This is my advertisement slogan, when I try to recruit students for study abroad. It is a cliché, but it is also true. Study abroad has certainly changed my life – though I obviously got the whole thing wrong by not returning home (I left Freiburg for my year abroad 19 years ago, two states later, I am still here).
But even more rewarding and life-changing than studying abroad, has been working with study abroad students (before, during, and after their time abroad). One of these wonderful students is Sophia Cheng, another one, who forgot about the going back home part of study abroad. You can read her story in our MSU German Spotlight.
Sophia’s story is one that stays with you and changes you. I will never forget her study abroad interview for Freiburg, you just knew, that a life was about to change dramatically and a young woman was about to find her pathway to happiness. It has been a pleasure to watch it unfold. It should not surprise you then, that she has become the face of the Academic Year in Freiburg program by being on the banner of the Alumni Newsletter.
When I make my case for a year-long rather than a short-term or a one-semester study abroad program, I always tell my students that the year-long program has the great advantage to learn from your mistakes and build on your successes from the first semester during a second semester. As the Open Doors numbers suggest only few students take advantage of that option (0.3 % of US undergraduates, which represents 3% of those that study abroad during their undergraduate years).
I am delighted that during 2017-2018, I have the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and build on my success from my year as Resident Director 2013-2014. It is a great honor to be supporting and challenging (fördern und fordern) another group of those amazing 0.3% of US undergraduate students. We still have room for more students in our program and it is open to students from any US university. Check out our website: Academic Year in Freiburg Program
Naturally, I am also excited to get to spend time with my extended family, to be part of an incredible team in the AYF program, to work with the amazing AYF students, and to conduct more research on study abroad. And yes, we are excited for another season with the SC Freiburg and another World Cup watching marathon in Germany.