Overseas Study Program
Jared’s majors: German
Year abroad: Summer/Academic Year 2010-2011
Reason you chose this program: I wanted to study in Germany and also stay abroad as long as possible.
Favorite classes: German Domestic Politics and Comics & Literature
Describe the housing situation: Students typically live in one of several dorm neighborhoods. I lived in the Vauban neighborhood, a square block of apartment buildings reserved for students. I shared a flat with five German students.
Advice to Future Study Abroad Participants: Take as many opportunities to be social as you can! The most rewarding part of language acquisition occurs outside the classroom.
Best Memory: That’s a three-way tie between ordering a 20-pound pig at a restaurant, riding a flimsy ski lift three miles up the side of a mountain, and sandboarding in the Sahara desert.
Biggest Surprise: When I arrived in Austria, I did not hear a single word of English between Vienna and Graz; at this point, I realized just how much I would have to learn.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: When I was at a grocery store in Freiburg, Germany, I saw a type of sausage that was composed of pork cubes floating in a cylinder of clear gelatin. Even now, it baffles me to think that people eat this.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would… have worked harder to find a job in order to spend more time with native speakers in a nonacademic environment.
Greatest Challenge: The greatest challenge was writing papers for my Freiburg University courses, for which I had to adapt what I knew about conversational German to fit an academic idiom.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: If you’re really into school involvement, then staying on campus makes sense. In all other cases, though, a year abroad will enhance your academic and professional qualifications, as well as permanently change your life.