A Bitte-sweet Goodbye

Oh Germany, where do I begin? I’m sitting at home now writing this, sad that I couldn’t stay longer. In just 2 weeks (actually 12 days), I’ve learned so much valuable information that will be with me and help me for the rest of my life. I’m insanely grateful for having this opportunity to study abroad in just my freshman year, which I believe has given me a headstart into understanding the globalization of business and technology first hand and interacting with different cultures.

Since returning to the US, I’ve found myself being able to talk for hours about Plus3 and what it’s done for me academically, socially, and culturally. Before the program, I really had no idea what to expect from the company visits, especially since I had no idea the companies even existed besides BMW. From day one of visits, I found them to be extremely insightful and useful into understanding the rapidly changing automotive industry. Visiting German companies specifically, it introduced me to an entirely new way of looking at consumer behavior and demands and the differences between how business is done in Germany and the US.

Squad at BMW

One of the goals I set for myself in my Plus3 application essays was to improve my communication and confidence. I can confidently say that these past 2 weeks in Germany have done this. From the start, 19 of us, most of whom had not spoken to each other before unless we were in the same presentation group, were thrown together and expected to get along for the next 2 weeks in another country. This was a bit unusual, but it forced me to learn to make good connections with people quickly. In Germany, we then met a whole other class of German students to communicate and work on a project with. This is something so unique to Plus3, which I believe dramatically improved my cross-cultural communication. I’m so happy me and the other American students were able to become friends with the German students (shoutout Maxi and Nikolas!).

Me and Maxi

My time in Germany introduced me to many firsts: my first time having German food like schnitzel and bratwurst, my first time understanding trains and managing delayed and canceled trains, my first time leaving the country without my family, and much, much more. The cultural immersion we were able to experience is something that I will be extremely grateful for and will apply to situations at work or school where understanding a different culture is a must.

First time trying Bratwurst mit Sauerkraut

Finishing this study abroad program has madeone thing clear for me—I’m not done studying abroad. I was unsure if I’d want to spend a whole semester abroad later in my time in college, but now I can say that is exactly what I need. Whether it is in Germany or another country, international experience and cultural immersion has become an even bigger passion of mine after this trip. I’m leaving Germany with clearer professional goals, more cultural competence, and a desire for challenges and adventure. Danke schön, Plus3 Germany. I hope this isn’t the last time I’ll get to use that phrase.

Few students + Steph and Korbinian on the balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle

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