UP/ICJA Quest: In-Country Orientation, January 19th - 27th.

Even though we tried to miss our flight by getting lost on the M25, we managed to return the car, check our bags, get through security, and sprint to the Easyjet terminal (on the far side of the airport, of course) just before they began loading passengers; thank goodness the flight before us arrived late.  The flight was uneventful, much welcomed after a rather stressful day, and we actually arrived 10 minutes early despite our late departure.  We were met at the Berlin-Schoenfeld Flughafen by two ICJA-volunteers, who accompanied us to the In-Country Orientation Camp in Prenzlauerberg (northern district/neighborhood of Berlin), where we were to spend the next 8 days.

I enjoyed spending some time with the other volunteers and the ICJA employees responsible for us while we are in Germany, but I confess I was a bit bored, too.  In a nutshell, the orientation camp was an introductory German course (which I didn't need, as I've been tested and certified at C1 level already), and a Study Abroad/Exchange program orientation. For those who have never participated in such an orientation before, it consists of rules and regulations, program specifics, and visa procedures. If I hadn't already been through two of these as an exchange student and helped organize several as a Study Abroad Advisor, I would have been much more enganged in the camp.

I did end up spending my birthday at the camp, and our wonderful master cook, Maggi, baked me some incredibly delicious stuffed apples as a birthday 'cake' and everyone sang to me in their native tongue. I'll be sure to post the recipe later, as this is definitely something I would reccommend that everyone enjoy at least once in their lives!
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