On the Road -- A Year Sojourn in Germany with EDP student Mandela Avril
Last year, Mandela Avril, senior Theatre Arts/Business Administration-Marketing dual major, decided to spend his junior year in Osnabrück, Germany. The choice of Germany was actually more or less random since he did not want to go the usual Spain or France route. Experiencing life in another country had always been one of his goals and learning another language went along with that. Mandela proactively started to study German the summer before he actually took German I and II here at Fredonia.
Although it’s hard to sum up a year of life in a few paragraphs, Mandela feels that living in another country, on his own, has been one of his greatest accomplishments. “When you’re somewhere far away from familiar faces, away from anyone who would usually tell you the rights and wrongs of your decisions, you truly find out who you are!” He became fluent in German and secured a corporate marketing internship at “CLASS,” a German land machinery company. Through that experience he was able to work a trade show in Paris, France, and travel throughout Europe.
“To say that it was one awesome vacation would, of course, be a lie (not too far away from the truth, though),” said Mandela. Money management/finances were major issues; and since the program he experienced was very much “do it yourself,” he had to manage his bills and money so that he could live and travel. There was homesickness to contend with, days without speaking English, and McDonald's didn’t taste the same as it does in the States.
But to Mandela, it was surely worth the trip! “I do not and will not regret the decision to study abroad. I have done and seen things that will forever be with me. I also have a much clearer idea (more than ever) about my future and what I plan to do. I am excited for what the future holds and being abroad has definitely enhanced the excitement.”
Mandela’s advice to students who want to study abroad:
- Start your planning early and get your paperwork into the International Education office promptly.
- Once you’re “there”, manage your money by keeping close tabs on your finances and paying your bills in a timely fashion, especially if you are living in an apartment, not on a campus.
- No matter how much you look forward to being abroad, homesickness will be an issue, especially if you are away for more than one semester and are unable to fly home in between.