Erin Hoy is a UW-Madison student studying Neurobiology and German. While studying abroad in Germany she was nominated to be a DAAD Young Ambassador. Young Ambassadors are undergraduate students from North America that recently studied abroad in Germany and promote study in Germany at their home universities with help from the DAAD. Below is a testimonial from Erin about her experiences.
“In 2016-17, I did the Academic Year in Freiburg program at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität and Pädagogische Hochschule in Freiburg, Germany. I had two very different experiences with studying in Germany. The first semester, all courses I took were taught in German, which allowed me to complete my German certificate. However, in the second semester, I took all my courses in English for my Neurobiology major. Studying abroad for a year in Germany allowed me to drastically improve my German and experience other fields of study from a non-American perspective. I strove to avoid the “exchange student bubble” by truly integrating myself into local life. I worked three different mini jobs over the course of the year and went on short cycling tours to the neighboring countries of France, Switzerland and Austria. I even met my fiancé in Tunisia. I think that every student should study abroad at some point in their academic career. As for Germany, its universities are world-renowned for academic excellence and its central location in Europe makes it easy and inexpensive to travel and discover other countries.
While in Germany, I was nominated to be a Young Ambassador for DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst / German Academic Exchange Service). As a DAAD Young Ambassador I attended a training session in NYC and now volunteer at UW-Madison to host events to promote study and research in Germany and inform others about funding opportunities to make such endeavors possible. DAAD is the German national agency and world’s largest funding organization for international academic exchange of students and researchers. There are grants and scholarships for study stays, research fellowships, internships and so such more for undergraduates, graduates, PhD, postdocs and faculty. I encourage you to learn more at the DAAD website search through the scholarship database or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to share my experiences with you.
Words of wisdom: Living a year abroad, traveling, and experiencing the differences among cultures has made me question the ideologies that I grew up with and had accepted to be true. I challenge you to use your [future] experience abroad to really question your way of life and thinking. In this way, one can grow to be a more culturally competent and cultivated global citizen”.