The title of this post is one provided by Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher and leader of transcendentalism, among many other things. To me, this quote embodies this leap I have taken to fully immerse myself in another culture and system. For someone like me, this takes guts and motivation. Motivation to discover yourself through whatever means possible. At times, it can be scary, but in the end, you recognize what you are fully capable of in this world.
As I digress, I am using this post to focus now on the reason I came to Germany. The reason I opted to remove myself from familiarity and to transplant myself into the unfamiliar (for me, at least). I am the non-traditional student abroad. I am studying Kommunikationsdesign at the Fachhochschule – University of Applied Sciences in Trier Germany. This is almost reminiscent of a dream come true, as I’ve always wanted an excuse to live in Germany, to study and to [try to] learn the language first-hand. For the past 3+ months, this dream has been realized as I walk through the doors of the building known simply as the Paulusplatz.
The Paulusplatz is home to the visual arts: graphic design, interior design, and jewelry design. The closely neighboring Irminenfreihof is home to intermedial design and fashion design. In this small 1/2 kilometer block, amazing things happen – people are inspired to create visually stunning works of art. Life is starkly different, however, from that of a US university. Here, classes meet once each week for a 3 hour block. Students are expected to have work to show during each class period, but are encouraged to work at their own pace. Prior to attending classes at the FH-Trier, I had been expected to stick to a work schedule with each project. This made time-management easier, as I knew what I needed to have ready at the beginning of each class period. Here, it’s different. We are pushed to become our own Art Director in order to set our own deadlines and goals each week. We are expected to seek help in peers, in addition to the guidance of our professors. Although this is new to me, it pushes me to become self-motivated and more creative in my approaches. I have made more friends and put myself out there more than I had back at home. This is what studying abroad is all about, right? Finding yourself while out of your normal routine. For this, studying abroad has become the best opportunity that I have taken for myself. Every experience is different, and I strive to make every day count.