Kate Schwen

“I came out of this experience with a desire to see new places and learn new things, and this opens up so many opportunities worldwide.”

Program: Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF)

Student’s Majors: Economics, Communication Arts

Kate sitting next to a picture of Madison in the middle of Freiburg.

Academic Life: The academic and classroom experience in the AYF program was a unique combination of being a part of the German university and being with other American students. All classes (both university classes and the AYF classes) were taught in the German language by German university professors. I took a mix of both types of classes. The AYF classes I took included a literature class, a history class, two German language classes, a renewable energy class, and a film class. At the actual university I took two sports nutrition classes, which were my favorite classes that have ever taken in my life! I ended up taking classes that I never would have thought to take back home at UW-Madison.

Advice to Someone Considering AYF: Don’t think about it too much. Go. It will change your life. It’s important to go for a full year- one semester is often not enough to learn the language or the culture. You will learn and grow so much. It is an amazing experience, so don’t let yourself miss it.

How Study Abroad Has Changed Her: I am so grateful for the cultural understanding I gained from studying abroad. I met people from around the world, and I learned about cultural differences in my classes as well. Most importantly, I learned what it is like to be a foreigner and non-native speaker. This helps to better understand international people who live in the United States. Whenever I meet someone from a different country, I know to a certain extent what they’re going through, and I can better understand what they’re feeling and what they need. This opens up so many new friendships and connections that I never would have made were it not for this experience.