After an excruciating layover in Philadelphia (which, Eric, Josh, and I waited almost six hours for our flight to Harrisburg), I finally arrived home on May 19that approximately 9:30 P.M. Although I was glad to be home after traveling the entire day, I would have rather been back in Germany.
This program has been the most amazing trip I have ever taken in my life. I would like to take the time to thank the University of Pittsburgh, specifically Arielle, Dr. Feick, and Brad Miner, for making my dream come true and allowing me to pursue my passions. Another special thank you to Sonja and Simon from the University of Augsburg for organizing everything for us in Germany and allowing us to integrate into German culture. Thank you to Lena, Lucia, and Sara for being the bestgroup members ever, it was such a pleasure to work with you! One last thank you to everyone else in the Plus3 program – everyone made this trip so much more special for me and I am blessed to call you guys my friends. (And of course, a huge thank you to my family for supporting me in my endeavors, especially with Plus3).
I wish I could put into words the feelings I have about this program. I will try my best. I knew Plus3 was meant for me, it helped me fulfill my lifelong dream to travel to Germany, as well as delve deeper into the world of BMW, which rekindled a hidden flame for the car company I felt since I was ten years old. Because of this program, I started to re-evaluate my future. For a few years, I told myself my dream would be to live in New York or California, work for a huge company or bank, such as Apple or J.P. Morgan, and live my life in the United States. Now, I cannot imagine myself anywhere other than Europe – specifically, Germany. Despite my desire to master French at Pitt, I am more motivated than ever to learn German, so, I am now in the process of self-teaching German. Whether it is working for BMW or Deutsche Bank, part of me now knows I am meant to spend a few years of my life in Europe. Exciting, right?!
I have learned so much from Plus3. The company analysis terrified me, initially. I have never done a presentation that was as intensive and long as this one, but now I can confidently say I can do it again. In fact, when Dr. Feick asked us if we would do the trip over again even if we still had to do a presentation, I told him I would gladly present all five companies single-handedly, just to go back. It was relieving to see that my education is being put to good use, especially after applying everything I learned to real-world situations and companies. It is so much more different filling out a balance sheet for Starbucks or Chipotle from my accounting textbook, than analyzing BMW’s March 2018 balance sheet and incorporating the data into a presentation.
While I was in Germany, I was having the time of my life. Whenever I travel to Bosnia, Serbia, or Croatia to see my family, I am amazed by how people my age live. They walk wherever they need to go, everyone lives relatively close to each other, and for them it is so much easier to have an exciting day or night out, rather than just staying inside the house all day, as we oftentimes find ourselves doing. The same goes for Germany. Although we learned that Germans love to plan for the future and look at the big picture, it is also common for them to live in the moment. If someone wants to get coffee or ice cream quickly, it is so much easier to just walk down the street until you reach a café or ice cream stand (which are on every corner basically), rather than everyone hopping into cars and calculating how much time that will take, whether it is out of their way, mapping directions, you understand what I am trying to say. I love it.
I want to go back, ASAP – plain and simple. I was overtly upset to say goodbye to everyone at the Munich and Philadelphia airports, but I was assured that we would keep in touch over the summer and that the reunion dinner in the fall was going to come sooner than we would expect! I miss my German friends very much, but I am glad to say that I still keep in touch with most of them via social media. Also, if I forgot to mention earlier, I lost my driver’s license the first week of the trip, at a club. I was so sure I would never see it again, and that I would have to face the shameful, “You lost your license?” look from my dad when I told him I would need to go to PennDot. Yes, it was one of the biggest jokes of the trip. Luckily, Sonja messaged me as I was waiting for my flight to Harrisburg that she retrieved my license from Kesselhaus and mailed it to me! Another reason why Sonja is the best!
If you cannot tell, this is one of my longer blog posts because part of me recognizes that these blogs gives me a justifiable reason to talk and think about Germany 24/7. It sounds silly, I know, but this trip really had a huge impact on me. I go through my camera roll every day, thinking about the good old days. Funnily enough, I laughed to myself about something that happened while abroad, and my mom commented, “She’s still in Germany! Anna, time to come back to reality.” Nein danke, mutti!
Thankfully, I have Josh and Eric only a drive away. Just last weekend, we met up for a movie night to watch Forrest Gump (it came on at a bar one day; Eric and I have never seen it, so Josh graciously invited us over – it was so nice to see them!). Once again, I am thankful for the friends I made in Germany.
I guess now is the time to relieve myself of my blogging and wish everyone farewell. Thank you, Germany, for the time of my life, for giving me the greatest experience of my life, for strengthening old friendships and forging new ones, for enhancing my view of the world around me, and for giving me a glimpse of my new future (and future home!).
Mit viel Liebe,