Throughout my Study Abroad experience in Germany, I have truly gained knowledge and understanding about new and different cultures. During our trip, we saw the most breathtaking views that you wouldn’t come across in your typical hometown. The food, places, people, and environment were better than I had imagined they would be. As this being my first time out of the country, I saw everything from a different point of view than ever before. The plane trips, subway and car rides were long, but it was worth every second to be able to get to these amazing hidden gems.

Our tours truly made our trip so meaningful because we were able to go places not a typical person walking on the street would be able to go. We saw castles and churches and even most of the Berlin Wall, and German to German border wall. It allowed me to take a step back and really respect all of what Germany has gone through, and how they have grown as a country to accept their past and strive for a better future.

I also went with a group of our team to a soccer game at the Olympic stadium that Hitler watched the Olympics’ at. It was the largest sporting event I have never been to, and the emotions in the air were unforgettable because of how much fun we all had. During our free time, the group would walk around to make the little moments of wandering around another country new and exciting.

When our group arrived in Wolfsburg, Germany, it was a shift in environment because that city was so small compared to Berlin, but in some ways it reminded me of home. It was amazing to tour Volkswagen because I was able to compare the plant there to the Chattanooga plant. I think one of my favorite things during our trip was connecting on such a deep level with the German students we met at Ostfalia University. They showed us around their city with pride and I am still connected with all of them through social media, hoping these friendships will last a lifetime.

Overall, I have grown as a person from this trip, I am more appreciative of the simple things here in America, but now I really have the need to keep traveling. My family and friends were so happy to hear all of the stories about my trip, and I am still really good friends with our entire UTC group that went. I was able to experience what I think is so important during your college years, and I will take all of the things I learned with me into the future.

Samantha Houston is majoring in Marketing and Entrepreneurship with a minor in Communication. She participated in a faculty-led trip to Germany through the College of Business in May, 2018. 

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