When I signed up for studying abroad, looking back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. However, I was so excited at the prospect of studying abroad, I was trying to sign up at my college before classes even started. Apparently my university requires you to be on campus for at least one year before studying abroad, so my freshman year of college was filled with excitement and anxiety of studying abroad the next year, as I filled out paperwork and BCA Study Abroad forms. I’m glad that things worked out the way they did, because also during that first year I started learning French and discovered that I have a love for learning languages that extends beyond just German. Therefore, I was able to sign up for a new major at my school that incorporates two foreign languages into one major. For me, that means a primary focus in German, and a secondary focus in French.
Additionally, this meant that I needed to study abroad for two semesters to complete the major – which was just another excuse for me to spend as much time as possible experiencing Germany and looking into careers that I may be interested in after college. Now that I’m about half-way through my first semester here in Marburg, Germany with BCA, I can honestly say this has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Linguistics Life: German and French
The beauty of this program is that it gives you the freedom to incorporate your interests and German however you see fit. For instance, I am studying French here as well as German, which is something that is not typically recommended due to possible language confusion. Though, due to my interest in linguistics, I was actually supported by my resident director to take the class. A few months down the road, and I’ve learned how to effectively separate and learn two foreign languages at the same time. My linguistics life here has been simply amazing: I’m taking classes in French, speaking German on a daily-basis (as well as translating it into English), and during my free time, I’ve found an opportunity to tutor kids in English. My language skills have never been pushed so hard in my life, and I’m coming to love the experience more and more with every milestone I reach.
Community Culture in Schloss Castle
Additionally, I live in a castle! It rests atop a hill that overlooks all of Marburg; from bedroom my window, I have the most amazing view. However, the best part is what happens around the building. From cooking, to games of billiards, to impromptu celebrations and parties, there’s always something to do around the castle and someone to do it with. I am infinitely thankful for their patience with my semi-articulate German and excitement to get me involved with castle life when I first arrived. There’s no escaping the exposure to the German language here, and even if I wanted to, it would be almost impossible to go a day without having to use German (even when going about my daily business!). I am learning far faster and far more than I ever had in any of my language classes, and I finally feel like high-language proficiency is a tangible goal. I feel like this experience abroad has taught me already and continues to introduce me to what a life abroad would look like should I go with my current career paths (either teaching English as a foreign language or translation/ interpretation), and I’ve never been more excited about what my future holds.
Story Behind the Photography
I thought that this photograph was a good representation of “castle life”. The guy sitting on top of the couch is a student from my university back in the US (we’re studying abroad together), and the guy laying on the couch is my roommate. Long story short, we hauled the couch all the way up the hill, and once we were finally at the top, we took a break, and they let me photograph them on the couch in the parking lot before we took it inside. The impromptu, fun-loving spirit comes out in this photo, which is at the heart of the castle community.
About the Author – Roman Angone, 2016-17 Year BCA Marburg Student
Roman Angone is a nineteen year old Psychology and Modern Languages major currently studying abroad in Marburg, Germany for the year. In the States, he studies at Manchester University. He enjoys travel, music, writing, dancing, everything involving food, and spontaneous adventures – though doing all of those things at the same time might be a little overwhelming.