Overall, this was a fantastic experience for me. I’m so glad that I was given the opportunity to visit Germany and work with students from both Pitt and the Universität Augsburg. When asked what my favorite part of the trip is, I continuously answer, “All of it.” There wasn’t a moment on this trip that I didn’t enjoy. I would gladly return in a heartbeat, and I look forward to the next time I find myself in Europe.
I also enjoyed exploring the automotive industry and touring the many different factories that we visited. As I anticipated when I signed up for this trip, I learned about some different ways that people do things in Germany than in the US, such as the preparatory yellow and red light before the traffic light turns green and the abundance of public transportation. I will miss these two aspects of Germany along with many other things, like the rich Bavarian food and the beauty and walkability of cities. There are other things that I enjoy about returning to the US, such as the abundance of water fountains and the fact that I no longer have to convert Euros to Dollars in my head before deciding to make any purchases. Part of what made this trip so great for me was the fact that not everything was exactly the same as in the United States. I feel like I got to know the students on this trip better because we were all in the same boat, meaning that we were all in a foreign country where we didn’t know the language and where locals would look down on us when we asked them to speak English. The continuous sense of not entirely knowing what was going on yielded a strong sense of community among all the Pitt students.
For anyone who has not traveled to Europe before, I would strongly recommend it. Because the US is such a big country, it’s easy to travel inside our own country and stay safely within the national borders. Europe offers a much wider variety of culture and innovative thinking that differs from the United States. Europeans also use the metric system, which makes so much more sense than the imperial units that the US still clings to despite the fact that imperial units make everything harder. I believe that expanding one’s horizons can only improve a person by making them more aware of the world around them and giving them a broader understanding of the way others around the world think and act. It is for this reason that I was so excited to go to Germany in the first place, and I am extremely glad that I went. I’d like to thank my parents, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Universität Augsburg for providing this wonderful opportunity. I will always think fondly of my trip to Germany, and I will not soon forget the experiences I had nor the knowledge I gained on this trip.