My name is Madeline Bunch, and I’m currently about to leave for Berlin. I’ve been learning German since 7th grade and am finally putting my knowledge to the test. I’m an upcoming sophomore who is majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in German. I was initially insanely excited to go on a trip to Germany for 5 weeks because it sounds like an amazing experience that I will remember forever. I’ve also never been to Europe before, so I thought this is the time to seize the day and take a step into the unknown. Then as the time neared, I soon became to get anxious about the trip. I thought of all the possible scenarios of things that could go wrong such as my luggage getting lost, planes getting canceled, or me not being able to adapt to the new environment. I also began to doubt my own knowledge of the German language. I’ve always done well in class, but I’ve never actually talked to a native German speaker let alone use my knowledge outside of the classroom. Then I had to rationalize it to myself. I have always tried to learn and retain as much German as possible, so even if I initially struggle, I must keep an open mind and continue to learn the whole trip. The second step besides getting over the mental block of myself was packing. I went to numerous websites trying to figure out what the daily clothing of a German is because the goal is to blend in as well as possible. It’s obviously hard to nail down the fashion of an entire country, but I found the internet very useful in deciding which clothes to bring and which I may need to buy. The other part of packing is the necessities such as all the documents you need, utilities, and other items you’d like to bring such as a camera or books. Once I put my mind to it, I felt much better about being prepared for this trip. I think people really underestimate how easy it is to doubt yourself and what you know. I’d never really thought much about it until I signed up for this trip. I still acknowledge there is so much for me to learn, but I also have to trust myself and the years of practice I’ve put in just for this very moment. So what I hope you take away from this post is that you must trust yourself, be willing to be critiqued, and constantly be trying to learn and absorb as much of the language and culture as possible.