“People are people no matter where you are.”
“Menschen sind Menschen, egal wo man ist.”
The University of Alabama sent me over to Stuttgart, Germany, as a member of the Two Steps Ahead Program. While there, I, along with nine other engineering students, attended classes at Hochschule Esslingen for a semester before beginning our six-month internships at Daimler in Sindelfingen.
During this time, I was surprised at how similar American and German culture is. In my case, it probably helped that engineering follows the same basic principles everywhere in the world, so different upbringings would bring new perspectives to problems without dragging along the conflicts that might arise in other fields. Even then, there were only ever small differences that would pop up every once in a while. Inconsequential matters like having to flag down waiters to get the check or arriving at the grocery store before remembering that it’s closed on Sundays are the only things that come to mind. Other than that, people are people no matter where you are. Most of them just want to live their lives as best they can.
One of the main benefits of being in Germany for so long was the ability to travel everywhere in Europe. In my time there, I visited more countries than both of my parents have gone to in their entire lives. I stood atop Mont Blanc in France. I swam in the thermal baths of Budapest. I explored the ruins of Herculaneum outside of Naples. There are so many things I would have never attempted to see had I not been so close to them, and I’ll remember my time there forever.