There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe how amazing this experience was. I have never had more fun learning about a topic than I did during this trip. It’s even better because psychology is something that I am passionate about, and being around others with the same passion made the trip incomparable. Dachau was definitely one of the most important and humbling places we went to during the trip. I never realized how much I take for granted each day, and the site made everything from history class all too real. There is no way we can justify what occurred there; nevertheless, it is our responsibility to talk about what we learned and how it still impacts us today. “Never Again” written on the wall of Dachau is definitely something that will resonate with me for years after this trip.
One of the main themes I found myself thinking about during this trip was the comparison between European life and American life. It was so hard to think about the different lifestyles and how it shapes our lives afterwards. For example, paying for grocery bags and the lack of free refills of any kind (water or soft drinks). It seems to me that Europe is very eco-conscious when it comes to their lifestyle; furthermore, it is something that I admire and told my loved ones about when I came home. There were so many things that were recycled material and hardly any plastic that I saw. I could tell that Europe is trying its best with their contribution to global warming and cleaning the Earth. It was hard to wrap my head around because there are so many things in America that would rather be caught dead than to charge for a grocery bag or switch to plastic straws. It has created Americans to be spoiled and ungrateful for what we have. I cannot even count how many times I said “wow no bag?”, “omg i have to pay for water here too?”, etc. There are things that Americans expect without having any regard to others or the planet. This has created a more aware state of mind for myself to watch what I do and to think about the lasting effects of mt actions.
There are so many different pieces of advice I could give to future students who are studying abroad. First, pack versatile things. Meaning. do not pack a pair of pants that can only be worn with one shirt. On that note, I would also recommend packing light. You can always (and will likely want to) buy clothes overseas. I was limited on the stuff I could buy simply because of the room in my suitcase. I would also recommend not planning every single day out. The best thing I could have done was just go with whatever other people wanted to do or just say “hey I want to do this later” and see who would go with you. I promise you will make more friends and lasting memories that way instead of being stuck to a schedule. Finally, just have fun. Don’t let one little thing ruin your whole day. The experiences you have are more than just experiences. You will always remember the good things, so don’t let the bad things get to you. I am so pleased with this trip, and I cannot say thank you enough to the people who I met on this trip for the memories I have now.
Kaci Landham (BS Psychology) spent Summer 2022 in England, Germany, and Austria as part of a faculty-led trip linked with a UTC course. Kaci had the following to say about study abroad, “Studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made. I have made lifelong friends with other students at UTC and also built a stronger connection with the faculty members that led the trip! If you’re on the fence about it, just go for it!!”
Share this post: