For this essay we have been tasked with talking about our personal abroad experience, what we learned, and some words of wisdom we can bestow unto others who wish to travel abroad or to Germany specifically. The study abroad trip was eye opening to the endless possibilities of career paths that are available to students currently studying business. The people we met, places we went to, and things we got to experience were incredible and unique in their own right.
The first piece of advice that I would give to anybody wanting to study abroad, do not look at things from an American perspective or compare what they have to American ideas, that will ruin your trip. Look at it through the lens of somebody who is ready and willing to experience and try new things to open their perspective as well as their perception of what life abroad is really like. For example, if you go to a restaurant, you will not have ice in your drink. Rather than sitting there brooding over the lack of ice, enjoy your food and the beautiful scenery or city life that surrounds the establishment.
My two favorite places we visited while in Germany were Potsdam and Cologne. Potsdam was by far the most beautiful landscape I have ever witnessed firsthand. It was calm, peaceful, and mostly uninterrupted by the outside world, at least the part that we visited. As for Cologne, what it ended up being was my original interpretation of most of Germany. The cobble stone streets, all the churches, and the wonderful little mom and pop shops felt very authentic to me, and I think it really helped me to appreciate and understand part of their culture and history.
As far as what I gained from the experience itself, it gave me a much better perspective of how other countries prioritize things. It seems in Germany, for lack of better words, they still work hard, but they play even harder. They are very professional people who have a very successful economy, but they are also people that understand the importance of leisure and recovery. In addition to this, take your perception of the people in other countries with a grain of salt, because often people are hyperbolic in their analysis of a body of people. Of course, the older generations in Germany are still going to be more “old school” which is more serious and less friendly, but the younger generations were very nice and open with us and seemed excited to host us for their meetings/presentations.
My last piece of advice would be to try everything. No matter if you view it as boring, scary, gross, whatever it may be, just try it once. Experience as much as you can handle. Take all the pictures you want but try to live in the moment rather than live in your phone. This experience was truly life changing and the way I will conduct myself as I further myself into my career as well as adulthood will surely be changed because of this trip.
Ayhan Munsuz (BS Management) spent spent part of May 2023 participating in a faculty-led trip to Germany through the Rollins College of Business. Ayhan had the following to say about studying abroad, “Take all the pictures you need, but please live in the moment, not in your phone. Experience as much as you can as often as you can.“
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