After having several weeks to reflect on my time in Germany, I was able to truly decipher what I felt benefited me the most. The one aspect of this experience that I talk about the most when people ask me how my trip was is my host family. My time with my host family was amazing, and I have formed relationships that I will have for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for the IPDS Germany program for giving me that opportunity. I also have learned so much from being in the classroom in Germany, and in my evaluation I talked quite a lot about how much this experience impacted me. It taught me so much as a future educator and as a person. I have been a teacher candidate in several schools and I have witnessed ELL Students and have seen their struggle but never really understood it. For the first time in my life, I was the person in the classroom who was disoriented by the different language. I was the one with the pounding headache trying to decode every single word that they were saying. I was the one who was frustrated for not being able to understand what they were saying. Finally. I understand what it is like to be a student in a classroom who struggles to understand what the teacher and their peers are saying. I now know what it is like, and understand why they have to put their head down in the middle of a lesson and need to escape. It is because of this experience that I believe I am more capable of working with ELL students. I believe I could create a nurturing, fulfilling environment for them where they won't feel frustrated. This was by far my biggest takeaway from the entire experience, and it is a lesson that I will never forget.
Of all the excursions and cultural experiences, it is the classroom that prevails. I wish I had more time with those students, and more time to learn from Tanja's incredible classroom management techniques. I filled an entire journal in my five days in her classroom. Her techniques and ability to run a classroom are inspiring to say the least. She makes me want to be a better teacher, and makes me excited to have my own classroom rather than daunted by the task. I could go on forever about this experience, and honestly, I'd like to. But to keep it short and sweet, I am so thankful for this experience and everything that it taught me. I will forever encourage others to partake in an experience like this, because it truly is life changing. You do not understand the impact and benefits that come from a study abroad program until you participate in one. The relationships, memories, and lessons that I have made throughout this experience are ones that will stick with me for life. I am so excited to share about my experience, and am thankful that I had this opportunity. Thank you to all who have supported me, read my blogs, and encouraged me to participate in this program. I will always be grateful! Vielen Danke!