Living in Germany

By Gabrielle Byko

Choosing to study abroad is no small decision for anyone. For me it meant spending my last year at CCSU away from my friends. However, I knew that opting to study abroad in my final year was the only decision I could make. I had always had a strong interest in Europe, and this was my last chance to take advantage of the opportunity to live abroad.

Gabrielle Byko

With any new experience you are going to face difficulties, as well as unexpected challenges. You come across even more of these obstacles when going to a foreign country where you do not speak their language strongly. I decided to study abroad in Germany, where upon arrival, I had only a very beginner's knowledge of the language. But I am not the type of person to be afraid of challenges, and was excited about taking on the ambitious task of learning German.

Despite the challenges that I have faced with the language barrier and some culture shock, the many benefits that I have experienced from living here have greatly outweighed any cost. Germany is a beautiful country with a very rich history, and a very convenient location. One of the advantages of living in central Europe is the influx of different cultures and the accessibility to travel. In my first 3 months in Europe I have traveled to 6 countries, with plans of seeing more in the coming months.

In addition, learning German has opened me up to a whole new way of thinking, and to a world of people to communicate with. Many of my classmates come from countries where they do not speak English. The one common bond that we all have is our ability to speak some German. If I didnít know German, I would not be able to talk with many of my new friends.

Deciding to go abroad for a semester, or even a year as I have chosen, is a hard decision, but I would recommend that everyone spend a portion of their college time abroad. Traveling to a new country introduces you to a new culture, while living there immerses you into a new lifestyle and you adopt a new culture that can only be appreciated by experiencing it first hand for a duration of time. From my experience abroad thus far, not only have a made new friends, and traveled to places I have only dreamed of, but I have tried things and grown in ways that I never would have if I stayed at home.