As I prepared to leave the United States for my abroad experience in Germany, I was still unknowing and unready for the adventures that awaited. The most difficult task (besides deciding what to pack) was saying goodbye to my family. It was incredibly hard, but I knew that if I wanted to further my career and intercultural understanding, this exchange semester would be an immense steppingstone in making that happen. 

After having arrived in Germany, I was in awe. The greatest culture shock for me was the utilization of public transport – though many people had their own private vehicles that they used to commute with, the vast majority of travel was conducted by the public trains. I naturally had to give it a go, as then I could say that in the span of 24 hours, I had ridden by plane, train, and automobile. The city was so gorgeous, the streets were well-kept and the locals were quite kind to me when I needed help. 

I met up with one of my friends I made while completing my internship this past year, she happens to be a local at Esslingen (my study abroad town). Fortunately, I arrived just in time to catch the last day of Fasching (the German equivalent to Mardi Gras). We watched the parade together, catching sweets every now and again, and watching as the parade members danced and waved by us. One of the parade members even drew on my face with ink, a common feature of the festivities. Once the parade ended, we decided to go grab something to eat, which is where I was able to try my first Döner Kebab (a very common German meal). 

As I think of what’s to be in the coming months, I am so grateful and appreciative in being given this opportunity to study abroad. I cannot wait for what else is in store and look forward to more adventures – bis später! 

  • After taking my connection from Atlanta to Amsterdam, I’m taking off here to Stuttgart!
  • Here is a bus station right above the train station in Esslingen, the smaller city of Stuttgart that I’m staying in.
  • One of my good friends lives in Esslingen, so we went to the local Faschings parade together.
  • During the parade, many locals dress up with wooden masks as witches or other mythical creatures.
  • It is common for the parade members to put ink on their hands and then draw on the faces of onlookers. I was unaware of this at the time, but I think she ultimately did a good job!
  • The parade members throw sweet treats. I was able to get a cinnamon roll-like snack from one of the floats. It was delicious!
  • After the parade, my friend and I decided to go grab some food. Here is me eating my first Döner Kebab!