Student Spotlight: A Semester in Germany
Any major can study abroad! Meet Maire, a senior at Millersville studying Early Childhood/Special Education and German. Read her responses below about her experience thus far and how her time abroad gave her the opportunity to leave her comfort zone and try new things!
Get to Know Marie
Name: Marie Grutza
Major and/or Minor: Early Childhood/Special Education dual major with a minor in German
Host University/Program: International Undergraduate Study Program at Philipps-Universitatät Marburg
Host Country: Germany
Time period abroad: Spring 2017
Why did you choose to study abroad in Germany?
I studied German in high school and traveled to Ulm, Germany for three weeks through the German American Partnership Program. I fell in love with the country and the culture so it was a no-brainer for me to go back.
What is your favorite part about studying abroad so far? What is your least favorite?
This is tough…there are so many things I loved about studying abroad. One thing I really enjoyed was trying new things that were outside my comfortable zone. For example, I took all kinds of public transportation by myself when I have never taken public transportation before in my life, I tried new food, even when it looked and sounded disgusting, like goose liver and I made friends with strangers while sitting next to them on a plane. And I don’t think I have a least favorite part of studying abroad….there was always something positive in every negative situation I came across.
Describe something you did for the first time or a specific memory that you have about your time abroad.
One of my favorite memories was my traveling experience to Italy. My friends and I allotted extra time for travel to get to the airport, but we didn’t allot a full 2 hours when our bus was late. We looked into other options to get to the airport as fast as we could, but took a chance on the bus that we already paid for. It was a race against the clock when the bus pulled into the airport just 10 minutes before take-off. We sprinted through the airport like a scene in the movie, unsure if they would let us board the plane or not. As we turn the corner, we realize there is no plane in our terminal. We started to panic before realizing our plane had been delayed and hadn’t made it to the terminal yet. It was a miracle! After an hour of waiting in the airport, we boarded the plane to wait another hour before take-off because of the storms. When we arrived in Italy, (it was about midnight and we had been traveling since 7am) we took a taxi to our Airbnb…..except the taxi didn’t take us to our Airbnb, it dropped us off a few blocks away. It was about 1am and we had no internet or cell service to contact our host. We walked around, dragging our luggage, doing our best to read Italian street signs with no luck. We eventually came across someone who spoke English and we pointed us in the right direction. WHAT A DAY!
Did you get the chance to travel outside of your host country?
Yes!!! I traveled almost every weekend during my semester and stayed for about a month after the semester ended to travel. I traveled to Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Strasbourg, France; Zurich, Switzerland; Rome, Italy; Vatican City; Zadar, Croatia; Prague, Czeck Republic; Budapest, Hungary and Warsaw/Krakow, Poland
What did you miss most about the U.S.?
My family! I skyped with them as much as I could.
Why should other MU students study abroad?
I strongly encourage every student to study abroad, regardless of your major, because it will change your life! You will be pushed outside your comfort zone in the best way possible and do things you never imagined doing. I look back on my time abroad and wish I could relieve my experience every day…I never felt more alive!
What was your favorite thing about studying in Marburg?
Marburg is bigger than a town, but smaller than a city, and that was the perfect size for me! I lived in a small village about 15 minutes outside of town in the country side where I took a lot of hikes in the forest behind my dorm and enjoyed the peace and quiet. And just a bus ride away, I had my pick of restaurants & bars in the Altstadt and plenty of places to go shopping. Additionally, we could hop on a train and be in Frankfurt in just under an hour. Marburg is in the perfect location!
How did studying in Germany improve your language skills?
My language skills improved drastically because I practiced them every day. I was fully immersed in the language so hearing and speaking the language sharpened my language skills in no time.