"Deciding to study abroad is a decision I will never regret. In Germany I experienced many good times with our program leaders, Dirk Wentzel and Sabine Schnabel, and with my classmates. In six weeks, I had field studies in more than six major cities in Europe, went to the French Open, and immersed myself in the German culture. I believe that with this program, I was able to learn more about the German people by living like they do.
For example, in Pforzheim I was able to make friends with our German buddies, a few of the locals, and some French students who I still talk to today. I was able to do this by putting myself out there and meeting new people. If you are looking for a study abroad program that helps you step out of your com-fort zone while having a good time, this is the one for you!
In one of my journal entries I wrote about the Honor System as a metaphor for German values: Frequently during our stay in Europe, we used public transportation to get to our field study sites. Usually, when we went on the train or bus, we did not need to show our ticket or student I.D. because in Germany they have a code called the “Honor’s System”.
To elaborate, in Germany people usually trust that when boarding the train or bus the passenger has either paid or has a student pass. Conductors do not always check your ticket or pass. If someone boards the train illegally, they are considered a very bad person and pay forty euros as their punishment. In America, when citizens travel on the bus, they must pay and or show their bus pass before entering. Otherwise, the passenger may not get on. This is similar to train travel in New York; before people get on the train, passengers must buy a ticket from one of the machines outside the train station. During the trip, the conductor comes around with a hole punch and punches every ticket so it cannot be reused.
I think the Honor System is a great metaphor for German values. They tend to be more trustworthy, because they believe that the citizens of Germany will do the right thing. Some Americans may think that the Germans are being naïve, because they put too much trust in their people. I personally believe, why shouldn’t they? Just because people in America are not as trustworthy when it comes to paying to ride the bus does not mean it cannot work elsewhere. Different countries think different ways. I think that the German Honor System illustrates how they are laid back and build better relationships with their friends as a result of it.
The German friends I made on this program are people that I really admire. Even though I have only known them for a short time, I feel as if I could trust them with my valued possessions and they would take great care of them. Spending the summer in Pforzheim, Germany was a wonderful adventure and I cannot wait to go back again." --- Julia Dolinsky