Name: Kilian Glish
Major: Economics; Minor: German
Hometown: Troy, MI
Program: German Language and Culture in Mayen (Germany); Summer 2013
During my time abroad, I learned many things about myself, as well as German language and culture. The complete immersion in a foreign country is only possible through a study abroad experience, and is the only way to truly learn a foreign language. I am very grateful for the scholarship, without which I would have been severely limited in my ability to travel outside the program, which is an integral part of the study abroad experience.
Being completely immersed in a foreign culture allowed me to practice my language skills in an environment full of native speakers, who had no problems correcting my atrocious grammar and pronunciation. In the weeks leading up to the program, and through most of the first week, I was very nervous about how I would manage living in a foreign country. I was worried I would not be able to communicate well enough to enjoy my time in Germany and would end up missing out on the great things I have heard about study abroad experiences. These fears were quickly dispelled however, as I quickly and dramatically improved my speaking, comprehension, and writing abilities. I had taken several German classes before this program, but had never had the opportunity to visit Germany, this scholarship and study abroad program were essential to my further understanding of German language and culture.
My favorite example of the vast improvement on my language occurred on a weekend trip to Hamburg, Germany. I was at a restaurant watching the Champion’s League Final. The venue was so crowded that private seating was not an option, so I sat with a German family from the area. After about an hour of conversation, they asked me what my favorite soccer team was, but when I told them I am from America, and that soccer really isn’t that important to us, they were shocked to find out I wasn’t a native German, they genuinely believed I was a native speaker and didn’t believe me when I first informed them I was not. This improvement from where I started was only possible after being completely immersed in the German culture.