It was the strangest feeling I have ever encountered…to be frightened, yet excited beyond words. The date was April 26, 2013. I kissed everyone goodbye and walked into my life’s most exhilarating experience! I left with 15 classmates and 2 teachers travelling to Pfullendorf, Germany for a 3 week exchange program. This trip was a culmination of 18 months of studying German language and culture, getting to know my German partner and hosting her in my home. It was my turn to journey into a foreign land that was the total opposite of my life in the big city.
Not only was I travelling thousands of miles away, but I had to live with a family that I never met and lead a totally different lifestyle. My biggest fear was not being able to leave. “What if I don’t like my host family??” “What if they don’t like me??” The thought was terrifying. Much to the contrary, it was exciting and enlightening. Life in Pfullendorf was like a different planet. There were few traffic lights. There was no traffic. Doors were left unlocked and visitors walked into homes unannounced. I had to learn to communicate with others, try new foods and find my way around because we walked everywhere.
What did I learn? There is no fear I can’t face! There is no challenge I can’t conquer! I learned that no matter how far I go, my family is with me. Going away to college and experiencing another new place and new people no longer scares me. The opportunity to venture out is even more enticing. My experiences in Germany developed a new sense of independence, curiosity and understanding. This will lead me into my future with anticipation and no fear as new adventures come my way!