My Study Abroad Experience

Coming home from coming abroad was definitely a culture shock for myself. I traveled abroad to Heidelberg Germany to study over the summer. I will admit, I had a hard time adjusting. Life in another country, even a country that has many similarities to my home country, the United States of America. I had gone to this country that I had been studying for years and I felt completely lost and out of my depth. I was homesick. I missed air conditioning. I missed eating bacon and eggs in the morning. I missed speaking english, my first language.

German, language which I studied for 9 years, escaped from my grasp. Dialects, colloquial language, and nuances were added at every turn. When my host father asked me to “Laufen mit mir” I told him I didn’t have the clothes for it and he definitely gave me a weird look, but I chalked it up to the fact that I learned most Germans were very active and fit. Later I learned that laufen meant to take a stroll not to go for a run in the area I was staying. Imagine my embarrassment when I found that out. Or when I got on a train going in the wrong direction and ended up in a city an hour in the other direction I needed to be in.

But it is important to understand, I may not have adjusted well especially in the beginning, but afterwards, and especially when I got back to the United States of America, I found that these experiences and stressful or embarrassing moments enriched my life and my experiences. 

No one can learn all there is to learn about a country without going and experiencing the culture themselves. No matter how prepared you think you are. No matter how much you have studied for the moment you get off a plane into a new culture. Drop your preconceived notions and just experience it. You may learn more than you ever imagined.