Where did you study?
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
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
How did you pay for your study abroad
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?
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
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
Advice or helpful tips for future
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org