I really enjoyed my stay in Amsterdam and Berlin. I felt very refreshed and inspired again. I learned so much and met so many great people. This experience has been awe-inspiring, and I just want to stay for just another day or two. My favorite part was meeting new people. They’ve taught me a lot, and I’m less prone to fall into believing stereotypes. It seems sort of silly once you see the truth with your own eyes. I will continue to reflect on this trip for the rest of my life. Europe will definitely be seeing me again.
We arrived back to the U.S.A this Sunday night. As everyone has been trying to return to their daily lives or playing catch up on their sleep, it has been an amazing journey I will never forget and I have to admit I am missing it already!
I am thankful for this opportunity and my whole perspective on life has changed. I really enjoyed seeing the uniqueness of different countries outside the U.S.A. Now that I am back, I love sharing my experience with people, and one thing I had mentioned before going on this trip was that I wanted to take back the positives things to The States.
I am reminded everyday how America has lost their interpersonal skills to communicate due to technology. In Europe, you do not see people glued to their phone! They are simply gathered at the park, relaxing and having a conversation face-to-face. I noticed going out to some of the restaurants, that we were the only ones who took pictures of our food and had our phones out on the table. We do not realize how attached we are. In my opinion, I think that it was refreshing to see people without their phones.
In the two schools that we visited, I did not see many computers in the classrooms that we went to. When the students took a quiz, they used paper and pencil…not online. I liked this idea because one might say this is “old school” but I have to say this is how you really learn. It is sad not to be able to hear someone’s voice, because we choose to text. So maybe, we can change that by eliminating the use of cell-phones in public and live in the moment. We can check the texts later and enjoy the company upon us.
The transportation system was wonderful! When we were in Amsterdam, I probably saw about eight cars and people traveling with bikes and the train. This method helps promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle. I also noticed that there were a lot of high steps in restaurants and no elevator in schools. If we have the option to walk the steps or a few blocks down the road, we should take it. If we have the option to take the trolley or ride with a friend, we should do this too.
The languages also really impressed me. I was floored to hear so many! I had met an 18 yr. old student, who told me he spoke German, English, French, and is now learning Latin. I am very impressed overall with the education system in Germany. It is common to know more than three languages. How can we bring that here? We should encourage students to take more than one year of a language for better opportunities with not only jobs but with people-personal skills.
Here are just a few examples on the major things I’ve noticed I am happy to share. We can better our society if we do the certain steps of change and participate. Let us start today to change America!
Today we visited the Bückeburg palace, the royal decedent so still occupy the castle and open it up to the public for tours, and apparently movie shoots, as there was one filming at the time we were touring the castle. I find it amazing that this family is able to maintain this castle with the stunning gold doors, chapels, and beautiful ceiling painted murals. However, the most exciting thing I experienced at this palace was across the courtyard in front of the horse stables.
As we were making our way to the stables, a lovely horse and his trainer walked past us. I have always been afraid of horses, but as I feel I am coming to a place in my life where facing fears is inevitable, I asked to pet the horse. Although it was evident that the horse was well trained, it still took me quite a few minutes to muster up the courage to get near him. However, in the end I was able to pet him. It may not seem exciting or interesting to you, but as my racing heart calmed, once I touched the horse, I knew that I had accomplished a fear.
Later that day we had the opportunity to visit the Externstein and the grotto. The Externstien is famous because of its particular rock formation, which was caused by the melting of the ice around the rock after the ice age. There is a large amount of traces of human activity in this location, such as the carvings in the rocks. These features are probably what makes this rock so popular. We had a very informative guide lead us around the rock and teach us about theories about the markings and the possible meanings. However, I was very intrigued when she spoke about the grotto, and so very surprised when she opened the locked gate and let us inside. It was truly unexpected. Just imagine we were standing where people centuries ago stood. We were literally standing on ancient history.
After the tour we were able to explore the rock formation on our own. I climbed to the top of one and decided one is enough. As a result, I climbed down and rested at one of the park’s tables. As I sat there I thought about all the things that I had learned, and all the things that I will learn on this trip. In conclusion, I am happy with the decision I made to partake in West Georgia Technical College Study Abroad Program.