Adventures as an Exchange Student in Germany (Personal Experience Essay)

Essay by Carolin810College, UndergraduateA+, November 2004

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Deliberately placing yourself outside of your comfort zone will do one of two things; make you into a stronger better person, or cause you to shutdown and not accomplish the task at hand. While most high school juniors spend their year studying, excelling in sports, hanging out with friends, and thinking about colleges, I pushed my boundaries and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. No, I did not go skydiving or join the US National Volleyball Team. I accepted the challenge of the Congress Bundestag Scholarship program to spend a year in Germany living, learning, and experiencing life in another land. The life skills and memories that I acquired in the past twelve months have put me a step ahead of my peers and shown me that if I put my mind to it, anything is possible.

In October 2002 as I was sitting in my first year German class, my teacher recommended that I apply for what she called the 'prestigious' Congress Bundestag Scholarship to spend a year in Germany.

Taking into consideration that I would have to leave everything I had going for me behind, made me a little leery of the idea. However, when I realized what an honor and opportunity it was to take part in an exchange, the mounds of paperwork seemed to shrink into a small homework assignment with a twist. After the final interview, reality hit me. I might actually spend a year in Germany! Along with the excitement came the panic: I can't actually speak German. What should I pack? How do I say goodbye to everyone? What if I get homesick? Do the Germans really only shower once a week? These questions all came at once, and no matter how much I searched, the only answers I could find told...