte overlooking the city in golden Indian summer light, slightly amused by inner-family dynamics, acrobats and Berlin’s self-proclaimed Next Big Thing in Hip-Hop.
A: Student Life at NYU Berlin is often said to be extremely approachable by alumni of the program. Can you think of a time where this was particularly true? I, for example, was once asked where to buy live roaches for an art project. And in the end, we even located the right kind of live roaches.
L: Live roaches, advice that comes from experience, love for the job and the people, the fact that we never hesitate to participate in our students’ artworks. To be honest, I think it is just the cookies on the table in our office that draws everyone in.
A: I hear you spent a while in New York and fell in love with the High Line. Tell me about this academic love affair.
L: In 2009, when the first section of the High Line opened, this project epitomized what I understood as the politics and poetics of urban space in the 21st century, that is to say imaginative beauty and historic preservation, community revitalization and the urban power struggle. I was fascinated by the fact that in a city like New York this space had simply been forgotten for years. People wouldn’t see it, therefore not want to own in, transform it, and sell it. The High Line park offers very unusual perspectives on the city that surrounds it. Every time I come back, it is the place I visit to re-acquaint myself with the beautiful urban monster that is New York. So I guess you could call it an academic and a very personal love affair.
A: Having spent time in both New York and Berlin, what has attracted you to both cities? Is there something that connects them in your mind?
L: The unforgiving, yet engaging vibrancy, its people, and the art and music scene. Both cities make me feel foreign and at home at the same time.
A: Do you have any favorite graffiti in Berlin. I’m quite a fan of the Spaceman near Kottbusser Tor that you can see when riding the U1 subway. I love how you can see the paint must have run a bit when they painted him.
L: I like what “Blu” did on the lot facing the former Senatsreservenspeicher building on Cuvrystraße: Two white figures representing East and West – one upside-down and brandishing an E-shape with his fingers, and the other a W –, trying to tear each other’s masks off in the process of reunification. Berlin has graffiti on every corner – Berliners disagree whether a piece is art, a form of protest, a trademark, or just an indicator of how gentrified an area has become. I also really like MTO’s Jack Nicholson on Heinrichplatz.
A: Berlin is host to all kinds of international food, but I must ask: Schwarma, Falafel, or Döner with scharfe Soße, Krauter-, oder Knoblauchsoße?
L: There is nothing better than Döner with scharfer Soße when you come home late at night. Definitely. During the day I prefer the mixed platter of Mediterranean appetizers (Knofiteller) at this cute little café on Bergmannstraße: Knofi! Great for people watching, too.
A: What’s on your bucket list in Berlin that you still haven’t done yet?
L: Organize a street festival and get a tattoo by Peter Aurisch.
Linn: Anne, what makes you a real Berliner?
Anne: I grew up in the suburbs of Berlin and have seen the city change over the years. I remember Berlin when it was still divided and one could only guess what was on the other side. After the fall of the wall the city opened up and all of a sudden travelling the world became a possibility. Several years of living, studying and working outside Berlin as well as Germany gave me an understanding of what it’s like to live away from home, but also what and where home is exactly. For me, Berlin is the place that I chose to return to after my time abroad and where I can see myself in several years. And that’s quite enough to make me a real Berliner I would think!
L: After a semester on the job – what puzzles you most about the Assistant Director for Student Life?
A: She can write e-mails, simultaneously talk to students, faculty, and colleagues, pick up her phone, somehow focus, provide chocolates (!) for the Student Life Office and keep her sense of humor... all at the same time. Is she really human?
L: What do you do on Sundays?
A: A perfect Sunday means sleeping in, enjoying a typical German breakfast / brunch on my sun-lit balcony, followed by a walk through the park, and the eventual search for little treasures in one of the many Berlin flee markets until it’s time to stop in a cozy café for afternoon coffee and cake (a very German habit) all the while spending time and chatting away with friends or family. But of course, this is just one scenario for a great Sunday...
L: What is the one thing you never understood about Americans?
A: American football: I never understood the game, the rules or the hype about it. But, I love watching people watching it – so that makes up for something I guess.
L: Where in Berlin do you go when you are unhappy or simply looking for inspiration?
A: Berlin has about a million “get away” places for all moods. I usually just take my bike and cruise around the city, through the parks, along the canals, by historical monuments, and into new neighborhoods. The change of scenery and some fresh air are usually sufficient to lift my spirits and change my mood.
L: So, Anne, what's on your Berlin bucket list?
A: I want to go to a real Turkish wedding and cycle around the Mauer Radweg. I also really want to own a scooter!
L: What's your favorite part of the U.S.?
A: I really love the Washington State beaches. Actually, pretty much the whole Pacific Northwest and everything that comes with it – even the rain!
L: What's your favorite European trip you've done in recent years?
A: In 2011 I went on a road trip through France with my roommates. We drove through the French Alps and countryside, stopped at little villages along to the way, ate lots of cheese, and eventually ended up at the Atlantic Coast, where we went camping, visited vineyards, and relaxed to on the beach. It was a really amazing experience. L: What's your favorite holiday celebration in Berlin?
A: The Festival of Music on June 21st is my favorite because there are musicians and artists playing around the city and it's a wonderful excuse to wander all over and hear new and interesting music – it's the perfect Berlin experience!