Next thing I knew, I had graduated high school and was attending orientation at UAH. We had been given dorm tours, talked with faculty and current students, and now we were registering for classes. It was frustrating, to say the least. Trying to balance project heavy classes and getting the professors older students recommended, and scheduling my honors classes just wasn’t working out. I finally got a decent schedule, but I was only taking 12 hours. I felt like that was a little lazy for my first semester of college, so I finally decided to take German 101. I figured it would be an easy A since I had had 3 German classes in high school, and I remembered most of the grammar. I would take the class and move on to engineering classes the next semester.
Well, I got my A, it was easy, but I didn’t leave German behind the next semester. Why? Because my passion for the language was rekindled. I found a core group in that 101 class that was intensely committed to mastering German. It was a group and an experience unlike anything I had ever taken part in. Claire Birkholz, KJ Kelly, and I became fast friends through our mutual interest in German. I remember talking with my professor, Dr. Rolf Goebel, about testing out of 101 because I previously taken German. He said that since I had been away from the language for a while, that it would probably be best to stay in 101. That advice was some of the best I have ever listened to. By staying in 101, I formed friendships with other freshmen in the class, strengthened my fundamentals, and gained a lot of confidence in my spoken German. That spring, I took German 102 and signed up for 201 the following fall. I also decided to go ahead and plan on doing a full German minor, which amounted to taking one German class each semester.
While taking German 201, I realized that I wanted to go study in Germany to really begin to understand the culture and test my language skills. I met with Dr. Johnson, the study abroad advisor, to discuss my options. As an aerospace engineering major, there weren’t many. None of the programs UAH had in place really fit what I wanted. The engineering classes that were offered abroad weren’t aerospace related, and the summer intensive German course was only 4 weeks long. At the end of the meeting, we agreed that Dr. Johnson would get in touch with Hochschule Bremen, which offered aerospace engineering, and that I would apply for a DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) for the summer of 2015. I also went ahead and applied for the Hundredfold Stipend for World Peace, which would cover the expensive of the 4 week intensive German course in Dusseldorf. A few days after the meeting, Dr. Johnson sent me information about the UAS7, a consortium of 7 applied science schools in Germany, of which Hochschule Bremen was a member. Through the UAS7, I could attend Hochschule Bremen without an exchange agreement in place between UAH and HS Bremen. I applied for the Study and Internship Program through the UAS7, which would give me approximately 10 months in Germany, with a semester of classes and an internship semester. I was selected for this program, and I was also selected for the Hundredfold Stipend, so I got to start off my Germany adventure with a month at the International Institute for Communication in Berlin studying German five hours a day.
I leave for Berlin on August 27th, to start my adventures in Germany. After that I head to Bremen to start my study semester. I don’t know where I’ll be at for my internship, but I’m hoping for someplace in southern Germany. Stay tuned for posts from Berlin!