Author: Elisabeth Walters

Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Before leaving to come to Reutlingen in August, I was nervous and scared. The idea of leaving the country I call home to experience something new was, although exciting, also nerve wrecking. My mind kept replaying all the things that could go wrong. However, going out of my comfort zone was the best thing I could have done for myself.

By going out of my comfort zone, I have, firstly, seen the sights of the world from the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom. Secondly, I am able to say that I’ve tried swabian food from Germany and seafood from the Mediterranean Sea. Also, I am able to say that I have lived in a culture that varies from my own and I am able to compare the teaching styles of Germany to the United States. Another thing is that I have faced challenges that I would have never have faced back at home and I’ve learned important life lessons from those challenges.

Besides the lessons that I’ve learned, the most important thing is that throughout my study abroad semester I have made true friendships with people who live differently than me. I’m able to say that I have a home away from home because I have come to love the city I stayed in during my time in Germany. Also, during my stay in Reutlingen, I’ve made memories that I’ll be able to replay in my mind for the rest of my life as well as share with others.

Clara, Ethan, and I eating smores on top of Georgenberg

A couple of us celebrating Ethan’s birthday in Reutlingen

As my time in Germany comes to an end, I have realized that I am no longer the same person that I was when I came here in September. I have changed. I am no longer afraid to test the limits and go for what I want in life. I have also changed in regards to my cultural awareness. Having stayed in Germany for a few months, I can say that I am more aware of what is a stereotype of that culture and what is not. Lastly, the lessons I have learned, the memories I have made, and the friendships that have blossomed in Reutlingen are not ones that I am saying “goodbye” to, but simply saying “see you later”.