Who doesn’t love all the girls who aren’t afraid to dream a little bigger? The girls who go out and experience the world to its fullest. This is the fifth part of my Women Collecting Memories interview series! Hurrayy. This interview has kind of a special place in my heart because it’s about Germany – my home country! Today, Marisa tells us about her studies in Heidelberg, Germany.
If you want to catch up on the other parts of this interview series you can do so here (Natasha in Australia), here (Lydia in Ireland), here (Sarah in Victoria, Canada) and here (Nikoleta in Vienna, Austria).
Marisa, 19, is studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. She has moved to Germany around six months ago, and, needless to say, it changed her life. Marisa has a travel blog called The Traveling Story Girl. It tells the story of her many travels over the years – she’s been to all 50 US states and 31 countries around the world. Marisa want to use her stories and tips to help motivate others to travel and explore. You can follow Marisa’s adventures on Instragram!
ABOUT HER STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE
Where did you go for your exchange? How long have you been abroad?
I am currently fortunate enough to still be studying abroad! Right now I am living in Heidelberg, Germany, a small medieval town in southwest Germany. I’ve been abroad for around five months now and I love it more and more each day. I will be here until my semester ends in April, so I will have spent roughly eight months studying abroad!
What made you choose Heidelberg as your study abroad location?
I go to school at Pepperdine University in California, which offers seven study abroad locations across the globe. I am half German and have always wanted to live in Germany ever since I was a little girl. Over 80% of my school studies abroad at some point during college and I am one of those. Our classes are run by Pepperdine faculty and we live in a Pepperdine house with Pepperdine students. Some people believe that our setup detracts from the true experience of studying abroad because we are still affiliated with our university, but I like it that way. I know my credits are definitely going to transfer!
What is the most remarkable memory you have of your time abroad?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one because I’ve made so many memories (I know, cliché). If I had to choose only one, I would have to say my weekend trip to Köln was the most memorable. I went with three people (one girl, two guys) who I did not know very well since it was the first weekend. We ended up sitting on the river for hours, talking and getting to know one another. Those three people ended up becoming my best friends in the program and I will always treasure the friendships that were created there.
Name one thing that study abroaders must do when in Germany.
I’m going to be very broad in my answer and say that wherever you study, make a point to visit that country’s capital. The capital of any given country is an excellent way to discover the heritage of your country and become more knowledgeable about why that country functions the way it does. If you ever find yourself studying abroad in Heidelberg, you must climb Philosopher’s Way and overlook the picturesque city and river. After the exhausting climb, you can follow the path straight down and stop for a delicious liter of beer at Vetters!
Has the time abroad changed you and if so, in what way?
Yes, I definitely believe that I have changed during my time abroad. To be more specific, I have become much more independent and confident in my ability to make decisions. My mom visited me in November and the two of us planned to go to Romania to see Dracula’s castle. Instead of assuming the typical “mom” role and planning the trip, all of the details were left up to me. I had a semester of trip planning under my belt, so I was able to successfully plan a weekend trip to Romania and Bulgaria. It was a very weird feeling to lead my mom around and be like the “parent” – it definitely showed that I have matured!
Do you have any tips for girls studying abroad?
Do not overpack!! I know so many girls in my program who packed way too many clothes and ended up not wearing them ever. Pack the essentials. You will buy more clothes as your semester continues, trust me. Begin with the important pieces of clothing and you can add (some) as you do your travels. Also, be sure to pack whatever tampons, pads, and feminine products that you may need while abroad. In Europe, the products are not the same as the US, so all Americans should definitely be prepared, unless you’re up for an adventure!
If you could plan a trip anywhere in the world for yourself (with money not playing a role), where would you like to go?
Egypt. I have always been fascinated with Egyptian culture my whole life and traveling to Egypt is at the top of my bucket list. Unfortunately, my program does not allow me to travel to Egypt so I can’t go during my time abroad this year. Oh well, it just means I’ll have to plan another trip overseas!
What do you think of Marisa’s experiences in Germany? Have you ever been to Heidelberg or Germany in general? Share your story down below!
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