Bethany: How Study Abroad gave me the chance to speak German in Germany

Bethany completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree in 2015 and is now studying a Bachelor of Science (Honours). In 2014, Bethany was given the opportunity to study in Germany, as part of her German Language and Culture class and USQ's Study Abroad program.


German is one of my majors at USQ as part of my degree, and Germany is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve never been overseas before and from the moment my German lecturer mentioned the opportunity to live and study an intensive language program in the university town of Göttingen for a month as part of USQ's Study Abroad program, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this amazing experience.

What I was most looking forward to was the opportunity to immerse myself in the German language and culture, to make some new friends and to see some of the incredible sights Germany has to offer, all while receiving credit towards my degree. Göttingen also has quite an amazing academic legacy: the Grimm brothers are among the university’s former lecturers and the town boasts over 40 Nobel Prize winners. That’s pretty impressive for a town roughly the size of Toowoomba!


The Goethe Insitut in Göttingen

As a first-time traveller, figuring out what I needed to for my trip was slightly overwhelming. Passport, plane tickets, travel insurance… the list goes on. And then there’s the luggage! I ended up packing a big coat, some (reasonably) sturdy shoes and enough clothes for every occasion I could think of.


My suitcase packed to the brim!

Although many people (including a large number of whom have never actually been to Germany) have assured me that most people in Germany speak English anyway, I brushed up on some German phrases I thought would come in handy when I was over there before leaving. Because I was going to Germany to improve my language skills, I felt that speaking English at every opportunity would be counterproductive, so I made sure that I could at least ask for help, for directions and for food. While I had to resort to English a couple of times throughout my trip (I’m far from fluent in German!) it was important to me to put my rudimentary, and probably often embarrassing, German to practice as much as possible.

If you’re interested in studying overseas, USQ has some fantastic opportunities, so, you should definitely look into it!

Find out more about USQ’s Study Abroad program or, if you’ve already planned your trip and are looking for tips on how to make the most of your experience, read Jasmine’s blog about studying in Germany.


Related:

Socks, jocks and luggage locks: study abroad essentials

Criteria for your carry-on as a USQ student abroad

Understanding culture shock