Student Highlight

Danae Bianes

Major: German and Film Studies
Country of Study: Mainz, Germany


1. What was your favorite memory?

Mainz is one of three major cities that celebrates Karneval, also known as Fastnacht, which takes place in February each year. Everyone dresses up in costumes and watches the parade go by in the streets with these ridiculous floats. There's also live music and rides like you would find at a county fair in the US, but this takes place in the middle of the city! It's just generally a crazy time and makes the dreary winters a lot more fun. I celebrated the holiday that year with a bunch of my international friends from Denmark and Iceland.

2. Why should others consider going to Germany for study abroad?

Germany tends to be overlooked by more popular European countries like Italy, France, and Spain. But it is just as rich in culture and history as any of those other places! Each region has its own dialect and culinary specialties as well as landmarks. Also, the German people are sincere and once you establish a friendship with them, you have it for life. And if you're hoping to travel, it's perfectly centralized for getting around the rest of the continent while you're there.

3. What did you learn from your experience studying abroad?

Aside from vastly improving my communication skills in German, I also learned a lot about how people around the world live differently. Some of these new aspects I integrated into my own lifestyle (using public transportation to go everywhere rather than driving, bringing my own bags when grocery shopping) and others were more difficult to cope with (living without A/C in the summer, paying to use public restrooms). Mostly, though, I learned that I am pretty adaptable and capable even in a different culture than my own, and using a different language. It made me so much more confident!