Welcome to my Germany Blog! My name is Grace Levitt, and I am a junior double majoring in Chemistry and German. I started taking German at Wofford my senior year of high school, so coming into Wofford my freshman year I was already at the 300 level. For my freshman year interim, I traveled abroad to Munich, Germany and enrolled in a language intensive program in Munich, Germany. This was my first real experience with international travel, and instantly I was hooked. Knowing I had to do a semester abroad in a German speaking country as a requirement for my major, it was never really a question of “if” but “when” I was going to study abroad
I always knew that I was going to major in the STEM field. Coming to Wofford, I would often hear that it can be somewhat difficult to manage to fit a semester abroad into the very demanding schedule of a STEM major. I made it a point my first semester to start roughly planning my next four years of classes around studying abroad to make sure I would be able to fit a semester in Germany into my schedule.
Spring semester of my sophomore year, I began to seriously consider what programs I would be able to do, while keeping on track for my chemistry major. After learning about the rich history and culture of Germany from my Wofford classes, I became very interested in studying abroad for an entire academic year. However, I knew this goal would be a bit of a challenge since I would need to take some chemistry classes abroad, which can sometimes be difficult to get credits to transfer back. Additionally, studying abroad can be very expensive, but Wofford makes it very financially obtainable to study abroad by offering a plethora of scholarships for studying abroad. I was awarded the C. Yorke Lawson Cultural Immersion Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year, which helped me tremendously in affording an entire year abroad. The International Programs’ website was a very helpful resource when trying to decide what program I wanted to do. After looking through the programs offered in Germany and Austria, I decided to do the Middlebury School in Germany program. This program would allow me to directly enroll in the University of Mainz and gives me lots of flexibility in choosing the classes I want to take.
My program is a little different from some of the other ones offered by Wofford. I will be directly enrolling in classes through the University of Mainz. One of the things I am most nervous about is the difference in academic culture between Wofford and a German university. Additionally, all my classes will be taught in German, so I am also a little apprehensive about the adjustment period of learning my course content completely in a different language. I’m also a little nervous about adjusting to the cultural differences between Germany and the US, but I know that culture shock is something that most people experience while going abroad, and luckily, I already have some experience with German culture.
One reason that I chose to study abroad in Mainz was for its rich and extensive history. The city’s 2,000-year history goes all the way back to ancient Roman times. Seeing the 18th century palaces as well as attending performances at one of the six theaters in Mainz are activities that I am looking forward to experiencing while abroad. I am also very excited to be able to experience all of the amazing festivals like Weihnachtsmarkts and the amazing parades on Rosenmontag for Karneval.
I still have a little over a month before I leave for my program, which is a little late compared to most of the other programs that have start dates towards the beginning of September. While I am super grateful to have this extra time to spend with my family and friends, I can’t help but get a little antsy watching my peers leave for their programs, while I have to wait patiently for a few more weeks before I get to embark on an experience of a lifetime.