On my year abroad, I spent a semester at the Freie University in Berlin. In the early days, when people asked how I was finding it, all I could reply was, “It’s great! There’s a CANTEEN!”You would be right to assume that there is nothing particularly special about a canteen. Yes, there is food. Yes, there are plastic trays and tables. But what Freie’s canteen offered, despite the cheap nosh and awkward chairs, was a sense of community.After seminars, my classmates and I would automatically head to the canteen, picking up freshly-baked pretzels for discounted student prices or perusing the salad bar for healthy snacks. There was Wi-Fi, and you could sit there for hours without having to move…

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