The Christkindlesmarkt of Nuremberg, Germany is to Christmas what Hollywood is to the movie industry. Everything is big, bold and garishly cliche, but where Hollywood falls down, the blinding lights, gaudy trinkets and seasonal food simply make Nuremberg Christmas markets more impressive.
As expected the Christmas market in Nuremberg was heaving. The city boasts a population of half a million people not to mention the additional tourists who flock in every December to witness the seasonal spectacle. Luckily a friend from Nuremberg was able to whip my friend and I through the maze of people to the best stalls.
Unlike many other markets Nuremberg has its own children’s’ section, catering to visitors of all ages. Avoiding the wooden rocking horses and kinder punch stands I hurried to the main market in search of shopping, hot food and drink. In fact, Nuremberg is well known for its specialty sausages ‘nurembergers’ and almost all visitors carry ‘drei und regular’ rolls with a warm cup of gluhwein. Gingerbread is also a firm favorite of the markets; wafting from confectionery stalls through the air to entice passersby like Hansel and Gretel.
But alas! I’ve been stamped with a firm reality check: having completed a presentation last week, I was assigned yet another one for the semester, adding to an already extensive list of assignments. But despite the ever so slight risk of embarrassment presentations are a great way of practicing public speaking, helping you to develop your ideas and communicate them with confidence. Communication skills are essential to your professional career, and also in your final year when you are expected to present your dissertation topic to academics. It’s also a great confidence boost to receive positive feedback from your fellow students. Having gotten to the end of my presentation I was really pleased to see that it had encouraged a lot of debate and discussion in the class.
As the busiest time of the semester reaches its peak, like many students I am spending increasing amounts of time in the library , finding occasional solace in memes, ‘serious news’ and ashamedly Facebook. But last week, while wandering through the library I was surprised to discover a wealth of literature from black female writers, from Alice Walker to Angela Davis and black feminists I had not yet heard of. It’s refreshing to see a diverse range of writers studied in the English department at Heidelberg University. The opportunity to be exposed to new authors and alternative perspectives is one great advantage of studying abroad. Despite the imminent onslaught of assignments I’m sure I can devote a little time to enlightening myself about my culture and identity. Tschuss!