Studying Abroad in Esslingen, Germany with the Two Steps Ahead: International German Student Exchange Program

Hallo hallo! 
Willkommen auf meinem Reiseblog! As I am writing the first part of my blog series that is #sponsored by Education Abroad, I am two weeks away from my departure from Dulles Airport en route to the Stuttgart Airport in Germany. To give some background, I am a junior undergraduate student double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and German, and I am part of the Two Steps Ahead: International German Student Exchange Program. Essentially, for the past few years I have been brushing up on my language and engineering skills so that I would be prepared to study at Esslingen’s University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Esslingen). In Germany, they have different semester terms compared to our system of fall/spring semesters. They have instead winter/summer semesters, so for my “spring” semester, I will be in Germany from the beginning of March to mid-August. So, to use up the extended break I’ve had this January and February, I’ve been preparing for my long visit by researching the different fashion trends in Germany (you are safer abroad if you can blend in and not look like a tourist), gauging ahead of time what my new surroundings will look like, practicing German, and communicating finances with banks to make sure I will be set during my stay. Thankfully with Germany I haven’t had to apply for a student visa. With my U.S. passport I am allowed up to 90 days to stay in Germany, which in turn gives me enough time to apply for a residence permit which extends the time I’m allowed to stay as a student. Through everything mentioned above, I have been in close contact with UA and the Hochschule Esslingen to make sure I have all the documents I need ready to go, as well as figuring out accommodations and course selection. There’s quite a bit still on my checklist after that, but I am steadily weaning the list down. That isn’t all there is to preparation though; it’s not all logistics. I have been trying to arrange time to meet more with friends and family since I won’t be able to see them in person for quite some time. They have immensely helped in encouraging me and walking me through my doubts, and they’ve given me something to look forward to once I return. Traveling for so long won’t be easy, but in my mind the experience is worth it, and whatever happens, whatever obstacles or opportunities may come, it’s all a part of living life. Being a bit scared or nervous is normal, but I assure you that if you are considering studying abroad too, that that reluctance and hesitation will start to fade eventually! I have my own set of nerves now and then, but I am ready to set off on this new adventure and take hold of this opportunity to learn more about a people, language, and culture!