COLA Study Abroad Interview: Nick Lajoie- Berlin

COLA:Tell us a bit about yourself. (Major, hometown, interests, etc.)                        

Nick Lajoie: My name is Nick Lajoie. I’m currently a physics major UNH and I’m also minoring in German and applied math. I’m really interested in skateboarding. I’ve been skating for over 7 years and love it. Eventually, I’d like to go to Switzerland and work at CERN and High Energy particle research. I’d love to go back to Berlin, Germany my junior year at UNH and then go to Switzerland my senior. Hopefully when I go to Switzerland I can intern at CERN.

COLA: Why did you choose Berlin?                                                                                                        

Nick: I choose Berlin because in the summer of 2013, I studied abroad in Wegberg, Germany and we took a week trip to Berlin. Berlin just stuck out to me as such a unique city. The culture was so individualized which is something that I didn’t find in the rest of the country. The skating culture in Berlin is very prominent too. Certain parts of the city are carved out for just skating. After visiting the city I knew I wanted to study there.

COLA: What courses did you study while in Berlin?                                                        

Nick: I took a German culture class about German Imperialism up to the present time. The course was really cool because it was taught hands on most of the time by going to museums and art exhibits. At the end of the course we had a presentation on a cultural aspect of the country we found fascinating. We also took a theatre course. We studied the plays and then watched them, followed by writing a paper on them. I really enjoyed the plays and learning about techniques used to bring out the characters personalities.

IMG_0075                                                        The Brandenburg Gate- by Ross Styles                                              COLA: What was the adjustment process like when you arrived in Berlin? What advice could you share with other students?                                                                                

Nick: I had less of an adjustment because I had been to Germany. The biggest thing I’d recommend is that you spend time with your host family. Get to know them so you have connections and so you feel comfortable asking them for help. Also, meet German people as well. They’ll teach you more about the city then you’d just regularly learn by walking around. Getting to know new people pushed me out of my comfort zone and made my experience better.

COLA:Did you have a chance to explore Berlin and other cities in Germany?

Nick: While I was in Berlin for the 5 weeks I stayed in the city for the entire time. After the trip I went back to Wegberg to see my old friends. After the trip we went to Amsterdam. Besides that I really wanted to soak in Berlin and the culture because I was only there for 5 weeks.

IMG_0073The Reichstag Building- by Ross Styles

COLA: What will be your best memory of being in Berlin?                                        

Nick: My best memory of being in Berlin would probably be pressure flipping a famous stair set at Kulturforoum. This might sound like skate lingo to some, but, a certain well-known skate locations doing a trick that’s never been done before is called a NBD or never been done. Being the first to do this trick with all my friends watching was so rewarding and my best memory of Berlin.

How has it been readjusting to life in Durham?                                                          

Nick: For me personally, I wasn’t sad about going back because I was only gone for a month. That and I believe I still have the rest of my life to travel. I want to travel again and experience more, I’m only a sophomore, and so I’ll go back soon. Going abroad is somewhat like a science, the more that you discover the more you find out you do know, making you want to go back.