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Mentor Profile

Bio

mentor picture Marie
 
Marie
Senior Year Student
Loyola Marymount University
I am a senior European Studies major, Art History and Latin minor at Loyola Marymount University. During the fall semester of my junior year, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Bonn, Germany through LMU’s New Europe... I am a senior European Studies major, Art History and Latin minor at Loyola Marymount University. During the fall semester of my junior year, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Bonn, Germany through LMU’s New Europe Program. Studying abroad was the one thing I absolutely had to do while I was in college. I grew up in L.A. County and attend university in L.A. and thus studying abroad was a way to be more independent and challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment. Throughout the semester I was able to take courses (all taught in English, except for German class) that fulfilled upper-division general ed. and major requirements. I decided to stay with a host family rather than in a dormitory in order to learn more about German culture and everyday life and practice my German. Since Germany is centrally located on the European continent, travel to different countries was easily accessible via car, plane and train. I loved seeing the art and architecture, which I had learned about in my art history classes, in person. Experiencing things first hand is infinitely more enjoyable and interesting than reading from a textbook and sitting in a classroom.

Responses

  1. Do research on the country. Learn about their local customs and laws, how they are different from your own country, their language, and what they eat and drink.
    3 answers – Before You Leave – Culture
  2. It was not so much culture shock as noticing differences between Germany and the U.S. I would often ask my host parents questions and they would explain to me how things were done in Germany. For example, ordering tap water in restaurants proved to be confusing – as an American accustomed to having tap water with my meals in the U.S., when I asked for tap water, my waiter had a puzzled look on his face and asked me if I wanted mineral or sparkling. Later I asked my host mom about it and she informed me that Germans (and Europeans in general) get bottled mineral or sparkling water if they want water and do not get tap water. The recycling system in Germany is quite different than it is in Los Angeles. The Germans have compost bins in their homes and separate all pieces of rubbish. There are different colored bins or many-sided bins for each recyclable item (compostable food waste, glass bottles, green waste, packaging, paper, and plastic) and then one for rubbish. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I also noticed the efficient, expansive public transportation system and how it easy it was to travel without a car in Bonn and Europe.
    3 answers – While Abroad – Culture
  3. Be open-minded and patient! Accept the fact that that particular way is how they do things in that country and that it is going to be different from your own. Acknowledge the differences.
    4 answers – While Abroad – Culture
  4. My friends and I occasionally ate at the student cafeteria where we met many students. This became our “usual” lunch hangout when we did not eat in the city’s restaurants. Before or after class and during the weekends, we frequented a couple of cafes and so over time employees recognized us as “regulars.” Sometimes I met people in restaurants, particularly when it was crowded, since there is no problem being seated with strangers. Usually, we would politely ignore each other but there were times that the strangers would overhear my friends and me talking and want to practice their English.
    4 answers – While Abroad – Culture
  5. -Bring favorite things or reminders of home i.e. family/friend/pet pictures or favorite blanket/pillow/stuffed animal. -Designate a day and time to call home every week but don’t spend too much time on Facebook, IM, or Skype. -Explore, go out and have fun being in a different country! Make new friends! Travel! -Find fun activities to do and get involved in your community, i.e. join the church choir, play sports, volunteer. -Talk to other students who may also be feeling homesick. -Write down your thoughts in a journal.
    3 answers – Health – While Abroad – Culture
  6. -Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to get back. Get their phone number and give them yours. -Be wary of what you drink and eat. If you are at a bar/pub, do not leave your drink unattended. If you are not sure whether the tap water is safe, drink bottled water instead. -Go out with at least one other friend, especially if you’re going to stay out late. -Have a card with emergency contact information (ambulance, consulate/embassy, hospital, fire department, police; friends, host family, school); make sure these important phone numbers are in your cell phone’s contact list. -Have different payment methods i.e. cash, credit card, debit card. In case your credit or debit cards get stolen, have the bank’s contact information. -Know the customs/laws of the city/country. -Know where the dangerous/sketchy areas of cities are. -Know where the nearest consulate or embassy is. -Put a lock on your backpack. If you are a female, keep a close eye on your bag or purse (particularly cross-body bags/bags with a long shoulder strap), especially in crowded areas, because pickpockets could easily steal things from it.
    2 answers – Safety Issues – While Abroad
  7. Talk to the director/other administrator of your program (the one in the city in which you’re studying).
    2 answers – Health – While Abroad
  8. Talk to the director/other administrator of your program (the one in the city in which you’re studying).
    2 answers – Racism – Gender – Safety Issues – While Abroad
  9. Yes, I was able to improve my German a little bit by staying with a host family and practicing my German in places like restaurants and shops. I highly recommend staying in a home where the native- language is spoken most of the time with very minimal-to-no English.
    2 answers – While Abroad
  10. I decided to take beginning German 101 before I studied abroad in Germany so I could learn grammar and vocabulary. During the summer I bought language CDs and phrase books. A fun way to learn is by listening to music (look up the lyrics as well as the English) and watching movies and shows in that language (with subtitles).
    2 answers – Before You Leave
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