On Friday, I leave for Europe. I will be leaving Lafayette, my friends, and my family for half a year. While that seems like a long time, I still feel like I was in China yesterday, and I know the time will fly again this semester.
My trip to Europe will be my fourth time abroad, but my first time doing so alone. I’ve been to Australia with People to People where teachers supervised us, I’ve been to Europe with Girl Scouts where leaders guided us, and I’ve been to China where Jason Sheng showed me his home. On Friday I will fly alone to Dresden, Germany to study and to the Netherlands to visit my friend Oleksiy Onishchenko ’12.
Lafayette provides amazing opportunities for engineers to study abroad, with 30% of engineers going abroad for a semester. Most students take the faculty-led programs to Bremen or Madrid, but I am blazing my own trail and going on a program through Boston University to Dresden.
In Dresden, I will be able to take an engineering class in German and live among people who are native speakers. I’ll be exposed to Sächsisch, the local dialect, and I will improve my German skills. Dresden is also a great starting point for day and weekend trips thanks to its proximity to Berlin and Prague.
On the verge of my departure, I feel it is fitting to lay out some goals for my week in the Netherlands and my semester in Dresden.
- Speak German as much as I can to become fluent
- Learn a little Dutch and Sächsisch
- See how people live and break down stereotypes
- See an opera
- Visit at least two new countries
- Go hiking in the Saxon Switzerland
- Pair my loves of engineering and German
- Take the time to explore and build longterm friendships
- Have fun and enjoy myself
And now I’m off to pack for the Netherlands and Germany. Stay tuned to catch my next post from Delft in the Netherlands, home to Delft Blue, Johannes Vermeer, and Delft University of Technology.