In all honesty, Munich was definitely a city my eyes initially glazed over when first reading our itinerary. As the time comes closer to when we leave for Europe however, I’ve developed a better understanding of the fact that from here on out I can’t let my eyes glaze over anything. Nothing about this experience is arbitrary, and I know now that there is a reason I’m going to CR and there is a reason for me to visit this city.
As I read on Munich itself and find countless images displaying the architecture, mountains, landscape, and people, I find myself really looking forward to stepping foot in this community and laying my eyes on the magnificent buildings that Louis I, King of Bavaria of the Wittelsbach family and his architects constructed during his time. From my conversations with past CR alumni, I definitely need to keep an eye out for the castles we may be seeing while here. It’s not until now that I realize that I’ve never really truly seen a “castle” in real life, and I’m fairly sure the image I’ve created in my mind could never match the image I’ll see in less than two months. This experience will be one of firsts, and I know Munich will be a provider of many of them.
Less cliché, an aspect that I’m understandably hesitant yet excited to experience is visiting the Dachau concentration camp. I can already sense the impact this visit is going to have on all of us, myself included. 32,000 documented deaths occurred at this camp. 32,000 individuals. I read that upon researching Munich, in a similar way that I’ve “read upon, “or “learned about” the Holocaust throughout my life in grade school. To be present at the location where these people were killed, where the most impactful, most horrendous mass genocide in human history occurred, is unimaginable. It’s an odd thing to be excited about, but I believe one can only attempt to truly feel the emotional weight of this event in history by sharing similar ground with these victims. I want my perspective to be broadened, my view of this world to be shattered, my idea of human history to be validated through my experience this summer. I believe this visit will do just that.
I don’t want to bore you with a research paper on Munich, Germany as anyone could find similar information with two clicks on Google. What I’d like to stress is the importance of avoiding pre-conceived notions, quick-judgements, and selective blindness to what the world can offer us. Along with beauty in the physical sense in this city, there is beauty in truth. I’m confident Munich will offer us much needed truth and understanding.