Today we sadly flew home. We left around 5:45 am which is relatively early. We all were able to fly from Munich to Charlotte together, but from there we went our separate ways. I personally flew back to Philadelphia with a few other students as it is closer to my home than Pittsburgh is.
I would like to touch upon a few key components on my time in Germany. First, I am so thankful to have been able to go on this trip. So thank you to my parents, Professor Feick, and Claire. This was my first time out of the country and it was an amazing experience which has made me want to travel to Europe again. This trip was definitely not long enough as I am sad to go but I know I have made some great memories and friends from it. It is unfortunate that the University of Augsburg does not have my major as I would love to study abroad here again. However, I am adamant in trying to study nearby or at least in Europe. This program definitely solidified that I will be studying abroad for a longer time hopefully in the near future. The German students made me feel welcome and not at all like a stranger. They were very helpful in all areas and did not make me feel stupid when asking a basic question
Germany was definitely a change of scenery from what we see back in the US. As the University is state funded it is not maintained as well as colleges in the US. This does correlate to how Germany itself looks as they do not maintain nature as much as we do. At first I found this odd but then it grew on me as it is definitely healthier for the planet to do so. Another thing I noticed which is an overall theme of my time at Germany is that their food is much healthier. As I said in an earlier blog post, even their McDonald’s is more healthy than ours. I thought I was crazy when I tried Coca Cola for the first time here and thought it tasted differently. I wasn’t going insane but learned that a main ingredient that is used in the drink is either banned or only allowed in small amounts in Germany, which is why it tasted differently. Germans also don’t like things too sweet. Everything we ate and drank in Germany I felt was less sweet than as it would be at home, which I am not complaining about.
One thing most US students may say they didn’t like about Germany was the water situation. The common form that water is given in Germany is as sparkling water, not still as it is given in the US. I, however, personally enjoy sparkling water and saw no issue with this. One thing I did not like however was how water was not free. I learned that the reason is because they are getting the water out of a bottle and not the tap and that is why it is not free. I also found that there weren’t any water fountains in public which made getting water more difficult. I sometimes felt myself being slightly dehydrated because of this. Another odd thing was that you most of the time had to pay to use the restroom. Even smoking is more popular in Germany. It was almost weird to see someone not smoking. It is the opposite in the US. Smoking is frowned upon back at home because of the health risks, but in Germany no one seems to care. Another component that was not enjoyable but it is entirely my fault is not knowing the language. I felt so out of place and arrogant for not learning the culture. I was afraid I was insulting people by not being able to speak any German. The only thing that was able to help was the fact that most Germans spoke English which made me feel a little bit better. However, I still felt terrible in not knowing anything and just expecting everyone to know English.
I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and wish I could start over and do it all again. I am very pleased with all of the memories and friends I have made and am excited to see what the future holds. I again am very thankful for this opportunity and hope to some day go back. Thank you Plus3 Germany you were the best!