If you are like me, you may have a lot of questions about studying abroad in the summer. Is it too short? Is it enough time to travel? Do you get full credits for the courses you take? Are there less places and courses to choose from? Do you get the full experience of being abroad? Well, my short answer to all of these questions is … yes. Like everything in life, studying abroad in the summer has its pros and its cons. Personally, studying aboard in the summer was the perfect way for me to gain experience, see the world, gain independence, and learn some valuable life skills, while earning some college credits along the way.
What was most appealing to me when I first started looking into studying aboard in the summer is the vast variety of places and subjects to study. There is no shortage of information to learn or places to experience. Over the past six weeks I have lived in Berlin, Germany studying language and culture. I feel I have learned as much as I could have learned in an entire semester, and I’m not just referencing to the classroom. I never felt like my options were limited in the subject areas I was interested in. While in Berlin, a city filled with history, culture, and new information at every corner, I have learned there are multiple angles to every story. While taking my courses in German language and Art history, I’ve been able to embrace the city from different vantage points, giving me a new appreciation for the German culture and history. I have never found myself out of things to do, or learn. Most importantly, I have never felt rushed.
Six weeks is, undoubtedly, a short period of time compared to a four-month semester or a twelve-week quarter. But it is by far longer then anyone would spend in one city on vacation. I had no doubt that I would be able to experience the city in as much depth as someone who would be here for a quarter or a semester long. I had some doubts and semi-unrealistic expectations about the amount of traveling I would accomplish during these six-weeks. I secretly wanted to travel to ten different cities, cramming two or more cities into a single weekend. I soon realized, not only was it not physically possible, but I would not get to enjoy them nearly as much compared to if I was selective and enjoyed one city a weekend. Many weekends I choose to stay in Berlin because there was so much to see and do! I learned that studying aboard is more then just checking off cities off of a list. Its more about what you make of the trips. I was able to take two amazing trips during my time in Germany. One with four girls from the program to Zurich, Switzerland. The other was with the program to a Baltic Seaside town called Rostock, Germany. None of these trips were planned. The spontaneous nature of the trips made them even more sweet. Traveling with no expectations and being wonderfully surprised by the adventures, wonderful memories, and the new opportunities allowed me to learn more about myself then I could ever in a meticulously planned out trip.
As courses are teaching their final lessons and final exams are approaching and I’m trying eating all the food I bought to make sure nothing goes to waste, while also visiting all of my favorite spots in the city one last time, I look back on my experience with a smile on my face. I would not add three more months to the experience because it was the perfect fit for me. I absorbed as much as I could in a city with centuries worth of history and culture. Living in a different country for six weeks gave me enough time to fully enjoy Berlin and all the culture and history it offers the world and has left me with enough stories I could write a book. So I will end with this, do not over look the summer study abroad programs. It may just change your life!
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hi, my name is Shea Decker-Jacoby and I am a Junior at Brandeis University. One of my main hobbies is simply walking around new areas and finding new places to eat. Some of my best memories during my college career have been with my best friends having a laugh.</p>