I have been happily settled in my home away from home for almost a month now! I think it is fair to say I am adapting to the German culture. I owe a huge thanks to my Karibu buddy, Anil.

Anil, my Karibu buddy, on the right and his best friend, Barba, on the left! We are at an international business networking event at Hotel Barcelo.
Anil, my Karibu buddy, on the right and his best friend, Barba, on the left! We are at an international business networking event at Hotel Barcelo.

Karibu is an international buddy program that my school, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, offers. The mentoring program aims to help international students to a successful start to their time in Cologne.  Once you register for the program, you are randomly “paired” with a current German student from the University.

It sounded a little cheesy in my opinion, but my roommate and I agreed it couldn’t hurt to sign up for the program. At the very least, the program would allow us to engage with other international students. Plus Karibu offers many free events including pub crawls and tours of the city.

A month before moving to Cologne, I received an email from the program with my Karibu match, Anil. Of course I instantaneously began messaging him with a flood of questions. Looking back, I find some of the questions I asked ridiculous. For example:

-Do they have greek yogurt in Cologne?

-What kind of clothes do people wear to class?

-Are there artificial sweeteners?

Anil was a great sport, as he answered my excessive questions to the best of his knowledge.

Once arriving in Cologne, Anil went out of his way to not only help me, but he assisted the other two Americans as well. He got a kick out of watching me struggle with the communal laundromat system, and I think he found humor in taking us to the Rewe (European grocery store) for our first time. He also showed us around our University and helped us with the entire registration process at the international office.

Beside fulfilling his duty of making our transition to the city as smooth as possible, he also reached out as a friend. He enjoys including us with his friends for drinks or just walking around the city on a Sunday afternoon. He took Jocelyn and me to the city center, where we were captivated by the cathedral, the Kölner Dom. 

(I apologize for my weak photo skills) Guess you need to come visit to see it yourself 🙂

It is apparent no one can match to my Karibu buddy; however, Jocelyn’s came in a close second. Last Thursday, she invited us to a bar with a bunch of her friends. We expected it to just be a low key Thursday night, but it turned out to be a “Rock Paper Scissors” tournament. Once you signed in as your gamer name (mine was Kitty Beth) you received 5,000 Euros of play money. Then you had access to compete against anyone in the room at rock, paper, scissors. Jocelyn had mad skills at this game. I, on the other hand, was slacking. Luckily, I was able to make plenty of fake money betting for Jocelyn as she crushed her competitors. Talk about a spontaneous Thursday night.

Until next time,

Katie Beth


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