Surviving Abroad with Kianna: Oktoberfest

Me smiling like a child at the carnival.

So… I decided to go to Oktoberfest. For those who don’t know, Oktoberfest is a yearly festival in Munich, Germany that began as a celebration for a royal wedding in 1810.  It is predominantly a beer festival for foreigners, but Germans celebrate the festival too, with or without beer.

Before arriving, I had no idea that this festival was more of a carnival with thousands of families attending (except for Saturdays, when strollers are banned). The carnival is spread out throughout Bavaria Park, with beer tents set up by famous German bars on one side, and rollercoasters and food on the other.

My roommate and I went to Oktoberfest because we wanted the experience, but in all honesty, I am not sure if I will ever go back just for the beer festival.

The inside of the main international tent, Hofbräu-Festzelt.

Here are some things I noticed about the festival:

1. Saturday is predominantly international (or American) day at the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent. I ran into a few of my high school friends there, and even more of my BU friends. It was fun to catch up in Germany, but this does mean that different universities hoard many tables for their friends, leaving others without the option of getting a table.

2. Based on my last observation, if you are going to Oktoberfest, or Spring Fest next semester, make sure you arrive at the tents early… like 7 a.m. early. A friend of mine arrived at 5 a.m. one day, and he was still not at the front of the line. The doors open at 8 a.m., and they start serving beer at 9 a.m.. So, if you are going for the beer festival, plan your trip accordingly.

3. The carnival section represents the culture of Oktoberfest more than the beer festival, in my opinion.

4. You can’t bring big bags into the festival. They will send you away.

5. Everything is paid for in cash. If it weren’t for my friend, I would have struggled to eat because I forgot to exchange my money into euros, and I only had pounds!

On a separate note, homesickness is real. As I write this, I am on a flight back to London from Venice. Although it truly feels like I am a real-life “jetsetter,” I do feel a bit tired and stressed. This is partially because I have finals this week (so soon, right?), but the constant traveling does make me feel a bit unsettled in London. 

Kianna Sanchez, Study Abroad Correspondent

Kianna Sanchez is a junior studying public relations at Boston University. She is currently studying abroad in London, England and will be interning at Revlon with Elizabeth Arden this semester. Kianna enjoys to travel, go on adventures, and give back in her free time. In Boston, Kianna is part of the Boston University Student Government and was the programming coordinator in the Public Relations Student Society of America.

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