Anthony Soehlig

Overall Experience
5/5

Major
History

Hobbies
Sports

Hometown
Kearney, MO

Where did you study?
Leipzig, Germany

Name of program
MAUI-Utrecht Network Exchange, University of Leipzig

Why did you choose to study there?
I chose to study in Leipzig, because of the prestige of the university and the general atmosphere of Leipzig. The city provides an interesting blend of historical anecdotes, from socialism to baroque.

What courses did you choose to enroll in?
I stuck mainly with history courses (all of which in German) This proved to be quite challenging. The University system is remarkably different from what I have experienced in the U.S. The modules or classes consist of a lecture and a seminar. One isn't even required to attend classes and I believe it is even illegal(!) to force attendance. Students are simply graded on the final paper or test. This might sound nice, but some of us (like myself) require a bit more structure.

How did you pay for your study abroad experience?
To finance my trip I used the post 9/11 GI bill and student loans. Having to do it all over again, I would highly recommend applying for scholarships.

Did you use some sort of financial aid, scholarship or fellowship?
Yes.

What was your living situation?
Leipzig is plentiful when it comes to cheap apartments. In the GDR (German Democratic Republic) many dorm like apartments called Plattenbau were built around the city. They usually consist of two rooms a very small kitchen and a bathroom. For the duration of my stay in Leipzig I lived in one of these to the south of the city. I lived on the eighth and highest floor. This provided a wonderful view of the city to the north.

What did you do for fun?
Weekend fun involved meeting friends. Leipzig also has many parks and lakes to visit when the weather gets nice. Once the weather gets nice, everyone heads out to soak up the sun and enjoy the weather.

Favorite aspect of your trip?
I loved the everyday life in Leipzig, riding a bike to school, meeting with friends and enjoying a beer in the park. Another great aspect of my year abroad was travelling. I was able to travel to (so-far) Israel, Jordan, Czech Republic (twice), Poland (twice) and Austria.

Challenges you faced?
Language wasn't really a barrier for me, and I had already lived in Leipzig for a time, so the culture shock also wasn't a problem. The challenge I faced, as mentioned above, was the school system in Germany. It is easy to lose focus on the 'studying' part of studying abroad.

Advice or helpful tips for future students?
Take advantage of the buddy program and attend all the social events you can in the beginning. This will help you build a network of friends and fends off the homesickness aspect that some people might face. And, goes with out saying, but attend classes and don't get caught up partying too much.

What is one thing you would change about your experience?
Hmm, every experience, good or bad shapes us in one way or another. If I had to change one thing about the actual experience itself, it would be speaking more German. It's easy to get away with speaking too much English.

Is there a funny or memorable story you would like to share from your experience?
As mentioned above, I got the opportunity to travel to Israel. I met a lifelong friend there, who happened to be German. He rented a car and we ended up traveling a bit together. We went to Jordan to see Petra. I ended up riding a donkey and he rode a mule. At some point the animals started to race and I couldn't control mine and ended up falling off as the donkey galloped at full speed. Luckily I landed in sand and wasn't hurt. Makes for a funny story, racing at Petra!

Something interesting you learned about the town you lived in?
Leipzig is famous for many reasons: Bach, Wagner, Napoleon, 89, the list goes on and on.

Would you be willing to allow students to contact you via email with any questions regarding your study abroad experiences?
Yes.  Email at anthony.c.soehlig@gmail.com