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Jillian Lahey, (BPE '12)

Over this past summer I have had the opportunity to study abroad in Kassel, Germany. I had so many emotions leading up to this trip; excited, nervous and skeptical to name a few. I have never taken a German language course in my life and I had never even heard of Kassel before.

HKR exchange students Jillian Lahey (left) and Emily-Ann Hynes (right) in GermanyWhen the time came and I wound up in Germany my mind was immediately put at ease. The people are so friendly and everyone for the most part speaks English so communicating was not a huge problem.

The school was well organized and there was a lot of support from other students and staff with my transition into another country and language. Dr. Kibele and his staff really made me feel at home and even allowed me to participate in some of their studies. I thought it was an amazing experience and one I could never replace.

Living in Germany itself was an experience. The great transit system allows you to travel anywhere in the city for free, when you pay your school tuition fees, and travelling to other countries was exceptionally cheap as well. The cost of living was comparable, and sometimes cheaper than the cost of living here in St. John's, and likewise for most groceries.

As for the social aspect, there is so much you can do! I lived in Germany during the 2012 Euro Cup. Although I did not travel to Poland or the Ukraine, I attended public viewings when Germany took the pitch, and it was amazing being immersed in the country's pride during these games. Along with the soccer, or football, culture I also had the opportunity to complete a windsurfing license, and go skydiving as well.

During my time in Germany I got to evaluate what was important to me in life, and think about my future plans. Their culture is not as fast paced or as rushed as ours, so it was nice to have that eye opening experience. I have grown from my experience and it helped define me. I would do another semester abroad in a heart beat, and I reccommend for people to have a serious look into this exchange program. You won't be disappointed.

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