Okay, so I will admit I was being a bit dramatic with that title (and with what I originally wrote to post for part 2). You know how at least once a semester you have a breakdown because you think you’re going to fail all of your classes, and then no one will ever hire you, and you’ll end up living at home with a 250 thousand dollar degree and no job? Well, I had that, but five thousand miles away from home and under the impression that my grades were going to transfer as lower due to a chart I was given by a peer. Let’s play a game called “Panic Attack”. Pick a grade percentage on the chart on the left (for best results, choose a number below an 80%) then use the conversion chart to figure out what the grade at Rollins would be and try not to have a panic attack!
So that’s how my week has been.
Anyways, I found out Rollins goes by the “Letter Grade” column, and my 3 months here may not end up being a total waste of time.
But, because I impulsively titled this “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” in a fit of rage, I will end with that.
Believe it or not, I’m not being sarcastic when I say being almost completely alone for three months in a foreign country (in which English is not the first language) has done me some good. I have had a lot of time to think and reflect on both my future and myself. If I had been traveling with friends it’s possible I would have had different priorities as well as no time to reflect on my experiences. Because of this, I really have grown a lot during this experience.
It’s safe to say the bad would be every day spent on this campus. I feel stuck. It’s a 30 minute train ride into the city, but trust me, it’s not worth it. And the students… I feel like I’m in an alternative universe here. Though I do admit, I appreciate the chance to meet people from all over the world, it has been a lonely three months. Apparently, it is a well known fact that Jacobs students don’t like exchange students. Not because they met us and didn’t like us, or even because we’re American. There’s just a stigma here about exchange students. Then there are the guys who think it’s okay to sexually harass you because “all American girls are easy, aren’t they?” But then again, that one is easy to avoid when you simply don’t talk to anyone. Then there’s the weather, cold and rainy every day, dark by 5 pm. All of these things were bad, but not ugly.
Just about everyone goes abroad expecting one long, incredible adventure. And that’s what most people get. I was so excited to spend a few months traveling, learning about different people and cultures, seeing the world. This entire experience has been incredibly disappointing.
In my last post I shared a little about my family history and the role it played on my wanting to come here. Coming to Germany and learning the language, life, and culture of the people here was so important to me. Not only have I not experienced German life, people or culture, my German has gone from bad to none. I feel farther from my connection to this place than ever.
Three bad months isn’t ugly, I can do three bad months.
The majority of the exchange students here can all agree on what a terrible experience this was. I wish someone had told me not to choose this program.
In my next post I will tell all (in detail) about what it’s like to be an exchange student at Jacobs University.