I cannot believe that our two weeks are over! The time flew by and feels like it slipped right away from me! While most of the group traveled back home today, I am staying an extra week in Germany to travel a little more and to visit a friend who lives in Dusseldorf. While I am very excited to be able to stay in Germany, I will definitely miss everyone on this trip and miss exploring this beautiful country with them all. We had so many unique opportunities and experiences through the Plus3 program and learned so much in so many different ways. Working with German students for the two weeks, visiting sights like Dachau and Neuschwanstein, torturing our legs with the Münster climb, learning how to eat traditional Wiesswurst from our German friend Lara, eating endless amounts of European ice cream, and ending with the opportunity to go to Austria were only a few of the highlights from this trip! Every early morning, back pain, and struggle to my keep eyes open was more than worth it for the chance to see as much of this country and culture as we did over these two weeks.
To be honest, before leaving for this trip I wasn’t sure how much I would love Germany – I thought that I would like it enough, but it wouldn’t be as exciting as some of the other places that I have been to. I knew that it had its own unique culture and troubled history that would be interesting to learn about in-country; however, I never expected to be as captivated by the country as I am now. While I normally don’t enjoy being wrong, I am happy and grateful to say that on this trip I had the opportunity to be shocked and to be proven incorrect when it comes to my expectations of the richness and beauty of Germany and its culture. Now, I just can’t wait to continue exploring for the coming week and then for my next opportunity to return.
On this trip, there was never a dull moment. When we weren’t busy at company site visits, on city tours, or in lectures, we were hanging out with each other and exploring Germany on our own. Taking small excursions of our own led to the creation of experiences that have turned into new stories to remember and to smile or laugh about when we are all back in our different worlds back home. I will always remember our time playing pool at our favorite spot down the street, enjoying all of the delicious food and ice cream, getting lost in different parts of foreign cities and working together to get ourselves home, and all the other ways that we enjoyed Germany together. I think that the opportunity to meet a new community within Pitt is one of the most special parts of the Plus3 program, and one that I am very grateful for. The Plus3 Germany program fulfills PittBusiness’s mission of taking students “From the classroom. To the city. To the world,” and also shows the cycle of this mission. Just as we are moved from the classroom in Pittsburgh all the way to Germany, we will be moved all the way back to the Pittsburgh classroom in the fall. I predict that when the next semester comes around and everyone is back at school, we will all be integrated into the Pittsburgh classrooms in a new way – all with a larger Pitt community and new perspectives on the world. We will be able to rely on our unique business and engineering experiences as ways to enhance our understanding and participation in our classes, to think through difficult problems and to understand new material. We will also have a larger network of friends to reach out to for help or to hang out with on a boring afternoon. These outcomes are the magic of the Plus3 program and why it is known to be one of the most impressionable and memorable parts of any student’s time at the University of Pittsburgh.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the past two weeks in Germany with everyone on the trip and to learn all of the amazing things that I have during this time. I am looking forward to my extra week here and to returning to Pittsburgh in the fall. I owe many thanks to Pitt for this amazing opportunity, and special thanks to Dr. Feick, Arielle, and Sonja for making this program so wonderful! I will miss my time in Germany, and cannot wait to return someday!