Hallo! Ich heiße (Hello! I’m) Crystal, and I’m an undergraduate English student double minoring in German Studies and Linguistics. I will be graduating in December and plan to pursue graduate study in Applied Linguistics. I am studying abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany this summer, an experience I’ve been dreaming about since my first WOW (Week of Welcome) at USF. And thanks to the Genshaft/Greenbaum Passport Scholarship, that dream is finally becoming a reality.
Honestly, it hasn’t quite set in yet that I will be leaving in a little over a month. It feels like there is so much for me to do beforehand, unrelated to the trip, such as GRE and grad school prep that I haven’t been able to successfully count down the days until the trip. This is most likely a good thing since I’m sure my suitcase would have been packed and repacked probably a dozen times before my departure date. Excitement and nerves come in alternating bouts when I’m doing anything related to the trip, whether glancing through my travel guides or shopping for necessities or just tossing around in bed imagining myself on that nine-hour flight.
There are so many things that I’m eager to experience and hope to accomplish while abroad that I couldn’t possibly write them all down without getting at least a few eye rolls and sighs of exasperation. Therefore, here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to soon during my four weeks of exploring Germany!
Germany has such a rich history and culture that is evident wherever you go. The modern city can often blend into the Altstadt (“old city”) seamlessly. Part of the Düsseldorf trip involves traveling to other cities, such as Köln (Cologne) and Aachen, to view the magnificent cathedrals and museums.
I was once told that you should never travel anywhere you wouldn’t enjoy the food. Need I say more?
Leisure time to explore Germany is a definite must! There are so many interesting places that I’ve learned about in class and that are described in my German travel guides that I’m still unsure of what to see or visit during my spare time. Top cities on my list are Freiburg, Frankfurt am Main, and Dresden. I’m open to ideas, so please feel free to comment with suggestions.
“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”
More than anything, I’m ready to really put my German language skills to the test and work on my oral fluency. While I know that many Germans speak English well, especially in the cities, I hope that I get many opportunities to embarrassingly fumble over my words and make mistakes. I figure I can get away with practicing my German if, on occasion, I can convincingly, with a straight face and no giggles, portray myself as solely a Spanish speaker. I don’t think I can pull it off, but I’ll let you know!