I can’t believe I’m back. I just spent four months in Freiburg, Germany in a study abroad program taking courses in environmental science and environmental studies for my IDEAS environmental engineering major. While students were studying at Lehigh for spring semester, I was studying here:
I can absolutely say it feels weird to be home. In Freiburg I biked for 15 minutes along a river to class everyday, as well as to the grocery store and out to eat and to the park and essentially everywhere imaginable. Fresh bread was offered on every corner, produce was cheap, and scoops of ice cream went for a euro! Now, back at Lehigh for summer, I am struggling to readjust, but making the best of it! There’s a new grocery store in South Bethlehem called C-Town that has super cheap produce, and I found an old, under-loved bike in my friend’s backyard. My ultimate goal is to get the bike working, attach a basket, and bike to the grocery store just like I did in Freiburg. People in Germany are a lot more wary of their ecological footprint, and I want to bring the trend here as much as I can.
Has study abroad changed me? Absolutely. On the weekends and for spring break I ended up traveling to Paris, Berlin, Salzburg, Vienna, Stuttgart, Diemeringen, Colmar, Alsace, the Swiss Alps, the Vosges Mountains, Budapest, Athens, and Santorini…all on a meager college student budget. In each city I can recall an experience that will forever be a warm and fulfilling memory. For instance, in Vienna I got to see the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (aka one of the best in the world) perform at a palace:
And in Stuttgart, I got to meet my third cousins for the first time and see the house my Oma grew up in and the church she was married in.
I feel the need to explain my experiences because I want whoever is reading this, be it a potential or current Lehigh student, to know that if you want to study abroad you can make it happen. I’m in the IDEAS program and could therefore incorporate my classes abroad into my humanities and social sciences requirements. I found an internship over winter break to save up for traveling, and then I was off. Study abroad is very intimidating, but totally doable, and absolutely worth it.