Lauren O’Connell
History Major, German Minor

My name is Lauren O’Connell and I spent the Spring 2015 semester at Phillips-Universität Marburg in Marburg, Germany. I chose Germany because I’ve been studying German at UMBC since my freshman year and I wanted to better my German skills. I’ve also wanted to visit Germany for some time because of its fascinating history and culture as well as the incredible natural scenery.Lauren_Oconnell

As a history major and a German minor, I was able to get credit for both of the history classes I took in German. My program also offered pre-semester intensive German courses for four hours a day, five days a week. So, even though a lot of people believe that studying abroad will cause them to get behind on credits, for me it was the opposite. Because of the classes I took, I’m actually ahead of where I would’ve been if I’d been at UMBC last semester.

Academically speaking, my German got a lot better, which was my main goal for my time abroad. Also, since German universities are much less structured than American ones, I learned how to manage my time better and how to keep up with my class material without any clear assignments.

I grew personally because I learned how to live in a different culture and how to adapt to a foreign environment. It’s a huge boost to your self-confidence to realize that you can live in a foreign country and function in everyday life there.

I would encourage anyone who can to spend a semester abroad because it’ll be the most amazing semester of your college career! I saw some of the most beautiful parts of Europe, ate awesome food and learned about subjects I’m interested in from a different perspective. Plus, I met people that I really connected with and made friends that I’ll keep in contact with for a long time to come. All of this and my semester in Germany was still my cheapest college semester so far! The only downside to studying abroad that I can think of is that you have to come home at the end.