Grüße aus Deutschland! I have been in Germany for over a week now, and it has been nothing short of an adventure! I had intended to post an entry about my expectations for studying abroad prior to my departure; however, this ended up not happening as I had planned. While this entry is posted retrospectivley, it still encompasses all of my expectations for a semester in Regensburg, Germany.
No two study abroad experiences are the same. Ever. Varying backgrounds, locations, and goals ensure this. While I know that spending a semester in Germany will be filled with castles and cathedrals, I also know that it will not be a fairy tale. Despite the hardships I am sure to face, I still have three expectations for this semester. First, I expect to gain insight into the cultures of other countries (primairily Germany) in an effort to better understand my own. Second, I expect to meet people from backgrounds that contrast with my own and to learn as much as possible from them. Third, I expect to be placed in situations where I will have to utilize my intermediate-level competencies in reading, speaking, and comprehending the German language.
In the short period of time that I have been in Germany, I have already observed these expectations being meant in varying degrees. I definitely recommend establishing expectations and goals prior to studying abroad. Ask yourself: Why do I want (or need) to study abroad?