Initially I was unsure if I could study abroad due to my knack of making plans but rarely following through. But since it’s last year before graduating, I committed and started the process early in the year.
As German is my minor, I wanted to take my last German course in a German-speaking country as a treat to myself. I had the option to go to Berlin, Germany or Salzburg, Austria. The courses offered in Germany did not align with what I needed; and, in a way, it was a wonderful thing, because I preferred to study closer to the countryside rather than in a metropolis. Being from Texas and living in dusty, flat cities for the majority of my life, the thought of surrounding myself in green made my choice instantaneous and definite.
Taking a language class where the language is spoken will be a fantastic educational experience. I believe that placing oneself among native speakers is the fastest way to learn a language regardless of how one was taught outside of that country. Especially here in the States, there are not a substantial amount of German speakers; even among family I was mocked and have since stopped practicing aloud when in the house! I hope to enhance my skills among native speakers so that I may become fluent myself. I already know that I will gain more by taking classes in Austria, because when in a different location, the brain is more active, alert, and interest is piqued substantially.
Along with German, I am also taking an art class for a Visual and Performing Arts credit. My field of study is not the arts, but I wanted a challenge. I set my last art class aside in hopes that over several semesters new options for regular credit would be available. The course soon turned into a burden rather than something to look forward to, but with the opportunity to study abroad I could take an upper level art course and still receive credit while being challenged.
Studying abroad provides a wide range of benefits: learning a language, travel opportunity, immersing oneself in a new culture, making friends, keeping an open mind, and enhancing résumé details. These experiences enhance one’s ability to accept new concepts, expand his or her worldview, develop new perspectives and change initial perceptions.