Rachel studied on the Marburg: Philipps University, International Undergraduate Study Program in Fall 2016.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
Studying abroad gives you a new perspective. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been out of the country, but actually living in another country is another experience. I found that almost everything that I was used was different there. Because of this, I’ve been able to see new places, eat new foods, learn new subjects, meet new people, and so on. After this experience, I felt much more open to new and foreign things.
What specific factors influenced your decision to go abroad?
As someone who has German family and has been learning German for several years, I always knew that I wanted to live/study in Germany at one point of my life. Over and over again people have always said to me that the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself completely in it. As such, I wanted to improve my German while truly immersed in the culture. I also think that the allure of living somewhere new and different appealed to me.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest fears of going abroad was not fitting in and feeling like I didn’t belong. Thankfully, I found that talking with friends at home and really trying to think positively, I could go in with a good attitude. When I actually got here, I found that instead of thinking “everyone hates me,” I thought “I would like to get to know everyone” and that made a big difference. I’ve met so many great people that I’ve been able to be friends with and made so many memories. I’m so glad I came with an open mind.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most out of their study abroad experiences?
Try to do as many new things as you can. I loved discovering new places by just wandering off the path. Try foods that you can’t even pronounce. Talk to the locals and embrace your temporary new way of life. It can be easy to do the same things you did at home so try to do something different every single day.