When deciding where I wanted to study abroad, I desired to choose a city where I could be introduced to people and cultures from all over the world. Berlin fulfilled this desire and more allowing me to spend my semester in a truly international city. Often people told me that studying abroad was the best decision they’ve ever made, but I always disregarded this as hyperbolic nostalgia for a foreign place they once experienced. However, after four months living in Berlin, I can honestly say that these statements are not exaggeration as it turned out to be the best thing I have ever done for myself. Through the expansion of my world view I consider studying abroad the single most important experience in the lifelong process of bettering myself, aiding me in becoming a more complete individual.
Specific to my program in Berlin, I was afforded many great experiences through Humboldt University and AIFS. In the beginning, excursions to the most interesting places in the city were organized for the students, helping us to adapt to our new environment. Within the program, the academic course load was not overwhelming which afforded us time to explore Berlin and all it has to offer. This is very beneficial to students as Berlin is rich in history and culture, with it being nearly impossible to see all it has to offer in just a few months. All within a few kilometres of each other you can visit museums displaying pieces from the ancient world, landmarks erected in the eighteenth century, or modern sites ranging from the Second World War and fall of the Soviet Union.
Visiting landmarks is a great part of the Berlin experience, but what really makes them special is immersing yourself in the culture that was bred from them. This is what it truly means to study abroad as getting an intimate look into the way of life of those from a foreign country broadens your perspective on not only the world but your own country as well. The turbulent history of Germany makes you appreciative of the relative stability we have been accustomed to for so long in the United State. Conversely, the advancements they have made within their society inspire you to bring those improvements to your own communities.
The considerable expat presence within Berlin gives students the opportunity to interact and befriend peoples of countless nationalities. These people taught me about their cultures and the many unique aspects of them. Overall, this creates an atmosphere of acceptance which in turn made me a more accepting and educated person in everyday life in Berlin as well as back in my home country. This is the single most valuable thing I gained during my study abroad experience and why I consider it the single most important thing I have ever done to better myself as an individual, becoming a more complete person in the process.
Dallin Dunkleyl (BS Political Science) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in Berlin, Germany through AIFS. Dallin had the following to say about studying abroad, “Study Abroad, you go for the experiences, but leave with opportunities. If you choose to act upon them, Study Abroad can become the single most beneficial thing you will ever do.”
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