Guten Tag! Ich heiße Hannah. Ich studierte an der European Study Center in Heidelberg, Deutschland. For those who may not speak German, let me translate. My name is Hannah and I am studying at the European Study Center (ESC) in Heidelberg, Germany. My major is accounting with a double minor in non-profit management and international business. I am the first Concordia student to participate in this semester-long program with Athena Study Abroad, and I cannot believe I have been living in Heidelberg for nearly three weeks already! I chose Germany for Fall 2017 for the obvious Lutheran reason of it being the 500th anniversary of the reformation this October, the central location of Heidelberg, and the selection of business classes offered at the ESC.
Even though this is my third time traveling abroad, it is the first time I have gone abroad on my own. I made it from St. Paul to Heidelberg with all my luggage in under 15 hours without any major hiccups, thankfully. The ESC, where I live, is an old villa with a LOT of stairs. Just to reach the “ground” floor of the house, I have to climb two flights of stairs, and then my room is still two more flights up (And no, there is not an elevator in the house). The first day was little rough thanks to jet-lag (I literally fell out of my airport shuttle van, scaring the driver half to death in the process), but I managed to adjust to the time difference and the stairs within a week.
The first week in Heidelberg was spent exploring my new home and adjusting to German culture. Heidelberg is considered by many people as the most romantic city in Germany. Nearly every time I walk through the Altstadt (Old City), where the courthouse is, there is a wedding taking place. Heidelberg is also well-known for their castle, Schloss Heidelberg. The Neckar River runs through Heidelberg and is only a ten minute walk from the European Study Center. Overall, Heidelberg is a city rich with history and beautiful views. In the short amount of time I have had here, I have already had so many adventures. Because the ESC wants to encourage individual travel while we are abroad, we only have class Monday-Thursday, with Wednesdays set aside for group excursions. I have spent my free days so far attending the Stuttgarter Weindorf (Stuttgart Wine Festival), traveling to Worms, attending the Bad Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt (Bad Dürkheim Sausage Festival), and exploring Heidelberg.
At the ESC, I am taking classes in International Marketing, International Banking and Finance, German, Organizational Behavior, and one other course that is very unique to this program in Heidelberg. The course is called “A Refugee Crisis: A Multi-Disciplinary Policy Perspective on the European Refugee Crisis.” Throughout this semester, I will be volunteering at the Patrick Henry Village, a refugee camp located about 45-minutes from the ESC. This course will give me first-hand experience working with children, specifically, who have been displaced and are in the process of applying for asylum in Germany. I am beyond humbled by this opportunity and ask for prayers and thoughts of support for me and my classmates as we take on this semester helping these refugees.
Overall, I am settling into my new home in Heidelberg and am enjoying Germany so much! Please keep me in your prayers as I continue my journey this semester and explore more of Deutschland!