My name is Donna and I am a rising junior majoring in Environmental Science and Policy. I was born and grew up in the Philippines the first twelve years of my life, then settled in Florida since then. I have never traveled back and this trip will be my first time heading out of the country. I have always wanted to travel abroad, learn other cultures and languages, but I never thought it was possible because of the financial costs and the meticulous documents that come with it. Fortunately, thanks to the GCP Study Abroad Scholarship I received from the Global Citizens Project, I’m able to afford going to the USF Summer in Germany program starting this Saturday, May 27th, along with financial aid from Pell and USF Grants.
I am very excited for this trip because of the immersion of German culture and language this program offers. We will be visiting the old castles of Germany, cities like Cologne and Aachen, restaurants to study its food cultures, and studying arts, multiculturalism, and economy of the country. Before, I was not interested with Germany, and it took meeting an international German friend for me to see how two cultures can be so different despite both being Western countries. On top of that, I have been wanting to be fluent in another language, and I used to think German is too difficult to learn, so I disregarded the option. My German friend proved me wrong. Don’t get me wrong, it is challenging, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. So I have been self-studying the language since the start of Spring, and hopefully, I am able to interact even just the basics. I have also joined the USF German Club at the same time too for inspiration and motivation.
Other than its culture and language, I have come to learn that Germany is green-friendly and has shifted to using renewable energy, which is related to my major. Even though the program itself deals more with learning its culture and language, I am also excited to see more of the environmental friendly programs Germany has to offer. I look forward to using its public transportation, among many others!
After this trip, I hope to minor in German, be fluent in the language, and take my Master’s in Germany. This trip will be a change for me, since I always stay at home and don’t go out often unless I’m invited. The picture above is a rare sight of me eating at a restaurant in Jacksonville along with my siblings (not shown), a trip that my sister planned. I hope that by studying abroad, I will be able to go out of my comfort zone daily, see the world with an adventurous lens, and be inspired!
So to all the fellow Bulls who are studying abroad this summer, best of luck and have fun! I’ll update everyone next week once I get to Germany this Sunday.