Emily Laurence

“I learned so much about myself while abroad and became the independent person I needed to be.”

Program: Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF), Year

Student’s Majors: German, English

Emily (middle) and fellow AYFers in front of the Freiburg Münster

Academic Life: AYF provided many options for classroom experiences. We took classes at the Uni Freiburg, Pädagogische Hochschule (teacher school), and classes provided by the AYF program. Through these different options, there were opportunities to study amongst German students or with familiar faces of other study abroad students. I mostly took classes conducted in German, but was also able to take one class each semester (in English) that went toward my English major. I appreciated how much of my German major I could finish, while still working on my other major. It was definitely a challenge being in a German classroom, learning from a German professor, and presenting to/working with German students (in German) but it was rewarding on so many levels.

Most Memorable Experience: I participated in a program in Freiburg called “Rent an American.” With this program, I visited schools throughout the area and spoke with students about the differences between America and Germany. We discussed topics such as pop culture, food, sports, everyday life, etc. The program was set up to try to get rid of American stereotypes that the students would see on TV, in movies, and through music. While I taught them about my life, I in turn learned more about the city and the culture that I was living in.

Tips For Others Considering Study Abroad: You never know when you will have the chance to experience something again, so take the opportunity and enjoy it. Also, eat all of the unique food that you can, learn the local culture and language (it will really help you out), go on those random weekend trips, make sure to take the time to explore the city you are actually studying abroad in, keep friendships that you make, and remember to take a lot of pictures, but also know that a picture cannot always capture a memory.