“There is one gift this experience gave me that I am most thankful for: the friendships and connections I made with people from all over the world.”
“Es gibt ein Geschenk, das diese Erfahrung mir gegeben hat, und das ich bin am meistens dankbar dafür: die Freundschaften und Verbindungen mit Leute überall im Erde.”
It may sound very well like a cliché, but studying abroad in Germany has been a life-changing experience for me. Back in 2010, I would never have imagined how influential a roommate’s suggestion to join him for a summer study abroad session would prove to be. Looking back, I now see the fruits that have been borne from seeds planted in Bamberg, Germany back in the summer of 2011. Immersion in German language and culture helped me see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the everyday reality of life in a Franconian city overflowing with history and beauty.
While studying and living in Germany offered a profound experience in respect to the sense of place, there is one gift this experience gave me that I am most thankful for: the friendships and connections I made with people from all over the world. Whether talking with someone from Australia about homework, walking by the river with a classmate from Italy, or listening to my host mother’s father tell stories about his career as a Bollywood film editor, all of these conversations had one thing in common: they happened because I was in Germany learning the language through immersion. I still keep in touch with the friends I met in Bamberg.
However, my time in Bamberg was only the first step in spending time abroad. I was fortunate enough to live and work in Bielefeld as an English teaching assistant during the 2013-14 school year. There’s not enough room for me here to talk about all of the good things that came from that experience. I went on to earn my masters in German studies at the University of Alabama and am now working as a German teacher at Liberty Park Middle School. It is safe to say that I would not be where I am now if I had not studied abroad in Germany.