Tales From Abroad: A Summer in Germany Nov22

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Tales From Abroad: A Summer in Germany

This past summer I studied abroad in Leipzig, Germany and traveled to other nearby countries over a period of two months. During this time I experienced a culture that was much different from my own. Besides the obvious language barriers that I encountered, I immersed myself in a culture that was much quieter and more relaxed. When you approach Dahl2people in Germany it is not customary to engage in any type of “small talk” as we would in Texas. It would be considered irritating and impersonal. I thought this was interesting, because this way of talking to strangers is common in the Lone Star State. It made me think about what it actually meant for a person to ask another how they were doing. If a German were to ask you how you were, it would be because they truly wanted to know. This experience made me realize that being intentional about your conversations is something that should be treasured by Americans. This is not to say that “small talk” should not exist, but that we should have true interest in the people we talk with whether they are a stranger or not.

One of the more interesting opportunities I had in Leipzig was being able to shadow medical professionals in a hospital and other Dahl3private practices. Here I was able to observe the differences between the German healthcare system and the healthcare system of the United States. With higher taxes than the United States, the Germans are provided “free” healthcare by the government; this is not the only difference, but one of the major ones. The German hospitals seemed to be more technologically advanced compared to hospitals in America as well. Doctors use ultrasound technology for almost anything, which is not as common here. German doctors were more laid back when it came to allowing us to interact and touch patients. I saw it as an interesting technique that allowed students to get more experience with simple, non-invasive procedures, which might be part of the reason why the doctors over seas are able to begin their practices at a much younger age than the United States.

Overall my experiences in Leipzig, Germany were ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. If I were given the opportunity to travel abroad for school, leisure, or work I would do it in a heart beat. Last memories and friendships were made in the simple, quiet town of Leipzig that I consider to be my home away from home  Dahl4