Who knew two weeks could change a person so much? On May 31, I got on a plane in Atlanta, completely scared and afraid of what awaited me on the other side of the pond. When my program ended on June 16, I was confident in so many new found ways: in my ability to understand and transcend cultural differences, in my ability to pick up a new language and attempt to overcome language barriers, in my ability to navigate a foreign city on my own, and in other ways to numerous to list. I made new friends with students from all over the world, tried tons of new food (shout-out to the copious amounts of currywurst I ate!), and came into close contact with historical places and events I’ve only ever read about. I learned that losing your water bottle and camera is not the end of the world. I learned how to deal with a last-minute change of plans. I learned that sometimes it rains so hard that, despite a raincaot, umbrella, and some shelter, you will still get soaked and have standing water in your shoes. Most importantly, I finally realized that human beings, across cultures and languages and oceans, are, on the very basic level, the same. We share similar hopes and dreams. We love our families, our pets, sitting in the sun, and just being with life. We are all unique with our own talents and strengths, that can easily be combined into something great. These two weeks shattered my view of Europeans as these mystical, magical creatures of some unknown land and replaced it with a view of people just like me, living and loving and dreaming in a world much like my own. So thanks Germany, for new friends, new ideas, and new dreams. Thanks for a dream come true.

Dresen--The Semper Opera