It has almost been a week since I returned to New York City. I miss Freiburg and my friends that I made in the EU program, although I am glad to be back at home. As promised, here is my final blog post discussing the benefits I obtained from participating in this program.
This program helped me to learn more about the role the EU parliament, commission, and European council plays in the European Union. Prior to participating in this program, I had limited knowledge about how and who makes decisions in the European Union. Our visits to these institutions played a significant role in helping me to obtain knowledge about the decision-making process.
Additionally, this program allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone as I was able to visit approximately seven countries over the course of the semester. These countries included: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. I learned about political and economic issues in these countries which helped me to expand my knowledge on these topics in Europe.
The Model EU at the end of the semester is also a valuable experience that I will take from this program. I enjoyed playing the role of a foreign minister because it helped me to understand how states meet to negotiate on topics in the EU.
Aside from academic growth, this program also helped me to become more independent. The fact that I was living in Freiburg alone for an entire semester is evidence that I can now survive in a country where I have limited knowledge of the local language because most people also speak English! Before I went to Germany, my limited knowledge of German was of course a huge concern for my mom, however, I managed to get around the city very well. If you are thinking about participating in this program and have not studied German, please inform your parents that you will be fine because getting around town without speaking German is not difficult.
Thanks to this program, I also developed close friendships that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend this program to future students not only because you can travel to various countries all at once but also because you learn more about the EU as you visit institutions and interact with speakers who work in these institutions. Initially, I wanted to study abroad in Barcelona because I desired to improve my Spanish speaking skills. However, that program did not work out. Nonetheless, I am glad that I participated in this program because I was able to visit many countries, make amazing friends, and learn some basic words in German! It was a pleasure writing for IES Abroad this semester, if you have any more questions or need any additional advice on studying abroad in Freiburg, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].