As a Global Engagement Fellow, I get to study abroad at least twice during my college years. After coming back from my semester in China, I started thinking about where I wanted to go for my second trip.
I decided that learning a language would be the most valuable thing I could get out of a study abroad trip, so I ruled out places that already spoke English, such as New Zealand and England. Secondly, I wanted to learn a European language, since I already speak an Asian language. Even though I have had some experience with learning Spanish, I decided to learn German instead. Practically speaking, German is a language connected to many opportunities in the STEM field, and is a powerful country in the hub of Europe. So, enrolled in German 1115 this semester to open up my options for studying abroad in Germany next year.
The first day of German class was like I had just walked off the plane in the Frankfurt airport, surrounded by clueless Americans (myself included) and trying to communicate with a tour guide who only spoke German. I never thought it would take so long to learn “My name is Ashlynne” and “I come from Texas.” We had name tags with prompts in case we forgot the sentences, but even after hearing my professor ask every single person one after the other, I hesitated and had to look down at my name tag when she finally asked me “Wie heißt du?” I had never experienced a complete immersion environment since I already knew some Chinese before I went to China, so it was a pretty exhilarating experience. When I finally was able to understand what she was staying (with the aid of her expressive hand motions), it was as if I had just discovered gravity. As the semester progressed of course, those “ah-ha” moments became pretty ordinary, as she pretty well maintained the “German-only” policy in class. Even though I feel like I learned a lot of German this semester, I know there’s still a lot more for me to learn. I look forward to studying abroad in Germany soon, and being able to speak more German!