Here in Freiburg, Berklee’s study abroad students are making connections with other international students—and with each other—inside and outside the classroom.

They’re playing in ensembles with Jazz and Rock Schulen students. (It’s worth noting that the building where the rehearsal rooms are housed is a bit of a maze—a much smaller version of the 150 Mass. Ave. building labyrinth.) The musicians speak a mix of English, German, French, and Italian, translated in part by instructor German Klaiber, who also serves as their bass player. “Music is the language that works,” he says.

One band—featuring flutist Vanessa Garber and vocalist Jordan Casty—played an Al Jarreau arrangement of “Mas que Nada,” a Brazilian samba standard. Another rehearsed “Empty” by Metric—a choice by student vocalist Leah Dennis, who like the band, hails from Toronto.

Another source of international connection is the Goethe-Institut Guest House, where the Berklee students stay. Here, people from all over the world come to study German. For the Berklee students—who take a German language class at the Jazz and Rock Schulen as part of their course of study—it’s good practice and often the best means of communication. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? “It’s like a circle of language,” says Garber, who was born in England and now calls New Jersey home. “Everyone here has to speak a different language than their own. Everyone’s kind of working on it.” Her favorite German word? Genau, or exactly.

For Will Park, the Korean students in the house have not only served up food that reminds him of his mother’s home cooking but also reintroduced him to speaking Korean.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere at the guest house is providing creative energy for the Berklee students to connect with one another musically. Chasty and Dennis at first bonded over the indie folk band the Civil Wars. A trip to Paris and other sojourns later, they’ve solidified the link, often playing together at the house and hope to keep the connection going back in Boston.

Lesley Mahoney
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