December 5, 2022

Studying abroad is weird. It is a weird thing to do. You are separate from your college experience while you are in it — you see everything from a distance, right before you dive back into it. You see the classes, the sleepless nights, the clubs and activities, the themed parties, all from a cobblestone street an ocean away.
Travel2I’ve done my very best to keep up with my friends at Wittenberg, with my friends in my hometown and with my family. I describe to them my struggles and my triumphs: I barely made it through intensive German courses; I used German to exchange a shirt all by myself. At some point, I realized I needed to keep with myself, too.
Studying abroad teaches you things you did not think it would teach you. I’ve learned how to ask a stranger — using my hands — how to use the bus. I’ve learned how to buy groceries for the week using just €10.00. I’ve learned how to acquaint myself with a foreign city by wandering about on foot.
I went abroad with a group of people I did not know. They were from Wittenberg, and they were strangers to me. We have eaten cold German dinner together, drank hostel-provided coffee together, gotten lost on the subway together. Today, we went kayaking on the Elbe River. It was miserable — rain, wind and cold. When we finally made it to shore, the men were shedding their layers for the women, who were busy warming each other. Soon, I was in a coat that wasn’t mine.
I am facing my senior year at Wittenberg. Some think it’s crazy to voluntarily leave our precious bit of territory in Springfield, Ohio. I thought I was doing something crazy before I left. I was right — being abroad is weird, and weird is good.

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