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College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad

“Where are you from?” is a question I still get on the daily here in Berlin. “Minnesota,” I say, and then always the same statement: “Oh. Then you must be used to the cold here.” I’m used to it, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoy it. I can’t help but say, “It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s so cold, I hate the cold, I hate being cold” all the way down the street. It reminds me of a question I hear often: “Why don’t you just move somewhere warm?” And then the next question, “Are you at least going to college in the south?” That would be logical. Go to school in the south, don’t worry about the cold. It should have been easy for me to decide which region and which schools to apply to. But I didn’t want to go south. I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I went through the motions of the college application process, but I wasn’t set on anything like my friends were. They had a nice solid list with a nice confident plan. My list changed every few days, or maybe once a week while I was applying. I decided to just apply to the U of M as my safety net and take a gap year.

I’m sure that if I had gone to one of the schools I had applied to, I would have done fine. But I wasn’t really feeling “college” yet. I mean, I'd just suffered through 14 years of school. Did  I really want to put myself through another 4 years straight out of high school? What I needed most was a break for myself. And I think my parents could see that. They were very hands-off about my application process. It was actually my mom who suggested I take a gap year in the first place. When she first brought it up, I initially said no way. But now here I am, sitting at my desk in a dorm in CIEE’s G27 institute in Berlin, typing a blog about why I’m taking a gap year. 

During the first half of my gap year, I worked at a group home, met a lot of different people, visited friends in college, and spent more time with my family and friends now than I did when I was in school. I was also accepted into a program that would allow me to study Korean at a Korean college, but with tensions rising between the U.S. and North Korea, my grandma asked me not to go. So, I went without telling her. My family helped keep it a secret. They told her my mom kicked me out of the house and I was now living with a friend downtown.

Just kidding. I instead applied to CIEE’s Berlin internship program, and worked at the group home to save up money to travel around Europe. Taking this gap year allowed me to slow my life down a little and think about what I wanted to do, and now I feel so much more ready to go to college. Some people will live their whole lives dedicated to only moving forward. Go to school for 14 years, go to college for four, go to grad school for another four to eight, get a job, work for 30 to 40 years, retire. This gap year has helped me see that there are so many options for a person to take. Sometimes you can just take a break, eat a chocolate bar, go skydiving, travel around the world, meet new people. Whatever you want. Right now, I’m going to take a nap before I start my next blog. Hey Mom, Dad, Sam, Jacob, and David. P.S. I miss the dog the most :)

@berlinterns if you see this right now, then you actually read the whole thing

Auf Wiedersehen,


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