During the fall 2018 semester, I lived in Berlin and studied at the Freie Universität (The Free University). As an Art History major, my future goals include specializing in German art produced during the Weimar Republic and living and working in Berlin.
The Bailey Scholarship allowed me to study at FU, a distinguished research university, and focus on the period of art history which I’m most interested in. Something I did not anticipate was that, despite being a foreign country, Germany now feels more like home to me than anywhere else I have lived or visited. Living with a host family and interacting with German friends helped me to become more comfortable with the German language. Additionally, I learned about the German culture, mindset, and values through my relationships with locals. These are things which are difficult to teach in a classroom in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In addition to Berlin, I visited London, Munich, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Paris, Lyon, Weimar, Erfurt, and Dresden. Everywhere I went, I visited as many art museums as I had the time for. Some of my favorite memories include having a conversation in German with a security guard at the Albertinum Dresden about his favorite Josef Albers painting; visiting an art history conference on The Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, with one of my professors, who is a leading scholar in the field; and seeing my favorite Egon Schiele paintings in the Austrian Belvedere Gallery in Vienna, and the Caspar David Friedrich pieces in the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin. It was a surreal experience to suddenly be in the presence of artworks which I have been studying over the past four years - and have admired for longer. During my time abroad, I not only created memories which will last a lifetime, and found myself in situations both challenging and rewarding, but I also determined that my future lies in Berlin as well. Leaving Germany was very emotional for me; I did not foresee forging such a strong connection to Berlin, and now I feel a deep sense of Sehnsucht, meaning longing or yearning, for the city. - Ariel Reimbold
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