Study Abroad is officially over, but my time in Europe isn’t! I still have about a week left to enjoy, and I’d be going to Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna during that time. Much of my time spent was dedicated to sight seeing (unsurprising) and to eating great food (even less surprising).
Over all, I can say that my experience abroad has helped me learn more about myself. I’ve had a fun time exploring Europe with my fellow classmates, but I also gained a greater appreciation for the times I’ve spent on my own- I’m not the sort to do well with constant close contact, and this trip has only reinforced this idea in me. At the same time, I find that my patience has grown- staying together with the same people 24/7 for five weeks will do that to you.
The trip has also changed the way I see the landscape, and taught me a lot about the different ways we can change and design to better plan for the future, as well as manage every day life. It was made especially clear just how wasteful Americans tend to be when compared to the rest of the world, which was reflected even in the way Germans seem to shop for groceries, versus Americans. Produce and the like are usually bought the day they will be used, or only a day or to in advance. It is rare for things to sit in the fridge for a week or two, the way we tend to here. Groceries in Germany therefore do not last quite as long as groceries in America do- they aren’t expected to sit in storage for so long, so there is little to no need to add preservatives or engineer them to last so long.
I also have noticed a need for better planning in terms of bikes- the usage of bikes is growing, and yet infrastructure has yet to be built with them in mind in most places. It makes it a frustrating experience for bikers, who are in considerably more danger in America, where there are few bike lanes and the like, to Germany, where bike lanes and streets are generally ubiquitous.
I would recommend everyone to take the time to go abroad- it doesn’t have to be to study, but the experience of going to places with a different culture, learning how other people live, I strongly believe that these are all things that are important for people to experience things that are different from what they are used to, and step outside of their comfort zone, so that they may grow as a person. I know that it sounds general to say it, but it really is an experience everyone who can should strive to have.