Blog courtesy of Allison LeClere, a master’s student in higher education and student affairs who is serving a summer internship at the IU Europe Gateway in Berlin.
For Americans who have studied abroad or lived abroad for an extended period of time, I think we can all relate to the surprise we see when a native speaker finds out that we speak their language. My
My love affair with Germany began in high
Before I left for my trip to Hagen the summer after my sophomore year, I had two years of high school German under my belt (which meant I could tell you my
I was so enthralled with German language and culture that the following summer, I took part in the Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Languages intensive language study for high school students living in Indiana. Each year, a handful of students from my high school would participate in the program and return their senior year having seemingly mastered their foreign language in two months. The success of this program stemmed from its “No English” and “No technology” rules. In this program, we were not allowed to speak English to our host families, friends, family, etc., nor were we allowed to go on the internet or call our parents for the summer.
After graduating from high school, I decided to attend IU Bloomington to continue my German studies. Bloomington is one of my
As part of my double major in international studies, I spent
I returned to Bloomington for my senior year, even more independent, confident and fluent than ever, but I was itching to get back to Germany once again. After graduating in 2013, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where I worked as an English teaching assistant for two years through Fulbright U.S. Student Programs and Pädagogischer Austauschdienst, a German organization that promotes international exchange and cooperation in education. During the week, I taught students from fifth grade to 13th grade; on the weekend, I was a world
After participating in three exchange programs from high school to college, working for the Office of Overseas Study, and teaching in Germany, I realized that I wanted to spend my life getting students excited to go abroad. I made my return to IU in August 2015 to begin my master’s program in Higher Education and Student Affairs, where I also now work as the graduate assistant in the Office of International Services. Through my work in the international student office, I became very familiar with the IU Global Gateways. Once I heard about the new Gateway opening in Berlin, I knew it was a sign. I sent the director of the office an email and very eagerly asked her if there were any internship opportunities available for the summer. And just like that, IU opened another amazing door for me in Germany.
The IU Europe Gateway office serves a number of purposes for IU. First and foremost, it provides a chance for scholars from IU and all over Europe to connect, share ideas and collaborate on research. As the intern in the office, I have helped organize lectures, workshops and conferences that are held at our office in Berlin. Our most recent events have included a lecture on Cold War journalism by an IU professor that took place at the Berlin Wall Museum and a workshop on current economic issues featuring IU and German scholars. For our summer events, I have worked on making and cultivating our professional brand, which has included learning how to use InDesign and Photoshop to create invitations and event material. Hear
In the short
Berlin has also been an amazing city to live in and explore; it is a Pinterest board come to life. Everything is up-recycled, chic, and ultra hip. I have seen restaurants with lamps shades made out of coffee filters and it seems that almost every cafe has swapped its chairs for wooden crates and pillow tops. One fun fact about Berlin is that there are photo booths hiding all over the city. For two Euros, you can take really silly black-and-white pictures with as many friends as you can cram inside.
After a decade of collected experiences abroad, consider this my thank you letter to you, IU Bloomington. You have given me so many amazing opportunities to study abroad in Germany from high school to college; you prepared me with the skills and tools to lead a life abroad; you introduced me to some of my lifelong friends and a number of German families who have adopted me as their own. And for that, I am forever grateful.