Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to make sure I chose a college that allowed me to study abroad. Of course, most programs allow you to, but I wanted to make sure I could do it without the possibility of falling behind in my studies, especially since my degree requires a lot of in-person engagement. Within that, the University of Michigan gives BFA Acting majors the opportunity to study abroad in the second semester of their Junior year. I happily decided to go to U of M and couldn't wait for the time when I have the opportunity to get a few months away from Ann Arbor (a city that I am very much in love with though). I am a firm believer in a growth mindset and that education is key to that. You must push yourself to new limits and always make an effort to engage your own curiosity; studying abroad is one of the biggest ways that is possible. My mentors, friends, and parents all have urged me to go out of my comfort zone and take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which is to experience a whole different culture while I'm on my collegiate journey.
I was also curious about the number of people of color who study abroad. 68.7% of students who study abroad are White while only 6.4% are Black. That number is shocking and instilled in me the determination to work diligently on my application, with the utmost care. I wanted to not just be a statistic, but I also wanted to be an inspiration to other people in the Black community to shoot for the stars. I was particularly drawn to Berlin, Germany’s Metropolitan and Urban Studies program after I took two years of German in High School. I loved the language and culture, which urged me to want to learn more about it initially. That being said, Germany also has a rich theatrical history that I’ve been studying for the past 5 years with Bertolt Brecht being one of my favorite playwrights; he combined the concepts of theatre with social change, something that I am actively wanting to do once I get out of college. He created art in response to the social and political climates of his time, and I believe that is the kind of art that is most impactful. Although I'm not studying theatre specifically in Berlin, I know that I will get the chance to engage in it while also learning about the history and evolution of Germany’s culture. I want to push myself in my academic, as well as artistic, studies, and studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to do that.
(And pictured above is a photo my family took of me at a German restaurant called The Dakota Inn Rathskeller. It was a final send off celebration where they thought I should at least try some German food before I left lol.)
Now, here we are on January 30th! I got through security at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and made my way to gate A30, eagerly awaiting to get on my first of two flights (Detroit -> Amsterdam, Amsterdam -> Berlin). I’m filled with nerves but also with boatloads of excitement given the fact that this will be the first time I’ve ever lived outside of Michigan. 4 months, in a completely different country that has its own ways of working. It has a completely different way of life in a sense and I’m so fascinated to see how I will fit into that over these next four months. Be on the lookout for blogs from me filled with the whole experience (unfiltered, honest, and a little crazy). I’m going to take the time to reflect on what is going to happen on this journey, with you by my side dear reader. With that, auf wiedersehen for now and see you in Berlin! :)
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I'm Myles and I'm a Junior BFA Acting Major at U of M! I've traveled to a variety of places such as New Zealand, Barcelona, Mexico, and France, but this will be my first time in Germany! I'm a HUGE Beyoncé fan and have tons of music recommendations!