A Journey of Discovery
This year abroad was a constant adventure, and I absolutely loved it!! I had the opportunity to take on new challenges whenever and wherever I went. I could practice learning a foreign language with nearly everyone around me, I could take on new tasks in the internship, and I could ride my bike to surrounding villages until it felt like my legs would fall off.
The most influential factor in my semester abroad was the people that I became friends with. Coming from a country that idealizes individualism and the “every man for himself” mentality, it was really different to work with an international team. Being the only American in the university, I had no choice but to make friends with people who were very different than me. However, I learned tremendous life lessons from these people, things such as patience, community, and teamwork. I was able to keep the parts of my culture that I thought were beneficial, but I also challenged myself to practice good habits and attributes from other cultures. In the end, I am proud of myself for becoming a better version of myself.
I also learned a lot working in the internship in Germany. When I arrived, I knew that I was going to struggle with punctuality, which is very important in the German culture. However, after spending months in Germany, I learned that I need to start leaving my house with enough time to be ten minutes early. I was not always able to meet my goal of being ten minutes early, but I succeeded in making it to my classes, meetings, and shifts on time. It feels good to have kicked my previous bad habit of being late.
I definitely developed my confidence while being here with my friends and professors. Eventually, this confidence spread to all areas of my life. I know who I am, and I will make my own path for the rest of my life. I want my work to be influential for the rest of my life. I enjoyed meeting and working with refugees in Remagen, and it made me realize that my hard work can be used for changing the world. I have to work anyways, but it makes a huge difference when I know that my work has a clear purpose.
I have a much more global perspective after coming abroad. I learned about global issues on a first hand basis from speaking with my friends from the Middle East and Africa. I definitely think more ethically after learning about how Europe is trying to reduce waste. I am more appreciative of the life I am lucky to have. After being friends with refugees, I realize how lucky I was to just be born in a country with freedom and privileges that go far beyond human rights. Again, I will seek employment where I can put my talents to work to improve the quality of life in countries that need it the most. I am optimistic about my future, and I am so grateful that I made the choice to study abroad at Rheinahrcampus.