Growing up, my family has had a very non-traditional view on college and education altogether. Not only are we expected to have exceptional grades, but also put ourselves into a position where we may have exceptional experiences as well. One of these experiences was studying abroad, which was not just an expectation, but a requirement by my mother. As an educator herself, she knows how much this opportunity would benefit me and all of my future students. To have a teacher knowledgeable and well versed in the world outside of the United States is a true treasure, and that is something I have learned from being a student as well. My favorite classes were always those who had teachers drawing connections to the content from their own time overseas, whether that was Africa, Asia, Europe, etc. There is something about the depth of conversation when talking about the world that is vital to the education of children. There is one quote in particular I recently heard from a professor that relates to the experience of studying abroad, “Know enough to know you don’t know- then find out”. I realized that I do not know much about education in other cultures, in fact I do not know much about other cultures at all, as I have not experienced them. So, I was inspired to find out more.
But why Germany? Out of all the renowned study abroad programs Buffalo State has to offer, Germany stood out more than anything. The first of the reasons was because it is with an International Professional Development School, in a true German classroom. I would be living with a teacher, becoming emerged in the world of German education, all in the span of a few weeks, as to fit with my very busy major of both Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The second and more critical reason Germany fit my interests is because of the connections in my own family. Both my mother’s and father’s sides of my family are very German. My grandfathers both know a few phrases and enjoy sharing the history of our past relations with the country. It has always been intriguing to me to go and visit the places in which my family has heritage, starting with Germany. The other important connection that helped me to make my decision is the fact that my mother study abroad for a semester in Germany when she was my age. She studied at the teacher education school in Cologne, Germany, and she loved every second of it.
I’m beyond thrilled to follow in the footsteps of my mother, experience the memories and stories of my grandparents, as well better myself in my future field of work. Everything about the German education system interests me and has captured my attention. I cannot wait to see the differences in both classroom instruction and management. These are things I can evaluate for myself and decide to implement in my own future classroom. I’m thankful and feel very blessed for this invigorating experience and am proud to be traveling with Buffalo State. For now, I have 6 weeks and three days until departure, and I’ll be counting down each and every one.
Approaching my junior year at Buffalo State College, I am a combined major of Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a concentration in English. Teaching is the 'family business' and I have been passionate about the profession since I was very young. It is an honor to be apart of the IPDS Germany cohort this summer.