Abroad in Germany – Pre-Departure and First Days
This summer I am studying abroad in Germany. I am spending 4 weeks in Berlin and 1 week in Munich as a part of the UA in Germany program. While in Berlin, I will study German at the Humboldt University.
My decision to go abroad was primarily influenced by my desire to see something new, coupled with my need to improve my skills with the German language by spending time immersed in the culture. I have never been out of the United States prior to this trip, and I felt that it was time to experience another culture firsthand. Since I am studying German, it made sense to visit Germany and improve my language skills.
My main concern with going abroad was culture shock. Though I have studied German for four semesters, I am not a perfect speaker and still have a somewhat limited vocabulary, so I was naturally concerned that I would be overwhelmed by the lack of English.
Having spent about a week abroad as of writing this post, I do not feel as concerned with studying abroad as I was before. It is somewhat challenging to constantly have to speak another language, however, most people speak English so it is not impossible to communicate if you struggle to get your message across.
I have begun to learn my way around Berlin, including the system of public transportation. Within my first few days I was asked for directions by a stranger, which gave me an opportunity to test both my communication skills and my knowledge of the subways.
I am enjoying the study abroad program here in Berlin, and UA has plenty of interesting excursions planned out in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing how my language skills will improve as I spend more time immersed in the culture.