What has been the best part of your study abroad experience so far?
I would say it has been amazing to have the opportunity to be able to see and experience so many cultures and places firsthand.
What's your favorite class? Your favorite professor? Why?
My favorite class so far is Economics in a Global Market Economy. Although the title sounds daunting, and I myself am not great at economics, I decided to take the class because of my major: International Studies. The professor, Uli Bruckner, has tailored the class to each individual's needs and allows flexibility to explore all aspects of a market economy within the European Union. He also is extremely well connected within Europe and set up 'excursions' to places like the Ministry of Finance to talk about the Euro Crisis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk with the desk officer for Iraq, a chance to hear the General Secretary of the UN speak, plus much more. All of the professors are great and each class has interesting aspects and excursions; however, this one appealed to me the most given my major.
What's one of the most interesting things you have seen so far?
I don't think I can pick just one thing. Being able to compare different cities and countries is interesting in itself. The history that is in Berlin and other cities I have visited is just incredible. It is impossible to say which is more interesting: the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Everything is interesting in a new place!
The best thing about studying in Germany?
As a student, the first thing that comes to mind is low cost of living. In Berlin, it is beyond easy to get
around via public transport and most everything in the city (clothes, food, cultural events, etc.) are cheap, discounted, or even free for students. The country is also a place not only of grand history but also a leading competitor in the world today. Being able to see what this country has become after such a painful history is the best part about studying here.
What would you want to say to students who are thinking about studying abroad?
Go for it! You never know until you try. Putting yourself into a new (and maybe overwhelming situation) could benefit you in ways you could never imagine. It may even make you realize some abilities you have that you never knew you possessed. Aside from visiting interesting places, you will gain life experiences that cannot be taught in books. You will also meet people that will leave impressions inside of you forever; some good, some bad, but every experience is a learning experience that can be applied to everyday situations even back in the States. The world has so much to offer, it is up to YOU to take advantage of it!
Any thoughts on learning German?
Learning German for me can be somewhat entertaining at times. English has a large influence in Germany and there are a surprising amount of English words used daily (especially for store advertisements, etc.). One of my favorite German words, however, is Handschuh (pronounced hand-shoe. Handschuh is the word for 'glove' which always makes me laugh because it is so practical - a shoe for your hand. Much like Germans themselves, the words tend to be literal, practical, and precise. German is a little difficult to learn, but at the same time most of the words are actually really similar to English. Practice makes perfect, and although many people will speak English to you, use your German!