Reflection

Well guys, here goes my last blog post. I’m devastated just thinking about going back to work, taking summer classes, and not having anymore delicious Bavarian pretzels! Traveling to Germany through Plus3 has been one of the most phenomenal trips of my life. I’ve become so close to so many kids from Pitt and Germany and been able to experience all these amazing places in Germany and the norms of the culture. Besides my cravings for non-carbonated water, NJ bagels, and my comfy bed, I can’t say my trip to Germany was anything but perfect. And, I am still in awe at how punctual Germany’s transportation is. Oh, and that college has free tuition! Just imagining the idea of no student loans… who am I kidding!? But seriously, I have fallen in love with the cute city of Augsburg and definitely have to convince my mom to plan a family trip back to Germany!

Skills I didn’t necessarily expect to take away from this adventure were research and presentation skills. The final project we were assigned abroad was to complete an analysis of a company within the automotive industry. Although I have done online research for a project before, this was the first time in which I would have the opportunity to take a site visit to a company and listen to speeches, go on tours, and ask questions. I remember attending my site visit with a list of preset questions, but I ended up developing many more as the site visit went on. I was scrambling to take notes as everything occurred, and attempted to get a thorough grasp of my company’s current situation and future initiatives. Later, I had to organize all of the information with my group, and present a 20-minute long professional presentation to the rest of the students and some professors analyzing the company I was assigned. Afterwards, I realized how beneficial the project was to developing me as a student and a professional.

Something unique I saw, and loved, in Germany were the public pianos placed in the middle of public areas. I saw one in downtown Augsburg, at the University, and in Munich. People would simply sit down and play the piano for the publics enjoyment. Some pianists were even accompanied by a singer. It was a beautiful idea and added happiness and light to the atmosphere. I wish Pittsburgh had something like that. One thing that bothered me though was my inability to speak German. I have been abroad before and the only language I can speak is English, so this isn’t a new feeling to me. It is frustrating not being able to understand people, read signs (or menus), or truly emerge yourself in the German culture. However, having an advisor and some friends who speak or understand German made that problem much easier to bare. I also want to argue that Plus 3 Germany is the best Plus3 program because we get to interact with students from Germany! They helped us with anything from what to do in Augsburg, how to navigate, how to order, and talked with us about the norms of their life and German culture. They were in general though, some of the kindest, intelligent, and entertaining people to spend time with.

I just want to sign off by saying thank you to everyone who helped me attend this amazing trip and experienced it with me. And thanks to anyone who took the time to read my blogs! Hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Germany as much as I enjoyed being there (probably not though)!

Nikki

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