It’s hard to believe that in just ten short hours, I’ll be leaving my home in Spokane, Washington for Freiburg, Germany to participate in the European Union program. All the planning, the deliberating, the crowdfunding, the saving, the “can’t wait”-ing…has come down to this. And you know what? I don’t really know what to think.
I’m feeling a strange mixture of emotions not unlike the hours before I left for college at Santa Clara University. Because while I think I’ve packed myself into oblivion, I can’t always account for the “intangibles”–things that I need to “bring,” but for which I don’t always account. Things like patience. Things like curiosity, or a willingness to try new things, or a desire to be challenged. Or openness. (Talk about items more important than a toothbrush!)
Anyway, I’m excited to embark on the EU Program.
Of course, I might be most excited to study in Freiburg. A mid-sized university city, Freiburg is now at the forefront of Germany’s so-called energiewende (“energy transformation”), which is quickly turning Germany into a worldwide leader in solar and green energy production. Like many in Europe, the city relies heavily on a high-efficiency transit network, such as trams, streetcars, and a robust network of bike lanes. I can’t even explain my excitement at the opportunity to study in such a forward-looking urban environment. (Of course, of my interests is urban development and planning, so I suppose that makes sense…)
Even better, Freiburg lies on the same parallel as my hometown, Spokane, Washington, and it shares a climate zone with my western neighbor (and perhaps one of the most beautiful cities in the world), Seattle. As a native Pacific Northwesterner who studies in the San Francisco Bay Area (read: perpetually sunny and 75 degrees Fahrenheit), that’s a big plus. (I never realized how much I would miss the concept of seasons.) It means that I get to feel somewhat comfortable in a foreign environment–and that I get to experience one of the most beautiful autumns anywhere in the world in the Black Forest.
To be sure, there’s a lot to love about where I’m studying. Now I just have to get there.
So I’ll see you soon, Freiburg. I just hope you look as amazing in person as you do in the pictures.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Anthony Gill, and I am a junior from Spokane, Washington, USA and student at Santa Clara University studying in Freiburg, Germany in the European Union program. As a double-major in political science and economics, my interests lie in public policy, community development, and local government. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor adventure; especially hiking, skiing, wakeboarding, and swimming. This fall, I am excited to explore Europe while learning about international diplomacy and business.</span></p>