Eine neue Perspektive

1 Mar

In the initial stages of my study abroad plans, all I cared about was going to Germany, and getting credits for Management.  I signed up for the IES European Union program assuming it was like any other study abroad program, having no idea what exactly it entailed.  Somehow I cluelessly walked in to, in my opinion, the best study abroad program I could have done.  Back in the US, learning about history and government was never enjoyable.  I love politics and my reverence for poli sci students borders on hero-worship, but learning about the US political system was more like shoving bamboo sticks under my fingernails.  Maybe it’s because I grew up there, maybe it’s because high school classes felt like a joke.  But being in the European Union, getting to go to the cities where all the major political action goes down.. I feel like for once in my life I’m enjoying what I’m learning.  So writing 10 page papers on banking risks and the devolution in the UK are certainly some of the low points of my college career, but the topics are (wonderfully) outside of my tight knit box of Management classes at home.

I always took for granted how secure I felt living in the US; I think 99% of Americans do. Freiburg is definitely no war zone, but there are problems on this side of the Atlantic that I would never even have to consider while living in the states.  There are scandalous political leaders beyond anything Bill Clinton could’ve pulled, fears of having your entire nations gas supply cut off, major civilians protests leading into civil war …The biggest news concerns at home were gas prices, the latest speech from the Tea Party, or who got arrested on Jersey Shore this week. I came into Germany thinking I would prove every stereotype about America wrong: Europeans find Americans obnoxious because we are so loud in public, weak because we are unable to tell it how it is to your face, and arrogant because we are US-centric.  Let me shoot down my own ego and admit to you here: every single one of those is true.  Being here has given me an amazing new perspective that has completely altered the way I view the world.

In five hours, my program is heading off on another field trip to Frankfurt, headquarters of the European Central Bank–the institution that sets the entire monetary policy for the 17 countries of the Eurozone–to discuss macroeconomics with a Senior Press Officer and a Principal Economist of the ECB.  Professor Holland, eat your heart out.  I haven’t been to Frankfurt since it kicked my butt on the way in with the 7 escalators and my 100 pounds of luggage–I have higher expectations this go around.  Then its off to Brussels and Paris for the rest of the week.  Like I said… best program ever.


One Response to “Eine neue Perspektive”

  1. Doris Block March 1, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    you are growing up tooo fast. oh well, guess it had to happen some time. awesome what all you are learning keep up the good work and your interesting writings. Love you, GDee

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