Study Abroad Interviews
Degrees: Sociology & History
Prior Language Knowledge: 3 years of German at Senior High School and 1 year of German at MSUB
Location: Ludwigsburg, Germany
Duration: Summer semester 2008
"Ever since I was in high school I wanted to do it. Part of my motivation was my German teacher at Senior, partly because I was learning a language and also because of my family's heritage." Danielle thought to herself, "Why not? If you have an opportunity like that, why wouldn't you take it?"
Would you do it again? If so, to what degree?
"The highest (degree)!" Danielle and I chuckled as she reiterated herself; she told me that she would do it "over and over and over again! You learn so much about yourself, about history, and other things. I don't know why someone wouldn't do it!"
What was your favorite part?
"Going to all the different places and seeing all of the history. Why? Becauise I like history!" ;)
What was your least favorite part?
"Not having my family and people I cared about there with me to share it with, but you know, it's bearable."
What was the easiest aspect about your study abroad experience?
"Meeting people is the easiest thing. You meet so many new people. there are the German tutors and the other internationals who don't know anyone either. They are all so willing to help you out and talk with you. They (the International office) put you all together so fast that you meet people quickly and it's pretty cool -- even if you are anti-social (I kind of am)."
What was the most difficult challenge you had to work through?
Danielle had to work through several things. "Being away from my boyfriend" was the first thing that came out of her lips. It was nice, though, that he came to visit twice during her stay in Germany. Living without her boyfriend was difficult, but organizing the trip without an official international studies office director was probably the number one difficulty. She told me how, "We didn't know about the university classes and how they work. We had to figure out how credits transferred back home and that was difficult. Also, the lack of mental preparation was straining. Everyone assumed it probably would be exactly like here (home in Billings, MT) and it wasn't."
How has this study abroad affected your life now?
Danielle explained the two types of change as a direct result of her study abroad: micro and macro. "On a micro level I have taken on the German culture here, e.g. walking, recycling, and I am now more world conscious. On a macro level, I am more outgoing. I am more able to do things I'm insecure about." Danielle also told me that traveling half way across the world has planted the travel bug in her, and not only to visit Germany again, but she is more willing to travel around the world than before. Specifically, she exclaimed to me, "Sure, I'm willing to go to that third world country and see what it's all about!"
What advice or words of wisdom would you offer students interested in studying abroad?
"Just go for it! It's so worth it. It's one of the coolest things you'll ever do. Do not hesitate -- just do it!"
For those of you who go abroad...
Danielle also gave some advice for returning to the States. "It is a bittersweet feeling. It is a mini culture shock coming home. You go to Wal-Mart and you hear English and you get really excited...until you realize that everyone is speaking English."