I’m sitting here in my room with my bags packed and only 24 hours until I leave for Germany! For the next five months, I will be an exchange student at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, a diverse and modern city in southwest Germany. At the beginning of this school year I had no idea I would be spending my 2017 spring semester in the country I’ve always wanted to see. However, after a few life events, a little personal initiative, a lot of help from the OIE office, and thankfully some scholarship money, I’m almost there and I couldn’t be more excited! As a biological science major, I have decided to take some classes offered in Hohenheim’s prestigious Agricultural Science program, specifically relating to genetics, global food ethics, and conservation agriculture. While these classes will be taught in English, I am also looking forward to participating in a month long intensive German language class offered to international students, which will hopefully jump start my rusty language skills. And if that doesn’t do it, trying to keep up with my German roommates I’m sure will do the trick.
I know this experience will be a whirlwind of learning, of new highs and inevitable failures, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being at least a bit nervous. What if I get lost? What if I don’t pick up on the language fast enough? What do I do when I can’t eat Chick-fil-a?… Though I’ve never gone to Europe before, I have dealt with a lot of change in my life. I know by now that with every new experience there is always a level of uncertainty around things you can’t plan for, but it helps to remember there are also a lot of amazing things you can’t plan for either. My goal for this trip is to really immerse myself as a student in Germany. I want to become fluent in the language, make new friendships with Germans and other international students, travel a bit, try some new foods, and really take advantage of my classes to develop a more global perspective of agricultural sciences. I don’t know exactly how this experience will change me, but I am optimistic that it will be one to impact the rest of my life.