Random words I will remember the most from my time abroad:Erasmus = what Europeans call study abroad students since this is the program that Europeans take part in when they study abroad
Queue = the British word for line...since most Europeans learn British English, they use this word all the time which is kinda funny to hear
Flanagans = the club in Cologne where we spent every Tuesday night, student night
Zülpicherplatz = where a ton of bars and clubs are located in Cologne, very close to the university campus
Mensa = the European word for the cafeteria on a college campus...food is very cheap and very good
Kölsch = the official beer of Cologne that is only popular in the region...it is a more bitter beer and is usually served in 0.2 liter glasses
Football = what everyone says instead of soccer
Currywurst = one of the most delicious street foods around...basically a bratwurst smothered in curry ketchup and topped with curry powder
Bankruptcy = we made fun of Thanos all the time for Greece's financial problems...he was a good sport about it though haha
free water at restaurants and drinking fountains everywhere
Little things I was looking forward to in the US before leaving Europe:
ice cubes in drinks
driving (it was so nice to be able to drive on the Autobahn)
chicken tenders...can't really find any there
stores being open on Sundays
speaking the same language as everyone else
not having a huge load of change in my pocket at all times
not having to rely on public transportation
eating dinner at 6pm rather than 8 or later
The most important things I learned: One of the most important things I learned while abroad is that the world is truly flat due to globalization. The influences on one country to the next are so apparent, such as seeing restaurants like McDonald's, Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut and Dunkin' Donuts all over Europe. What one country does, greatly affects another such as Greece's bankruptcy. And to cement this conclusion, when my plane from Europe was landing at O'Hare in Chicago, I looked out my window and saw that we were flying over a large T-Mobile (headquartered in Bonn) office building and there were a pair of huge DHL (also headquartered in Bonn) shipment planes stationed across from the airport. The amount of business and cultural influences on one country to the next was very interesting to see while abroad.
Another fact I learned is that no matter what country you're from or what cultural background you have, you have almost the same interests, hopes, aspirations and anxieties as people the same age around the world. We are all people trying to enjoy life and make the most out of it. I was surprised by how many similarities us Americans had to all the others on the exchange, which helped us all become very close.
What I will miss the most:
The people...by far. It won't be too difficult to visit cities/landmarks again, but I doubt I'll be able to see every single one of my friends I met abroad again. Since I've been back, I've kept in touch with many of them and some I'm sure I'll see again either when I go back to Europe some day or if they come to the US. Visiting different cities throughout Europe and seeing all the famous landmarks is awesome, but it's the daily life stuff that makes the study abroad experience what it is. It's the inside jokes, the stories and sharing the foreign experience with other people in the same situation that makes study abroad so great. The best memories from my time abroad are the memories I had with my friends from all over the world and my host family.
(my friends from the exchange)
(my host family and Patrick's grandparents at Christmas)
Well, that's it! Studying abroad will always be one of the best experiences of my life. I was so blessed to be able to go abroad, experience everything I did and meet so many great people. I learned a ton about myself and about the world. I have so many amazing memories from this trip and I hope to keep them alive with the help of this blog.
And a HUGE thank you to my parents for giving me the opportunity to study abroad...I would've never been able to do any of this if it wasn't for them!
I can definitely say, I lived the dream in Deutschland!!