Role at CISabroad: University Relations Representative – Midwest
Study abroad experience: My first abroad experience was in high school when I spent a summer working on a friend of a friend of an acquaintance's dairy farm in northern Germany. After that, I was hooked, and spent another summer backpacking Europe. I did my study abroad in Germany as well, but this time in Freiburg, in the warmer black forest. After graduating, I spent a year teaching in backwoods Austria.
Biggest faux pas you've ever made abroad: When I was working on the dairy farm in Germany in high school, the family decided to take a trip to the local swimming hole for a dip on a particularly hot day. I didn't have a swimsuit, but they had an extra one and told me that they would bring it for me. We arrived at the glorified pond to find it crawling with people. We eventually found a spot near the water and they gave me a towel with the swimsuit wrapped inside to go and change. I ran off to the changing rooms and set my things down. Unwrapping the bundle that I was given, I looked down and found, lost in the folds of the towel, the tiniest most honest-to-goodness man-thong I have ever seen. I considered my options for a while and decided, in the end, that I was comfortable in this culture, but not quite that comfortable. I told the family that it didn't fit (because, you know, spandex doesn't stretch or anything) and spent the day getting my tan on instead.
The next country you want to visit: New Zealand is the first country on my list of places to visit. Everyone who I have ever talked to who has been there has loved it, and how can you not be blown away by the pictures and videos you see of the landscape? I'm more of a fan of wide-open spaces and natural beauty than I am of bigger cities and man-made attractions as well. Additionally, the fact that I come from a long and storied history of sheep farming, I would more than likely feel right at home too. As if I needed more reasons, I had a professor in undergrad who was from New Zealand and listening to his accent probably accounted for the fact that I didn't miss a class (probably the only time that happened for me in college). Anyone who's seen Flight of the Conchords knows what I'm talking about here.
Want to pick Ben's brain about lederhosen, European bathing suits, or German language and culture? Write to him: moc.daorbasicnull@tsnreb