Kristen Hylenski, CCSU @ Freiburg 1994-95
I had an outstanding year in Freiburg! I love the people Ive met. Ive loved traveling. Ive loved experiencing German culture and everyday life first hand. There is absolutely nothing as helpful to ones German as studying in a German speaking land. My year in Freiburg not only helped me personally, in the areas of character development and global awareness, but also profoundly influenced my future. I am starting my Ph.D. in German at Yale in fall 1996!
Jennifer Bouchard, SCSU @ Heidelberg 1993-94
This was the best year of my life. I was able to experience what it is like to be a student for the first time. In the US, I am always running from one place to the next. There is no time to enjoy life. Heidelberg is incredible!
Jennifer Wright, Hartt. School of Music (UHa) @ Stuttgart 1995-96
What I have enjoyed most is . . . People! People! People! New food, a new cultural sense of humor, the taste of another language, eloquent architecture, ancient castles, free concerts, the pianos at the music school, pizza in Italy, train travel, a new awareness of history and "the rest of the world out there, " German chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, traveling with friends, feeling at home in a wonderfully different place!
Nicholas Sinn, CCSU @ Heidelberg 1995-96
Broadening my horizon and experiencing a different lifestyle are perhaps the most rewarding experiences I have had.. Every day sheds new light on my life.
Daniel Doerr, SCSU @ Heidelberg 1995-96
I have enjoyed simply experiencing another culture. Not just food, entertainment, etc., but slowly gaining insight into German views and values, what Germans think of one another, other Europeans, etc. As a student of European history, it is extremely interesting for me to see how historical events still affect the consciousness of today. It has also been interesting and informative to see what people of other nations think about the US their prejudices, judgments, expectations of what American are like. It has caused me to rethink some of my opinions about America -- good and bad.
Alice Fritz, SCSU @ Konstanz, 1995-1996
I was very much afraid to move into a dorm . . .Much to my pleasant surprise, my dorm situation here is very much like the nicer apartment situations I have had at home. My roommates are very important to me. In a way they are a family to me. We cook together now and then, sometimes on a weekend one of us will bake a cake and we sit around with coffee and cake and chat about our week. No one demands that the others be sociable, but theres always some one there when one wants to be. They have helped me with my assignments and various problems of dealing with German red tape. I am glad that I have also been able to help, with English assignments or chocolate chip cookies. I think that without the dorm situation that I have here it would have been much harder to integrate myself, and much less enjoyable overall.
Cynthia Bruce, UCONN @ Tübingen 1992-93
I have learned so much about myself and my capabilities -- thanks to my year abroad. I have learned how to be independent and how to fend for myself . I became much more independent. As for insights, I realized this world is a big place and I want to get out and see and experience more of it.
Sarah Schneider, Connecticut College @ Konstanz, Spring 1993
I returned with many new insights especially a new appreciation for what is unique about the U.S as well as what makes Germany unique. I have more confidence since returning and most of all, Ive learned to be more straightforward with people. Thats because in a foreign language you have to be more directyour language skills, although decent, are not sophisticated enough to be subtle. . . . One high point of my semester, as silly as it may sound, was buying my used bicycle. I was so proud of my ugly, old bike because I did everything on my own to contact the seller and go look at it and then buy it. Its one of those things that would have been relatively easy back home, but in Germany I was intimidated by having to call up a complete stranger and discuss the price, where to meet, etc., all in German. But it all worked out, and I was able to sell my bike at the end of the semester and get some money back.
James Frey, UConn @ Karlsruhe, Wintersemester 1996-97
At first in Heidelberg [in September] I wondered "What the heck did I learn back at UConn?" Because I really couldnt understand the dialect at all. Now [February] I have no problems whatsoever. It took a little time to get used to -- is all.
Whats it like to study here? The structure is completely different. Here (Germany) there are almost no daily or weekly requirements in classes. Whether or not you go to class at all is entirely up to you. At the end of a semester, if you want a Schein or a grade, you have to ask to take a test. Can you imagine: Oh please, oh please may I take an exam?
I have met so many people through extra-curricular activities its fabulous. I also teach bicycle repair in the metal Werkstatt in the basement of my building Thursday nights. Tip: when you first move into your room at your university, invite your floor to coffee/teach and cake (Bake it yourself). I know this sounds funny, but it will pay off ten-fold in how fast you will meet all of these new faces.
So far this has been great. Throwing oneself into a new and different environment really forces one to exercise some of those old rusty brain cells. It challenges perspectives. They [the Germans] have radio and television tax here; just for owning one here you have to pay a monthly fee, for example. It really is a different mindset.
Jennifer Wright, Hartt School of Music (UHa) @ Stuttgart, 1996-97
The Heidelberg Language Program is a great thing. Its a good buffer for the first month in a strange country and prepares you a little bit for the shock of conducting all business in German. Its true that you may not learn a great amount, but you do learn some German! Its good to get a lot of initial scary questions about living in Germany answered there. Heidelberg is also a huge treat as a city. Mostly its a chance to meet other students and set a small base of friends together, who can all help each other later. Its also good to have these friends in Uni cities other than yours, because you have a good excuse to visit them and see the new city at the same time.
Monica Black, Connecticut College @ Heidelberg 1992-93
The BW-Exchange provided not only an invaluable cultural experience for me but also an excellent edge for entering the international job market. I was one of two candidates chosen from 240 for a position with Credit Suisse in New York City and professional studies in an applied international banking program with the German Chamber of Commerce.