Why I Chose to Study Abroad

Hallo Leute! Hello People!

I’ve returned from studying abroad in Germany and wanted to give my remarks on studying abroad. By talking about the program, why I personally decided to go, and what I go out of the trip, I hope to encourage others to travel abroad and experience a foreign country. It truly was an amazing trip and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Honestly, studying abroad this summer was so much more than I thought it would be. I experienced so much and had such a blast.

What was the Program?

I am an LSU student and participated in the LSU in Germany 2018 program. The program involved taking two of the eight courses offered to students during a five week period. During this time, while attending class abroad, the professors took the students through the cities of Germany where to interact and learn about Germany’s culture, history, and people directly. As an anthropology major, this opportunity was amazing and crucial to furthering my studies of human culture both far and wide.

While studying abroad, I was responsible for the course load of two classes: German history and German film. The film course was a 4000 level course that included watching 9 films, writing 7 movie reviews, and the final was an extended movie review that included additional analysis of a film using terminology learned during the 5 weeks we were in Germany. That may sound like a lot but the professor, bless her soul, took the time to explain things to us and did not expect us to be experts in the art of film making by the end of the course. I did take away some cool information about film making from this course that I find myself thinking about while watching my favorite movies and tv shows.

credit: Chaylee Arellano

The other course I took was a German history and it was a beast! That is to say that the professor assigned a heavy course load, especially for a 2000 level college course. I was required to read several chapters from the history textbook along with a play and a rather lengthy novel, The Tin Drum. Before I even left for Germany, I had course work assigned. For the novel, I had to write chapter summaries for the 46 chapters of the book.  That took some time and did help in my understanding of the book. The novel focuses on the life of Oskar Matzerath, a clairvoyant man that decided to remain the size of a 3 year old at birth. Oskar is a rather unreliable narrator and that became evident in my readings. Along with the reading, I was required to type a 2-page, double spaced paper on each excursion we went on during the trip. That totaled to about 13 journal entries. There was two additional papers to analyze the novel and play and how they tied to German history. This course was a beast but I am proud for conquering the course and enjoying myself on the trip.

credit: Chaylee Arellano

Why did I go?

Honestly, I decided to go on a whim. I decided I had nothing to lose by going and everything to gain. The program coordinator came to my intro German class to talk about the trip, the requirements, where we would go, and all the details. From that moment, I was pretty much hooked. I come from a military family but we never got the chance to travel outside of the United States. We did get to go to Hawaii and that was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t a foreign country.

I also decided to go on the trip because I was actually scared to go. I know that doesn’t make much sense at first but let me explain. I was truly afraid of leaving my family and my boyfriend and experience something without them, alone. I do not like being scared and I did not want to be held back by fear. I knew that if I didn’t go on the trip and stayed at home during the summer, I would be miserable, bummed, and bored. I wanted an exciting adventure and I got it with this trip. I won’t forget this trip for the rest of my life.

What did I get out of it?

I honestly go so many things out of this trip. I interacted with a culture on a whole different continent for 5 weeks. I grew to further understand the German culture and people through the classes I was taking while studying abroad. I got to try out German cuisine and enjoyed most of what I tried. There were many museums filled with history and art that I got to see. The Rios Soccer cup was in full swing in Germany and while we were in Berlin, we got to watch a game live from the Brandenburg gates. I was on the program with 6 other students that I have come to call friends and my German fam, lovingly. I had an amazing time. I can’t say that it was the time of my life because that would mean that I’ve peaked at the age of 22 and that sounds rather sad. But I did have one of the best times of my life.

Among all the museums we saw filled with painted artwork, sculptures, and history, we also explored the great outdoors. Our professors took us into the mountains on two occasions. Mind you, both times I was wearing my trusty converse which are great for walking down the street but not so much for making my way on that kind of terrain. It was my first time being in the mountains! Once I was up there, I honestly did not want to come down. We were higher than the birds!

So, would I recommend studying abroad? Most definitely! If you are ever given a chance to travel, be it for school or work, I recommend taking that chance. When will another one come along and what better opportunity to see another part of the world. I know I am already trying to plan out some kind of trip in the not-to-far-off future.

With that being said, thank you so much for reading and comment below about your travels from the past, present, or future.

Till next time fellow souls,

— Chaylee

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