Mein Jahr in Mannheim war mehr als ein Studium, es war eine Lebenserfahrung.
Rebeccah Dawson (Carrboro)
My experiences here in Mannheim, Germany have been some of the best of my life. It hasn’t been easy or comfortable all the time, but I truly believe that in my short time here, I’ve already learned so many valuable things. I’ve never lived in a country besides the one in which I was born until now. Living in a foreign country with a completely different language and culture has also taught me a great deal about being an adult- it has forced me to rely on my instincts and make my own mistakes. I am so grateful to all of the kind and generous inhabitants of Mannheim who have helped me transition into my life here.
One of the greatest aids in making my experience here so pleasant has been the wonderful apartment that was provided to me. It is such a nice place to live, and the location could not be any better. I feel so blessed to have been given such a gift, and I cannot express my thanks to the individuals who made this possible. The money that I’ve saved this semester on paying rent will allow me to travel and experience more new cultures, and it will also allow me to stay here and study for another semester! I cannot wait to see what is in store in the coming months, and it is such a relief to know that I am able to save some money to live on in the future, so again, thank you so much.
The biggest challenge for me living in Germany has been with navigation. In the city where I attend college in the United States, I own a car. In fact, I can’t even get to school except by driving myself. Additionally, anywhere I went in the city, or if I traveled to another area, I drove. I never used maps, only a GPS system that would simply tell me the way. Here in Germany I have no car, and I’ve been forced to learn to use both the highly effective transportation system here as well as maps. I got lost a lot in the beginning, but with time and help I am happy to report that I have developed basic navigational skills! Furthermore, I am no longer afraid to travel to a new city with only a map and basic logic, because I know that I now have the skills to find the right way.
My favorite thing about Germany, and Europe in general, is the majestic beauty of its architecture. Even in the most seemingly insignificant old building, there are subtle, beautiful designs that preserve a piece of history for everyone to treasure. All the time in Germany I’ll be walking down the street, and a building will catch my eye, and I have to take a moment to admire it. It is so fascinating to get to live in a place where these structures are more frequent than new buildings. I can see and feel so much rich history all around me, and it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced to live in a place like this.
I have traveled to several local towns so far, including Speyer, Frankfurt, Berlin, Heidelberg, and Baden-Baden. I am currently planning more trips to other towns in Germany, and I can’t wait. I am also organizing a trip shortly to other countries in Europe including the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Austria. I love to travel, and to see the lives of people of other cultures. I’m so excited to use the skills that I’ve acquired here in Mannheim in order to have safe, fun, and unforgettable travels in Germany and all of Europe!
I have been in Mannheim for two months, and already I am wondering how I will ever leave it. I have learned so many things from the people and the traditions of this city, and I know that I will treasure the experiences that I have had here for the rest of my life. For the first time, I feel like a truly independent adult, and I look forward to facing all of the blessings and the challenges that the future holds.