Mein Jahr in Mannheim war mehr als ein Studium, es war eine Lebenserfahrung.
Rebeccah Dawson (Carrboro)
My name is Kristin Yaworski and I am currently a graduate student at both the University of Waterloo and Universität Mannheim in the Intercultural Studies in German masters program. Upon arriving in Mannheim I was told that I was the recipient of scholarships and financing which would enable me to offset the costs of studying abroad. This generous support is the purpose behind my thank you note: I would like to sincerely thank the individuals who made this financing possible. Graduate studies in general, but especially abroad, can be incredibly stressful as well as costly. Having funds made available to me definitely relieved some of my stress while studying, and in turn allowed me to better focus on my studies.
At Universität Mannheim I have been able to take a number of courses that appeal to my research interests and would likely have been unavailable to me in Canada. On top of the diversity in courses, I have noticed a definitive improvement in my language abilities. Being surrounded by German on a day-to-day basis has finally led to me developing a fluency in the language which I know would have been unachievable for me in Canada. This fluency has also led me to feel a certain level of confidence in speaking German. Successful communication in my everyday Mannheim life has motivated me to consider pursuing a future career in Germany upon completing my studies, something that would have been unthinkable a number of months ago.
In addition to living in Mannheim and becoming accustomed to life here, I have been able to use the city as the perfect point of departure for a number of travels across Germany. In fact, I have made it my personal goal to visit one city in every Bundesland in order to try and gain a clearer image and understanding of life and culture in Germany. Discovering the regional differences within Germany has encouraged me to reflect upon the make-up of my own identity. I am questioning more and more what it is that determines a national identity and how I can live as an individual between cultures. Moreover, travelling the country means I am able to explore and take-in the same cities and environments which shaped some of my favourite German authors and artists.
In conclusion, I would like to say that without financial support, I am unsure that my experience in Mannheim would be as gratifying as it has been. Without the burden of financial stress, I have been free to focus on my studies, my language abilities and, finally, my future career.