Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kristine Bornus Spends Five Weeks in Trier

This summer I had the privilege to study in Trier, Germany for five weeks. The summer study program was through Georgetown University and classes were held at the University of Trier. During my five weeks in Germany I stayed with a host family, which initially I was nervous about, but my host parents were great. They made my roommate and me breakfast and coffee in the morning, and my host mother provided us with plenty of sweets. I quickly found out that when I was offered a piece of cake that it meant two pieces of cake would be served to me-Good thing I had to do a lot of walking!

One of the hardest things to get used to in Germany was not the language, rather it was having to use the public transportation system. I lived in Igel, a small town about 20 minutes away from Trier, which meant an hour long bus ride to the university every day. I had to quickly learn what bus line to take and which buses from that bus line were traveling to Igel-Stressful for a person who is used to being able to drive everywhere!

The classes were taught by Georgetown professors, and English was not allowed to be used. That meant not only no English speaking, but also that all of our homework and papers had to be completely in German. I was also under a language contract that stated I was not allowed to speak English to my study abroad group members. Not being able to use English was sometimes a challenge, but it helped to create a full immersion into the language and ultimately helped me to feel less “foreign” in Germany.

If I had to pick one thing to be the highlight of my time in Germany, it would be the public viewings of the soccer games. It was amazing to see how excited the Germans got for each game and how it created a sense of national pride. Throughout Trier, cars would be decorated with German flags, people would paint their faces, and wear Germany colors-They made as big of a deal out of each soccer game as we do for the Super Bowl. Each win resulted in dancing in the streets and a big celebration.

I would recommend this program to other students who are considering studying abroad. This program was a perfect fit for me because I didn’t want to study abroad for a whole semester and Trier is in the area of Germany that my family is from. My advice: If your school doesn’t have a study abroad program that you are interested in, look online and research programs at other Universities because you just might find a program that is a perfect fit for you. Study abroad because you won’t regret it if you do, but will definitely regret it if you don’t!

Kristine Bornus