Arthur F. Burns Fellowship

On Germany and the NSA

I don’t usually write commentary, but as the Arthur F. Burns fellowship comes to a close I thought I’d share my impressions of Berlin. Here’s my piece on HuffPost about how the Germans give us too much credit with regard to their expectations of data collection.


That’s not quite right, but it’s what everyone in my neighborhood seems to do. When there’s no lamppost available, chaining a bike to its own wheel is enough of a security measure for people to feel comfortable leaving for extended periods of time. I suppose it makes stealing slightly inconvenient.

Was ist ein Shitstorm?

It all comes full circle. The English language may owe its history to Germanic invaders, but these days German – like most languages – borrows English terms for many new technologies and cultural references. My all-time favorite of these appropriations appears below: Shitstorm – (n) vulgar slang /ˈSHitˌstôrm/ 1. a situation marked by violent controversy. Also: a word […]

Knock one off the bucket list

Oktoberfest may be one of Germany’s greatest cultural exports, but every time I mentioned it to Berliners I was met with eye rolls and groans. Was the world’s largest beer festival really so trashy and overcrowded? Surely not an event steeped in tradition and frequented by international football stars! Luckily the Arthur F. Burns fellowship hosted its […]

‘Refugees Welcome!’ is more than a slogan in Berlin

Germany receives more asylum applications than any other country in the EU, and there is a real sense of solidarity among some Berliners for those who have fled their home countries. In certain neighborhoods one will see “Refugees Welcome!” and “Nobody is illegal” in shop windows and graffitied on walls. Here’s an excerpt from my […]

A walk to work

Good morning! I despise mornings, but the comfort of repetition in my stroll through Neukölln and ride up to Wedding (“Vedding”) is a small consolation that makes the first hour of the day palatable. If I’m lucky, the first thing I see is the Deutsche Post man with his yellow uniform, yellow bike, yellow accent […]

This week at Deutsche Welle TV

Until now I’ve been working in the Fremdsprache newsroom with a bunch of Brits, Australians, and the occasional American to produce DW-TV’s English-language show, The Journal. This week I visited their parliamentary studio, where they cover politics in Deutsch, and attended my first German press conference in the hall downstairs. Pictured: Federal Minister for Labour and Social […]

The USA through German Augen

One of the goals of this cross-cultural exchange is to shine light on old issues with the benefit of foreign eyes, and it has been fascinating to watch my German counterparts in the United States write about our social issues from a fresh perspective. Robin Alexander is a reporter for Die Welt based at the Chicago Tribune. He wrote a […]

The ‘EasyJet Set’ lands in Berlin’s tech scene

When I arrived in Berlin, I was surprised to hear Spanish competing with German and English for dominance in my neighborhood’s bars. Berlin is often called the Silicon Valley of Europe for its startup scene, and I soon found out that many Spaniards are here to work in the tech sector. From my article for Take […]

1 2