Allison Wiggins, July 7th, 2017
During my month in Europe, I noticed many small differences between there and here. Reflecting now, I have recognized how truly different it was living there. Being back in the United States has made me comfortable again, but has also shown me how my abroad experience pushed me out of my comfort zone. I not only practiced more independence, but also learned to navigate confusing and unusual situations. It’s one thing to not understand a process, but an entirely different one to not even be capable of understanding the language that explains it. I am appreciative and thankful for those who worked to bridge the gaps between languages and cultures for our group. The varying customs across countries were diverse to say the least as we traveled across borders. We traveled from France to Belgium to Spain to Switzerland to Germany to Austria, and noted vast differences at every corner.
In class, we learned about the European Union, and how they work to integrate all of Europe, while also maintaining the rich cultures across all of the member states. I was genuinely impressed by the European government as they have to rely on translators to convey their messages in the 24 official languages of the EU. In debates, each politician has to wait patiently for the translation before continuing. I believe this was a prime example of what the European Union stands for; integration with respect for the individuality of the nations.
Before this trip, I had little to no knowledge of the concept of European Integration, or even International Finance. Our classes at EM Strasbourg gave me a well rounded knowledge of both of these topics, and helped to explain what we were experiencing everyday while immersed in European culture. I am thankful to have broadened my knowledge of the world I live in, and for being a part of such an unforgettable experience.