After four exciting and adventurous weeks in Munich, I have arrived back home in the United States. Overall, the program was a great success. I found out later in the program that my group was the first to participate in the Pitt in Munich program, which I found interesting because it was planned out very well and perfect for what I was expecting. Through my classes, I was able to solidify my understanding of the German language and the culture embedded in Munich. I made many friends along the way that I will keep for years on and am glad that we were all able to share the experience.
Personally, I have developed a deeper understanding of the German language through four hour intensive classes that met five days a week. My goal has been to become fluent in German and this course was helpful for various reasons. One of these was the fact that we could practice our German right after leaving the classroom. This was important to improve fluency. Another reason was that we did not have to rush through topics. Having the one hour classes at Pitt was a good way to introduce myself to the language, but it could not compare to studying the language in the country where it is spoken.
Academically, I was able to gain eight credits in the program that will go towards my minor in German. This is extremely helpful for me since my schedule is full with my major classes, making it difficult to add in classes for the German minor. I have also developed better “stamina” for longer classes. I was always hesitant to schedule long three hour classes at Pitt, but after completing this program I will be more prepared for the amount of material covered in a typical three hour class.
Professionally, I have become more acquainted with Germany by living there for another month and have therefore prepared myself even more for my future career. Having experience with the culture and especially the language will allow me to adjust more easily if I decide to work abroad post-undergrad.
A key takeaway from the program for me would be that mastery in a topic requires consistent practice. One of my main goals through the program was to increase fluency in German, and I believe that I have done that through constant use of the language while working in the program. Applying this to Pitt Business will help me understand more complex topics in my accounting classes, for example, and allow me to have a better appreciation for how I study those topics. In closing, I cannot say enough how valuable this program was for me. If I have to opportunity to study abroad again, I will definitely take it!