Until next time, Europe

Shelbi from the United States of America, Winter Semester 2022/2023

Hi friends! 

My name is Shelbi Ankiewicz and I’m a communication student from a small university in the United States called Coastal Carolina. I landed in Germany on March 1st, 2022, and will be returning home to South Carolina on February 24th, 2023, almost one year to the date. I originally came to Germany with the intention of staying just one semester, but I quickly came to the realization that I needed to stay longer, and even now I’m searching for ways to come back to Europe. This experience has changed me in more ways than I can explain, but I’ll give you a little insight. 

Firstly I will start with the internship that’s provided by Sprachen Internationales. As I was a continuing student in the internship, I was given more tasks and leadership roles than I previously held. I had to step up and put myself into positions I had never managed before. One of my biggest highlights throughout the semester was participating in the creation of the Managing Cultural Diversity seminar which is held and organized by the student interns and assistants. I was a part of the guest relations committee, where we ensured everyone was in attendance, made the guests lecturers feel welcomed, handed out name tags each day, and more. In addition, I was given the wonderful opportunity of being a guest lecturer myself and conducting a workshop. I created my own lesson plan and activity for participants to leave with a new habit they can implement into their daily lives. I had never conducted a workshop to such a large group of people, so it really forced me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to try something new. This is only one of the new things I tried throughout my time with Sprachen Internationales, and I’ll forever be grateful for the experience I gained. 

Secondly, I want to share about my time in Remagen, from the people I met to the Rhine River I’ll never forget. In the United States I live in a traditional suburban neighborhood that’s located outside of a huge tourist city. So relocating to the small, cozy village of Remagen was quite a change for me. However, faster than I expected, this place became my home away from home because of the people. During my time here I have cultivated relationships with local students, but the internationals have a special place in my heart, especially the ones I lived with. Here I found people who don’t judge me, who I can rely on for support, talk to about anything, and laugh, cry, or dance with, together. Never in my life have I experienced relationships like this, until now. I will forever have memories of walking by the Rhine at night, cooking new cuisines, watching movies, and trying new things with people in this town we just all happened to end up in at the same time. 

Germany, and Europe as a whole, has given me a new perspective on life. I’ve realized that the “grind” culture of the States is good, but it’s also important to focus on work/life balance. I’ve learned the importance of reaching out for help when you don’t know the answer. I’ve seen firsthand how scary it is to reach outside of your comfort zone, but also how rewarding the outcome is. I’ve experienced the difficulty of cultivating new relationships while also maintaining old ones. All these things I have grown from and came to learn during my time abroad, and I would do it repeatedly if I had the chance. 

All the best, 
Shelbi R. Ankiewicz