It can hardly be a surprise that when you are placed in a new situation, with new people, a new culture, and a new language that you are going to have to step outside of your comfort zone. I have been in Freiburg for two months now, and within the past week or so I’ve been really thinking more about what I have been learning about myself here. I have been constantly learning since I’ve come to Freiburg, and not everything I have learned can be quantified into directions to the market or different grammar structures or vocabulary. I have also been learning a lot about my abilities and what is important to me.
I would describe myself as an extroverted introvert. I love being around my friends and family, but there also comes times when I really need my own space or I have a hard time “putting myself out there”. I think this has been one of the biggest challenges for me being in Freiburg, but also one that has had the most payoff. I want to make the most of my time here and experience everything that I can, and that means being bold. To me that means saying yes to new things and not overthinking them. It means being the one to start a conversation instead of waiting for someone to talk to me. It means taking a deep breath and moving forward even when I am not totally sure of the next step. And, most importantly, it means having the confidence in myself to believe that I can do all of these things and that they will work out just fine even if it isn’t exactly what I expect.
So how have I been bold here in Freiburg? At first it was a very conscious thought process. I want to get to know my flatmates better, so that means I need to talk to them. Talking to them means not sitting in my room alone. So that means I need to sit in the kitchen where people often are and just start talking to them. It might seem so easy and natural to some people, but for me I really needed to think this out at first. Now I do things and as I am doing them I think, “Hey, this is something pretty bold and look at you doing it without a problem!” Big things like deciding spontaneously without a plan to go to Strasbourg with a friend or smaller things like ordering something at the market without rehearsing how to say it correctly in my head. It makes me really proud to be able to be here and not only survive, but also to thrive.
Perhaps the biggest example of being bold and listening to myself has been my decision to stay longer here in Freiburg. Our IES Abroad courses end on June 29th and my plan had originally been to fly home then. But the more time I have been spending in Freiburg the more I am realizing I can’t leave at the end of the IES Abroad courses. We have the opportunity to take university courses here and the university semester ends July 27th. Every time I thought about other friends who are staying for university courses I felt this kind of disappointment that I would be leaving this beautiful city a month earlier. When I booked my flight home I tried to find the latest one I could and even then I still felt so sad to click the book button. So this week I stopped and really thought about that. I thought about what it would be like to stay here and take a university course and to change my plans. And the thought of that excited me. It scared me a little bit, but mostly it made my heart swell and I knew that I needed to take action.
I started moving forward to make plans to stay here and everything has really clicked into place. I was able to find a university course that looked interesting, still had open places, and fit my schedule. I am in the process of switching my flight. I was able to re-arrange my starting date for my summer job. It was a flurry of decisions and actions the past few days, and when I went to bed the other night after everything was confirmed I had the biggest smile on my face and the biggest feeling of lightness, peace, and excitement in my chest. Being bold means being me. Because I am bold and I am ready for whatever comes next.
German Word of the Day: Mutig means bold, brave, or courageous
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<p>I am a sophomore German and Secondary Education major at Susquehanna University. Some of my favorite activities include reading, hiking and being outside, running, and yoga. I am actually a certified yoga teacher! I want to be a German teacher after I graduate. My favorite word in German is Glühbirne which means light bulb, but translates literally to "glowing pear"!</p>