Study Abroad: Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany, spring semester 2011
What is your major?
German Studies, with a music minor.
Where are you studying?
Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany.
How long will you be abroad?
A little over 11 months.
What type of courses are you taking?
I am taking courses at a German university with native German students. I'm also taking courses with other exchange students from around the world, and one class a semester with just the students in my program (American students from Minnesota and Indiana). Everything is taught in German.
What does your program consist of doing?
The only requirement my program has for its students is to take at least one class a semester at the university (we have to have a total number of credits for full time students in the U.S., but have the opportunity to take courses through a language institution with other exchange students). Other than that we just live here, go to school, soak up the culture, etc. My program is available if I have any questions or need help with anything, though.
What is your favorite memory from your study abroad experience?
So far it has been playing with a few local orchestras here. I brought my French horn, and have had some really amazing musical opportunities. One of my orchestras is traveling to Berlin this month, where we will be playing two concerts: one in the Berliner Dom, and the other in the Friedrichstadtpalast!
What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?
Brush aside all of your fears: will I graduate on time? How much will it put me in debt? Can I adjust to the culture? Am I going to miss my family/friends too much…and DO IT.
What is your favorite local landmark?
The Münster, or cathedral, in Freiburg. There is a market there every day, Monday-Saturday, where you can buy fresh fruits, veggies, meats, crafts, etc. that are grown/made in the region.
What are your living accommodations?
I am living in a student housing complex with three German university students.
What is your greatest challenge while being abroad?
Speaking German! I have befriended so many native English speakers, and the natives here love any excuse to practice their English. It's tough to remind them that I'm here trying to learn their language.
What skills have you acquired abroad?
I've definitely learned to be a lot more independent. My German and horn playing have both gotten a lot better, too.
Has studying abroad influenced your academic/career path?
I'm still on track to graduate on time. I would like to eventually be a German professor, so this is certainly helping that goal.
What were questions you were commonly asked by local residents?
Things like 'Where are you from? How long have you been here? How long are you here for? What do you study? Do you like it here?' are all very common.