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Study Abroad: Germany | Valparaiso University

Hi! My name is Allison Schmidt and I am a junior biomechanical engineering major with a mathematics minor. I studied abroad this past summer at the study center in Reutlingen, Germany. When I was a freshman, my roommate could never do anything alone and dragged me along to a meeting in Gellerson about a Study Abroad opportunity. I heard about the chance to visit Germany for a month. As some of you could probably tell, my last name is German, and my great grandfather was born and lived in Germany for a good portion of his life. I thought this would be a super interesting opportunity to not only learn about the culture and history but also have some fun over the summer because you only go through your undergraduate degree once.

I studied abroad with the “Ethics on the Road” program. We took an ethics course while traveling throughout Germany, and also visiting other countries. Once we got to Germany, we rode multiple buses for a few hours to reachthe bus that would take us to our dormitory. I have a lot of favorite events that took place during my study abroad experience, but my overall favorite takeaway is the people who I met and how they helped me.


Another favorite from my trip was when we had the weekends to travel to new and exciting places. We visited Heidelberg, Munich, Garminsch-Partenkirchen, Paris, and Dachau. The first weekend we were there we visited Heidelberg, which is a city in Germany off of the Rhine River. We got to see a castle and spent the weekend on a cruise, wandering the city, and seeing the nightlife European cities have to offer. The next weekend we visited Garminsch-Partenkirchen, which is a small town in the Alps. We stayed in a hostel that was like an apartment on the top of a restaurant, and the architecture was the most beautiful art I had ever seen. I spent so much of my time admiring the buildings and the environment. We took a cable car to the top of the mountain and then climbed to the tallest peak in Germany where we took lots of pictures. After coming down from the mountains, we visited Dachau. This was the most impactful place I have ever been, being at a concentration camp, where the horrors of the Holocaust occurred was almost too emotional to bear. I believe that history is extremely important, and we need to learn about the past, even when it’s hard.


The next weekend we visited Munich, where we toured the city and got to shop at the famous farmers market. The architecture in Munich was also gorgeous and I enjoyed just being there and looking around. The last weekend we were in Europe we were allowed to plan our own travels and I decided to go to Paris. When I was in Paris I got to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe. I feel like it isn’t hard to tell that I enjoy architecture by the amount I speak of it, but Paris was so extremely beautiful and I truly spent most of my time walking around and looking and being content.


I truly enjoyed every second I spent during my Study Abroad experience, whether it was reading in the park, almost losing my phone on the bus, sleeping one hour a night because I was so excited about my experiences, or simply just learning and experiencing other cultures. I recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the opportunity to. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I could go on for hours about how it has benefited me.     

Allison 4 

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