Samatha W’s Story

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“From the very beginning, I’ve been somehow captivated with the language and culture, and having the opportunity to one day spend an entire semester living in Germany was a goal that guided so much of my high school and college experience.”

“Von der Anfang an, ich habe mich bezaubert mit der Sprache und Kultur des Deutschlands, und die Chance ein ganzes Semester in Deutschland zu wohnen leitete mich für die Erfahrungen in der Schule und Universität.”

In some ways, looking back on my semester in Germany feels like looking back on an entire lifetime. In others, it feels like a dream that passed me by in the blink of an eye. Regardless of which way I’m leaning at any given moment, I can certainly say that my semester studying abroad in Mannheim was far beyond anything that I could have ever possibly imagined. Ever since I started learning German in the eighth grade, I was certain that I wanted to study abroad once I got to college. From the very beginning, I’ve been somehow captivated with the language and culture, and having the opportunity to one day spend an entire semester living in Germany was a goal that guided so much of my high school and college experience. Of course, there’s no way that my eighth grade self could have ever anticipated the realities and logistics of actually arranging a semester abroad, but, after I got that stress out of the way, everything began to unfold in an extraordinary– albeit often unpredictable– manner. While my coursework was obviously a central element to my semester, I think that almost every minute of my time there brought me something new to learn. I traveled. I met incredible, unbelievable people from every corner of the world. I did things of which I would have previously never have believed myself to be capable, and I know that all of this will continue to impact my life for years to come. As I look to return to Germany after my graduation in May, this past semester was also important in showing me that living in Germany is by no means an unattainable goal. In fact, it’s something that I can now say that I’ve done before. Stress and setbacks will be an inevitable part of me working my way back to Germany, but I no longer feel that they’re something to be feared. My semester in Mannheim has left me with an unbreakable sense of independence and self-confidence, which I know will help carry me forward to whatever may come next.