End of Program: Preparing for Re-Entry & Maintaining your International Connections

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”
-Winnie the Pooh

It’s almost time for me to leave Germany now. It’s Saturday today, and we’ll be leaving early on Thursday. I’ll miss this for sure. Here are some reflective question my school gave me that I think give some valuable incites into this experience:

  • What have you missed most about the United States?

-My family’s cats

-I appreciate the English language a lot more now, and miss the various words we have which talk about very similar things, except with subtle nuances. Please take the verbs, ‘drizzling’, ‘pouring’, ‘sprinkling’, and ‘raining buckets’ for example. All of these can be put under the umbrella term of ‘raining’ (or the German, ‘regen’). German doesn’t have as many of these words as English dose, although they do have words that English doesn’t have, ‘rieseln’ being one of them. It’s a verb for when snow falls to the ground slowly. What it ultimately comes down to is that the English Language stole a lot of words from other languages, so we have a lot of variety. This variety is what I miss, however, the straightforwardness of German words which get straight to the point make it much easier for me to understand it as a speaker who’s still learning the language.

-The sweet, dry weeds that grow in my state that smell wonderful when the dew hits them in the morning or in the afternoon when they’ve endured the heat of the mid-day sun

-Being able to call my over 101 year old  Aunt every day

-Politically correct ideas of Native Americans, as here their called ‘red skinned In’juns’. There’s a lot of blatantly wrong information about them over here in general, and some disrespectful public events, put on in the spirit of fun.

-Boudins sourdough bread

-Lower stamp prices as some of my friends are living back in the States now, so I won’t need international stamps when I go back, at least, until they go abroad again

-Supermarkets not selling condoms at the checkout lines, because I really don’t need to see that.


    • What will you miss about your host country when your return?

-Affordable food, housing, and tuition

-People not speaking German everywhere

-Not being able to hop on a train or two to see my relatives

-Not being able to see Shanderkahn, my relatives neighbor. He’s a horse~

-Towns being too big to walk around all of it on foot

-Milchreis, kaesestrengen, Spaghettieis, and cooking dinner with my friend in the evenings

-Being able to check up on my friend and give him hugs if he’s feeling down

-being close enough to visit the local animal shelter if I’m desperately cat deprived

-German public transit

-The stores. There is always something interesting to look at, or to buy. Hedgehog cup coasters, stickers with German phrases for letters, and four leaf clovers are amongst the things I’ve found at local stores.

    • Do you think you’ll experience reverse culture shock when you return?

-Only slightly. It’s going to be great to see my family again, but I suspect I’ll miss being as mobile as I was during my time in Marburg. I’ll also miss seeing what gems the stores have for sale, and being able to find a backer on every corner. I’ll also be unhappy to see all the trash on the ground, so I may just buy a pair of trash picking up gloves and change that myself. And of course, it’s going to take a while for my ears to get used to hearing English again. My relatives joked at the beginning of the semester that when I come back I won’t remember any English ^^; Just German.

    • Do you have a plan for how you can immerse back into home campus life and share your experience with family and friends?

-I plan on telling stories about my stay to my friends and family and the clubs I’m apart of back home (the Anime and Manga Club at my high school, and the Fencing club at my Uni).

-I want to make a scrapbook and also post more stories here about my stays in different cities.

-I’ll take the skills I learned here and try to apply them to life back home as well, which should help me adjust to the transition.

    • How do you plan to keep your study abroad experience as a key factor in your life; maintaining friendships, language skills, staying internationally engaged?

-First of all, I will continue to brush up on my German. I may buy an international phone plan like my brother has, so that I can call my relatives and talk to them in my morning (their evening).

-I would like to keep in contact with the friends I have made here via letters and e-mail, which shouldn’t be too hard. Letters come much more naturally to me but I’ll do my best!

-It would also be nice to stay updated on what kinds of things are going on here, so I may try to finally watch German news as my teachers have been telling me all along. That will only be feasible if the internet still works without Net Neutrality though, seeing as the FCC vetoed it yesterday.


Protect Net Neutrality



Sometimes important things happen when your away from home but you still feel like you need to do something about it.

I remember one of my German teachers, an East German, once say she was away on a business trip in the Nordics when the Berlin wall fell, and how it was one of the greatest regrets of her life that she couldn’t be in her country to celebrate it with her countrymen.

I feel this is something similar, only it’s not a good change. It’s a very bad one. And it would be nice to be home to call someone about it. Unfortunately though, I am not home to call someone about it. I cannot call anyone about it. So please, look into this and write to congress and call them before it’s too late, not only for me, but for everyone who uses the internet. Because if it gets passed in the United States, other companies in other countries will try to pass similar laws too, and nobody wants to be trapped in one place by paywalls.

Save the internet: