This is only the beginning
My name is Shelbi Ankiewicz, and I’m from South Carolina in the United States. I attend Coastal Carolina University and am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication with a focus in broadcast journalism, and I also have a minor in languages and intercultural studies. I can fully say that I have just spent the best 6 months of my life as an Erasmus exchange student and intern at RheinAhrCampus with Sprachen Internationales.
At my home university, Erasmus is not an exchange program that is heavily highlighted. So, when I applied, I thought I was applying for just any other study abroad opportunity. My perception was quickly changed after my second week in Germany when students from various countries started to show up. Where I live at home there is not a big diversity of people, so when I met everyone at RAC, I really was pleasantly surprised with the different cultures and nationalities that make up the campus.
I have been granted the wonderful opportunity of staying at RAC for a second semester, so I want to tell you all how this experience has shaped me so far, and how I know there is only greater things to come. First are all the amazing people I have met. I have laughed, smiled, and cried, with people from all over the world. Never in my life did I think that I would make friends who live across the world from me in Azerbaijan, Albania, Georgia, India, and so many other places. These are all relationships that I cherish deeply and hope to continue even when we all part ways.
The second greatest impact I’ve encountered is the ability to travel within the European Union. Ever since I was a sophomore in high school, I have aspired of being a travel writer. What that means is I want to travel to places around the world and then write about the experience whether it be about the restaurants I visited, the new culture I was immersed into, the hotel I stayed at, etc. Living in Germany has given me a taste of what my future holds. Since I’ve been here, I have traveled to Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg, France, London, Iceland, and some cities in Germany such as Dusseldorf and Trier and had the amazing opportunity to share my experience with my home university through our student newspaper. So while I am here in Germany, everyone back home is also staying updated, learning about different parts of the world, and increasing their cultural awareness.
Thirdly is the internship that Sprachen Internationales allowed me to do. This job has allowed me to work with people from multiple ethnic cultures, adapt to different leadership and teamwork styles, learn how to navigate various tasks at once, conduct work without being micromanaged, and so much more. This internship has been a big part of my experience in Germany, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
This is everything I have experienced only being here a short six months. Moving forward into the winter semester I am excited for new challenges and projects within my internship, developing new relationships, creating new travel destinations, experiencing Germany’s amazing Christmas Markets, and, well, I’m looking forward to pretty much everything except the cold weather. So, all of this to say that Germany, RAC, and the people here have changed my life more than I expected. Come back to this page in 6 months to see how much more of an impact this place has had on me after being here for an entire year