One of the better pictures of myself that I could find.
The time to go abroad has been fast approaching with less than a week away. I have spent the past few months preparing the documents that I will need from receiving my passport to getting insurance for both UWT and Germany. I have never traveled outside the country before now; it will be quite the jump going from never leaving my home country to living in a different country for six months. I have stayed in a dormitory alone while attending UWT so I am familiar with living by myself and being away from my family. However, I had the option of seeing them if I had wanted to as I was only about an hour away. I won’t have this luxury abroad.
Overall, I feel that I have been faring well on campus at UWT, but I have had a bit of trouble with certain aspects that I could work on while abroad. I will try to focus on keeping a better schedule of schoolwork, along with working on my general habit of procrastination. There is a stereotype that Germans have a culture of being incredibly punctual and orderly. I don’t know the accuracy of this depiction, but if it’s true, I hope these traits rub off on me.
I have wondered how I will be perceived when I arrive in Germany, and it made me start to think about how I am perceived in my community. I feel that my ethnicity does not have much of an impact on how people view me as the people that I associate with are fairly diverse. People have mistaken me as being part of a different ethnicity than I am, but it usually is not that much of an issue. In Germany, the fact that I am an American could lead to people having preconceived notions of me, in a similar way that I have of them of their supposed orderliness. I will need to be aware of these personal biases to avoid lumping groups of people together and get to know them as individuals.
It has been a bit of a process getting all the necessary preparations to travel abroad, and there is still paperwork to be done when I arrive in Germany. I got the necessary insurance and accounts, but I will still need to apply for a permit. I also had trouble opening a German bank account. However, I will have help when I arrive from an assigned buddy that will guide me through the process, and I am very grateful for their aid.
In the United States, I don’t have to learn a new language to interact with the majority of people, but in Germany, I will have to face this barrier of communication. I have been told that many Germans have great proficiency in English and that will be a great help when interacting with them. However, it would be unreasonable to expect every person I meet to be able to speak English and most writing will likely be in German. I will make the effort to learn German during my stay for the reason of not wanting everyone one to constantly accommodate me and from my own personal desire to speak and understand German beyond a basic level.
I am incredibly excited and nervous for this trip with it being a half-year long stay. I feel that I have prepared myself for the time I will spend there, along with the support of my buddy and the university, I believe that it will be a great experience!