Unfortunately, my term had to end early due to a family emergency. It’s bittersweet to come back to the U.S., but I’m ready to see my family, friends, and Chick-fil-a. Here’s what I’m bringing home from Germany, and here’s what I’ve learned from my trip.
- Many, many souvenirs.
The material things I’m bringing home include tshirts, recipes, and tons of chocolate. I will say, souvenirs were relatively hard to find in Germany. When he traveled to Interlaken, Switzerland and Paris, we were able to find cheap, tourist stores. However, in Germany, it wasn’t as easy. There was only 1 small university store, which had about 4 different designs, and the rest of my souvenirs came from the information point in town. If you’re having hard time finding souvenirs, consider asking around in town since Google may not help very much!
2. Confidence in my skills and myself
Learning and living in Germany has taught me so much about myself and about what I’m capable of. Often, I’m worried about reaching the standards of others or if I’m performing as well as other students in my classes. However, in the language institute, I learned not to care. We were not graded on tests and homework but on how we participated, tried our best, and applied our teachers’ advice. I also learned that no matter how hard I try not to, I will fail a few times in life. I learned this from interactions with Germans in restaurants and in public. It’s hard to hide that you are not a native speaker so don’t try to. It’s better (and easier) to accept that you may not get every gender or case perfect when speaking, and if you’re studying in Germany, you will most likely be corrected anyways! It’s just so important to try your best and take risks when learning a language. This is the only way to speak like a human and not a robot learning from textbook conversations.
- New friends
OH MY GOODNESS I have met so many amazing, awesome, and perfect people! First, I definitely became closer with the Americans learning at the institute with me. I’m so glad that I got to learn with them and discover Germany with them there! I think I definitely made new best friends. Then, I also met many international students. Studying at the language institute, I wasn’t with other Germans in class, but I was with other students (teenagers and adults alike) learning Germany. Milena and Sergio are from Brazil and are studying German because they plan to go to university in the country. Yong-hoon is from South Korea, and he moved to Germany to be with his long-time girlfriend. He’s learning German, so one day he can put his chemical engineering degree to practice! I hope to stay in contact with these people, and one day, I’d definitely like to see them again!
- A new love for traveling
I’ve considered myself a homebody in the past, but now I’ve discovered that I love traveling and exploring new places. Whether I become the world’s most American tourist for a day or I’m actually blending in with locals, I love seeing things I’ve only read about. Standing at the site of the Bastille, for example, was incredibly surreal, and just imaging that the citizens of Paris stood in the same place as I so many years ago gave me chills. I hope to travel and explore more in the future, and I really hope that I have the chance to study abroad again!
Sadly, this is my last blog post, but I hope my tips and tricks have been helpful and reading about my experiences has been entertaining! Now, to get ready for the fall semester and football! Hotty Toddy, ya’ll!