Unreal. I think that’s the best word to describe how it feels to be able to prepare for a month of living and studying abroad in Leipzig, Germany.
I clearly remember opening the email and reading the word “Congratulations” followed by my acceptance into Temple’s Intensive German Language Program in Leipzig. I jumped up from my dining room table and immediately called my parents to tell them the news I had been so anxious to hear. Finally, after two high school exchange trips were canceled due to Covid, I was going to Germany! Unreal.
This would be my first time abroad, but I’m much more excited than nervous. All I wanted to do was get to the country I had wanted to visit for so long. This was especially important for me because I am studying to become a German teacher, and I know that being able to study abroad will allow me to better my language skills and teach me about life in Germany, which will help me to best teach my students. What better way is there to learn about culture and language than to experience it and be fully immersed in it?
It was important for me, though, to really look through and read all the materials Education Abroad provided us with so I could feel more confident as I prepared to leave. As my family and I worked through the pre-departure materials, we did tons of research on Germany, especially on Berlin and Leipzig, where I will be staying. And though many may think this was extremely boring, the more we read, the more excited I became, and the same thought kept going through my head: “I’m going to Germany!” Soon everything got checked off the list. Unreal.
After I got the confirmation email, it came time to book the flight. This was probably one of the most exciting things to actually do, as it meant I was getting closer and closer to Germany! I was so excited to finally get my ticket, and once we got the flight, my study abroad experience was literally tangible. Unreal.
Now it comes time for more of the smaller, but still important parts of preparing, such as making sure I have a plan for international calling and texting on my phone, budgeting for food, activities, and other purchases, finalizing plans, making a list of things to pack, and continuing to check the study abroad portal for updates. Also, with studying abroad during a pandemic, another component to this is checking on Germany’s rules and policies regarding things like masks and vaccinations. It has been so important to continue to stay on top of everything to make sure I am well prepared and to make the time leading up to departure much less hectic.
As I’m writing this, I think about how unreal it is that I am leaving so soon and how excited I am to have this experience. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to be able to focus on German for a whole month abroad, as I become fully immersed in the language and culture, and I’m so excited to make lifelong memories through this experience. Being able to say, “I’m going to Germany!” is something I have been waiting to really say for a long time, and I think now it is finally time to officially do so. Especially because now, everything is becoming so real.