Alyssiah Green: "I was the first one in my family to get a passport, and after this experience, I will always encourage people to find the opportunity to go abroad"

Programs for this blog post

January in Berlin

Authored By:

CIEE Berlin

Even though a few months have passed since the Alyssiah, student from J-Term studiend in Berlin, we wanted to share part of her experience with you all!

Alyssiah Green is originally from Alaska but goes to school in Omaha, Nebraska at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. She is studying Molecular and Biomedical Biology with a double major in Music Entrepreneurship. Here, Alyssiah tell us more about her experience studying in Berlin for 3 weeks during January 2024, where She got the opportunity to meet new students and also get to know the city, and even travel to new destinations!

Why did you decide to study abroad in Berlin?

I was actually referred to this program by a friend who recommended that I go to Berlin because of all the history. Berlin was also an amazing location to travel to a couple other countries during my stay. It was really important to me to be able to travel because I was the first person in my family to ever leave the country and even obtain a passport, so a good location for exploration and really getting to know the culture was what I was looking for. With further research, I found that Berlin is a start-up hub and really wanted to learn more on those aspects as I want to start programs around music and clinical settings within different countries.

Could you tell us more about your experience in Berlin?

I really did enjoy Berlin and all the sights there were to see. I was never a huge person on history or big city vibes, but I thought it was important to go somewhere that would better this side of myself. The community within Germany is quite amazing and locals are very friendly who want to teach travelers about their city. Berlin is a really great hub and I recommend anyone to visit Berlin because of the community and sites to see, even if you are not a big history person. Berlin’s ever-changing environment really helps travelers to feel welcomed and I enjoyed being able to just get into custom with the culture. With the other countries I traveled to like Italy, you just kinda always felt like a tourist. Being able to get so involved within a culture helped for me to immerse myself into an unfamiliar environment as I have been the only one in my family to leave the United States. Germans are really friendly who also almost always speaks English and I really loved how welcoming they were. There was definitely nothing like the museums in Berlin and the architecture! I really loved my stay and the staff at CIEE enhanced my experience. I hope to visit again someday!

You were mentioning me that you are the first person in your family to study abroad and to go out from the country, how does it feels?

It was kind of mind boggling at first. I really did not know what to expect and was extremely nervous about beginning this journey. No one in my family was able to give any advice about the experience and it felt lonely at first. Once getting to Europe, I felt pretty great about this accomplishment and being able to travel young was definitely something that I would have never imagined. I have been defying odds and choosing my own future aside from my family and this major step was something that really made me proud. It was all so crazy at first and did not feel real because I was even the first one in my family to get a passport, and after this experience, I will always encourage people to find the opportunity to go abroad.

What has been the best moment/experience of the program?

The best experience of the program was getting to know the community and learning from the staff. All the staff had so many different backgrounds and it helped me to feel welcome. The program trips were extremely helpful in terms of the knowledge that I have obtained while abroad. The Leipzig trip was just an amazing opportunity to get to know fellow CIEE students as well as build closer relationships with the staff. All the students apart of the program were there to experience a new place and I enjoyed being apart of that group.

What would you tell a student that is thinking on studying abroad, some advice?

I would recommend the student to just take the opportunity when it comes because you never know if you will ever get it again. I would highly recommend that they talk with a local and learn the city from them, because locals enjoy when travelers take the initiative to learn about their culture rather than just sticking to the hot spots of the country. It is important to learn the “unspoken rules” of the culture because that will help shape your experience. One more thing is not to over exhaust yourself and take in the new environment. After being there for such a short time, I really wanted to do as much as possible, but it definitely took a toll on the way I felt. Whenever I would just walk and take in the scenery/environment, I felt so much better.

How has the experience to study in other country/culture been and which would be the main challenges/ opportunities?

The experience is a once in a lifetime and the main challenges that people come across are language barriers or just unsureness about being in a totally different country. Overcoming this is a big step and being able to adjust to an environment can take some time. Culture is drastically different than you would think, and it was amazing to just be able to be a part of a whole new environment. Studying abroad lets you see things that just feel unreal, but it truly is an amazing experience. The main benefit after getting back to the United States is that you won’t have the perceptions anymore of the culture that may have been developed through social media or television. Learning about others is an amazing benefit to how you grow as a person.