Author: Catherine Camara
Program: International Business
Study Abroad Location: Bavaria, Germany
Apart from taking my international business diploma abroad, one of the greatest advantages of participating in an exchange in Europe is the togetherness and flow of people and ideas from all over the world. This blog post is not about school in Germany, nor is it about my life here. This blog post is about learning from more than just a lecture; its about an experience and lesson that school, teachers, and work cannot teach you. The people you meet, the places you will go can teach you valuable skills that can be applied when building business relationships and in every day life.
Not only do I know the customs and work ethic of Germany, I have learned that if a Jordanian offers you food, take it – no matter the appearance or taste. I have learned that Sweden is as multicultural as Toronto and creating a relationship with such requires more then just a basic knowledge of Swedish culture. I’ve learned that Croatians, like Italians, are passionate people with an enthusiasm for life. I’ve learned an immense amount of information on the Balkan war, an unnecessary mass killing which central Europe had no clue how to resolve; this is something which I didn’t get a chance to learn about in Canada. Also I have learned that communication is the foundation of every relationship and I am truly gifted to have English as my strongest language. Being a native speaker in English didn’t seem like an advantage until I came abroad. English is used all over Europe which made it easier for me to communicate with people and made me feel safe to travel alone.
Hallstadt, Austria – Friends from all over the globe including Jordan, Sweden, Russia, Spain, Finland, Thailand and Germany.
At first I had to get used to speaking a little bit slower. Many of the other international students would always make fun that Cameron (another Canadian student here) and I spoke too fast. Even some of the words I was using were slang and foreign to all of my friends here. Without knowing my friends began to improve their English just from having conversations with me and would even ask me to correct them if they said something wrong. It’s a great experience to teach someone something which comes so naturally to you.
Me and my best friend Jamil. Jamil is from Jordan doing a year exchange/internship in Germany. He has taught me so much about Jordan, the Middle East and values.
Amela, myself and Zhevin in Front of the Colloseum in Rome, Italy. Amela and Zhevin are participating in a semester abroad in International Business here at HNU. They are from Sweden.
Not only have I learned about over 15 countries’ cultures and customs, I have also learned about Canada. Canadians actually say sorry way more then I realized! We speak fast and nobody has a clue what a poutine or “The 6” is – things I had to explain over and over again. Together with my new international family we shared recipes, music, news and fashion. Sharing clothes with my best friends here, making dinner together, shopping, going to school and experiencing Germany with them has taught me so much more than I ever anticipated. I would like to think that after these six months I will have a better understanding of all of these cultures and I will even have made life long friends.