Michael Fox of Cary, North Carolina
Where did I Study Abroad: Spring Break: London and Munich
Major: Business Administration and Economics
Favorite Foreign Food: Roasted oxen with red potatoes and an apple fritter.
Favorite city/site visited while abroad: Munich, Germany
Where is my next trip going to be to: Studying abroad in the spring in Prague, Czech Republic.
There is no doubt in my mind that my previous experiences abroad in Japan made a difference in my choice to go on the spring trip. My ability to be with a group of my peers and travel exclusively with few responsibilities was incredible. Having the chance to earn class credits while partaking in professional visits was well worth the cost of this excursion. Furthermore, eating at foreign restaurants and enjoying the nightlife in two of Europe’s most vibrant cities is an experience I will never forget. Very rarely are you able to experience culture and business in a way that makes it so tangible and meaningful. For my introduction I am writing in grand sweeping statements about my experiences but I promise it is no exaggeration. Please allow me to elaborate on my experiences in Germany.
Near Neuschwanstein Castle: German Alps
Munich was my favorite among the two cities that we visited because I came into the trip knowing much more about London and Great Britain. Additionally, it was the country with the different language and was more difficult to navigate which was more fun because it provided a sense of adventure. The first night we arrived in Munich we decided to go to the famous Hofbräuhaus München. This is one of the most famous beer halls in the world and even on a Wednesday it was full of excitement. During the in house bands performance, an elderly woman was dancing by herself and I decided to jump up and dance with her. This inspired others from our group and people all around the hall to jump up and participate in the traditional Bavarian dance. As a result of my attitude and futile attempts I received a few free drinks from a nearby table. Similarly, the last night we spent in Munich we had dinner at the Augustiner Beir Garten. That night I had perhaps my most influential night experiencing local culture. It was the unveiling of the spring beer and we participated in a rowdy night full of chants and clinking glasses. Much to the chagrin of my friends on the trip I became involved in a conversation with a student our own age who was at the major local university. I learned more about the local customs and cultural significance of the event than I could have ever dreamt.
Another more solemn memory I have of my time in Munich was traveling to Dachau concentration camp which was an incredibly moving experience. A portion of our group decided that it would be a worthwhile use of our time on our free day. I have always had a keen interest in WWII/Holocaust history and being able to tour a site of such historical importance helped me to really visualize all the things I had learned about. The day of our adventure it was gloomy and dreary. This really personified the collective feelings of the group at the time and surprisingly it aided in our ability to understand the environment of the camp. The gravity and tangible energy that one experiences in these situations can be life altering and was highly influential for everyone in our group. I was certainly not immune to the aforementioned feelings.
Gate of Dachau: “Work makes you free.” Crematoria
Advice for future Study Abroad students: Take the time to get lost. Obviously enjoy your chance to go on tours and hit the major attractions but wander the streets. Take in the sights, sounds and smells. Immerse yourself in the authentic culture. You won’t regret it.