Cultural Adjustment, International Education Exchange Council (IEEC), Living Abroad, Student Life Abroad, Traveling

Should I Stay or Should I Go

December 17, 2014

Hallo Leute,

Once again, I am terrible with updates. So to sum the last month and half up here in Tübingen, Alles ist super!

Instead of writing about what’s been happening here, I want to write about something all study abroad students go through and that is dealing with Temporary Stay.

As a young student abroad student in Europe, I want to visit as many countries as I can in my year abroad because the countries are close and well…they’re there! You might as well go see the Eiffel Tower during a weekend road trip or something just as exciting. But what I realized is that with all this traveling, you barely have time to be with your new friends and/or get to know them. I’ve been in Germany since August, doing a tedious 6 weeks program with about 50 other Californian students. But I feel I have not made much connections with most of them. I admit, it gets a bit…frustrating when you are constantly surrounded by other Americans in a very small German town with not many young Germans to talk to. So since that and coming to Tübingen, I’ve been talking to a lot of other international students as it is something I’m familiar with since I’ve been involved with the IEEC for about 2 years. Unfortunately because of the international part, English seems to be the favorite language to speak in so my German speaking skills is what we all say, nicht so gut. Well about a month or so ago, I had to decide whether I wanted to stay in Tübingen or transfer to another university that would be more beneficial for my major, which is International Relations. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make because I would not see the friends I’ve made here as often as we want and also I’ve gotten close with my flatmates here. Not to mention the packing up everything again and moving and unpacking everything..again. It was so hard that I even contacted the OIP at SFSU for advice, which ended up being extremely helpful so if anyone is in doubt with anything, OIP has your back. In the end, I chose to transfer to the Universität Konstanz, located in a small lake town on the border of Switzerland. Although it will be hard to leave behind the amazing people I’ve met in Tübingen, it will also be a great opportunity for me to make a new adventure and meet even more awesome people.

Another thing is that I love to travel. As I said, I want to go as many countries as I can while I’m here so in 2 months (when our semester break starts) I will take off for a backpacking adventure around Europe that will last about 7 and half weeks. In those weeks, I hope to visit at least 10 countries before returning to Germany. I will be doing this mostly alone, but will be meeting up with all the internationals I’ve befriended with through the IEEC so that should give you another reason to join that organization. But because of my love for traveling, I do not have time for the friends in Tübingen. This is sometime I believe all of us adventurers will understand. It was already hard enough to leave behind home for a year but to continuously leave your (temporary) home is sometime else. I’m leaving behind my support group, those who are also away from home and find comfort with each other. I’m leaving behind people I’ve met through sport teams, partys, classes, even a trip to the supermarket. Although I’ve already traveled quite a bit before coming to Germany, this is different. It’s different because I realized my passion will always be in the way of something meaning to be longterm, may it be a friendship, relationship, or even the commitment to stay in the host country for the whole year and not half of it (since I’m always away). For me, it’s this never-ending fight of guilt and drive. Guilt for my drive to travel. Maybe it’s because I’m young and for the most part free. I’m only this young once in Europe or anywhere in the world and I feel the need to seize every moment before it’s too late. I think there is no end to this constant struggle. It’s just something you have to learn how to deal with and find ways to keep it balanced like you can travel all you want but you have to promise to visit your friends again. You can do so many different things anywhere but you have to call your parents and tell them all about it (well not all of it). This struggle is something I, amongst all abroad students, will face and how we deal with it will vary from quiet realization to the most emotional rollercoaster you will ever have in a 5 minute span. It’s exciting. It’s scary. But it’s part of our lives now and what we make of it will affect us forever.

That’s all I have for now until the next 2 months when I remember to update 😛 I don’t have any interesting pictures just yet, still waiting for the snow to fall! But enjoy a sneak peak of the 7 weeks travel plans!

Tschüss!

Julie

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