Otters abroad!

Foreign exchange to Germany

Winter break at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) is over and many students have traveled far and wide around the state, across the country, and around the world. Some have taken advantage of options offered via the CSUMB Education Abroad Office to travel internationally and learn about a new culture and/or study a language and earn academic credit at the same time.

One such student is Blaze Ray, fourth year graduating senior majoring in social & behavioral sciences, with a concentration in sociology and minor in psychology. Despite having a late start at the beginning of the 2018 fall semester looking at study abroad options, Blaze was excited to join five other CSUMB students selected to participate in the 2019 Fulda, Germany winter study program.

The following are some questions asked to Ray at her base in Fulda, Germany midway through her study abroad experience.

The Lutrinae: Why did you choose to participate in the 2019 Fulda winter program?
Blaze Ray: First, let me say that I didn’t believe I could ever afford a study abroad opportunity. Going into my senior and final year at CSUMB, that was the only thing I regretted not doing. At the beginning of the fall semester, I decided to take a closer look at possibilities for the winter break and the only one available was the Fulda Program. I immediately went to an information session where I learned that not only did the short term program allow me to maintain my exact course of study, but stay on track for my planned graduation date.

The program also offered special waivers for a limited number of students that covered tuition costs and accommodations in Germany. I became very interested in the program right away. I had learned a little about German history in primary school and now being able to study in Europe seemed like a perfect opportunity to kick start my goal of learning more and gaining a better intercultural perspective.

What, so far, have been the benefits of studying abroad in Fulda?
An immediate benefit I’ve received from the Fulda winter program is the quick immersion into a culture completely different from my own. What has been so far an emotional experience has given me the long-term benefits of an expanded education, learning a new language and broader cultural worldview, and the making and building of friendships with individuals from around the world. This fast paced learning program – that I had previously thought would have been impossible for me – has expanded my knowledge of German culture, history and language more than I could have imagined.

Why do you believe a CSUMB student should consider participating in the Fulda, Germany program?
The Fulda, Germany study abroad program is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wishes to travel and gain a fully immersive international eye-opening experience. The short-term program is not only affordable, but is a great way to start travelling if one has not done so before. It is also great for a well-seasoned traveller interested in learning about and enjoying a new place. Germany – and Fulda in particular – are filled with so much rich history that it would be a shame for anyone not to take this opportunity.

The CSUMB Study Abroad Program is absolutely phenomenal. They have worked with students like me – who otherwise would not have been able to afford a trip like this – to have the experience of a lifetime. I have loved every second that I spent so far in Fulda and in the other towns visited, and have not stopped moving and learning since I arrived. I would recommend this program to anyone who wishes to travel and learn about another culture. All the professors, tutors and program operators have created a most wonderful experience, packed full with field trips, activities and academic knowledge.

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