Amelie Von Below

“I made some of the best friends I have ever had through this program and I can’t wait to go back and visit.”

Program: Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF), Academic Year

Student’s Majors: German, Finance

Amelie with friends hiking a mountain outside of Freiburg.

Academic Life: I took two German classes at the beginning of the year, but most of the classes I took were business classes. The classroom setting is very dependent on what type of classes you take. If you are taking a seminar, it will be a small class in which a lot of interaction is required. Besides a few classes offered specifically through AYF (only taken by other AYF students), my classes were taught in German and my classmates were mostly Germans, along with some other international students. In Germany, individual class periods are usually longer than in the U.S., but cumulatively you spend less time “at school.” Students are expected to study independently, and a lot of times there is little to no homework. This allows for more free time, but puts a lot more weight on the final exam or term paper that is usual to German university classes.

Internship: I had an internship at Verlag Herder, a local publishing company. I worked in online marketing for the education branch of the company. I made daily Facebook posts for two Facebook pages and did an analysis of the pages’ success (in terms of likes, shares and comments). I also did some work on InDesign to make fun pictures for Facebook. Knowing the business culture in a different country will be very valuable. Additionally, it can be hard to find internships at home, so having the exchange program help you while you are abroad was very helpful.

How Study Abroad Sets you Apart: It may sound cliche, but you really do gain a new perspective when you live in a foreign country for an entire year. You get used to the habits and the mindsets of the Germans around you, and only by going back to the U.S. do you realize that you have adopted some of these habits and mindsets. To me, students who have studied abroad are able to understand people who are different from themselves better, because they had to do so while they were abroad. I feel like I have become humbler and more open through this experience.