Berlin

The Impact of Study Abroad

Ezra Babski Vassar '19

My experience in Berlin has informed my future career plans after graduation; in particular, the inspiration and encouragement I found in vibrant community art scenes has led me to consider more seriously entering the field of art education alongside a professional career as a musician.

I cannot stress how important it is to choose a program with the intensity level you desire; depending on your needs as a stubbornly independent or group-oriented individual, this will play an enormous role in determining not just what kind of experiences you’re exposed to, but also the structure of your quotidian academic existence. It is crucial that you talk to people who have participated in the program in forming your choice.

I chose BCGS for the following reasons: I wanted an intensive program (with language courses and cultural excursions to boot) that would also help curate/organize my cultural and historical introduction to Germany, as well as aid and advise me in bureaucratic matters related to establishing residency, enrolling in university, and securing housing; I wanted a one-month home-stay period; and I wanted to participate in a year-long, full-immersion (in terms of both language and academics) program.

As I see it, there are two ways that studying abroad has opened new vistas on my future. On the one hand, there are the countless new friends, acquaintances and contacts—both academic and personal—who make up the network that serves as the real record of my experience. It is platitudinous but accurate to say that studying abroad is mostly about meeting new people—about exposure to new cultures, perspectives, beliefs and practices. This is ultimately what will most tangibly remain of my time away. On the other hand, participating in BCGS has been a formative experience in terms of cultivating independence and learning to navigate unfamiliar professional, academic and social environments. Finally, my experience in Berlin has informed my future career plans after graduation; in particular, the inspiration and encouragement I found in vibrant community art scenes has led me to consider more seriously entering the field of art education alongside a professional career as a musician.