Piano professor Philippe Moehrke likes green. Bright green. His seven-piano practice studio at the Jazz & Rock Schulen has lime green walls, lime green splashes on the door, and a neon green fleece throw on the couch. He also bakes very good cookies, which he pressed on everyone who came in Tuesday morning.
Said Isabel Schmidt, who handles logistics at the Jazz & Rock Schulen for the Berklee students:
“I’m always a fighter for making international friends, because I’m quite convinced that the way to make the world better is to make friends. . . . You don’t make war on your friends.”
First, a cultural note: In Freiburg, people don’t jaywalk, and they definitely don’t get kaffe to go.
With over 20,000 students at the University of Freiburg alone, there’s a housing crunch in this city, said J&RS student advisor Edward Fernbach. When the exchange program began, the Berklee students had to stay in a hotel—a very nice hotel, true, but a semester is kind of a long time for that. Fortunately, J&RS discovered “the Goethe”: the dorm of the Goethe-Institut, where students come from all over the world to learn German. It’s just a few blocks from the Jazz & Rock Schulen.
If you associate Germany entirely with autobahns and wurst, Freiburg will surprise you.
It’s known as the most ecologically conscious city in Germany. There are tons, TONS of bikes. In neighboring villages, solar panels plaster the roofs. Today it’s raining, but people are still cycling—many protected by special ponchos that cover their handlebars and hands.
Freiburg’s Jazz & Rock Schulen has been a Berklee partner school for over a decade. The Berklee study-abroad program there, however, is only four semesters old.