“It’s a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and gain new perspectives.”
Program: Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF)
Student’s Major: International Studies
Academic Life: The program allows you to take a variety of different AYF courses that are taught in German with other American students. You also have the opportunity to take University courses which are made up of both German and international students. Half of my classes were AYF classes and the other half political science university courses. Some of the University courses are also taught in English which helps when dealing with complex subject matter.
Housing: I lived in a “Wohngemeinschaft,” which is basically a shared apartment, where I had three other roommates who happened to all be Germans. I shared a bathroom with one other person and there was a communal kitchen. It was a great way to practice German on a daily basis by speaking and cooking with roommates.
Internship Abroad: I did an internship at the Federal German Military Archives. I worked with the department that is responsible for the former East German “Nationals Peoples Army.” I helped with the digitization of archive materials and also helped with the translation of English documents. It’s interesting to gain a perspective in a foreign work environment and it will definitely help you stand out to future employers. At times it was difficult communicating in a different language; however you have to go in with an open mind and accept that it will be a challenge. Sticking with it makes it feel that much better when you look back on your work with pride.
Benefits of Study Abroad: As an International Studies major I thought that it would be important to have a significant foreign experience during my time at UW. Learning a European perspective in regards to international affairs and global security was an invaluable experience and I expect it to help me in my future endeavors.
Tips for Future Students: Europe is going through social and political turmoil currently. Do not let this deter you from studying abroad; however I would recommend being vigilant and smart in regards to where you go and what you do.