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Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 08:41 AM   #1
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Studying abroad

My daughter has wanted to study abroad for quite some time. She has an opportunity to study, for four months, in Berlin, beginning next January. She could also sign up for an additional three months and do an internship. Her living arrangments would be a home-stay. On one hand, I would like for her to have this opportunity and on the other hand, I am a mother that is just a tad concerned about the whole thing.

Can anyone share their insights on this subject? How about Berlin? (safe? expensive?)
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 09:45 AM   #2
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Re: Studying abroad

Haven't lived in Berlin but have lived elsewhere in Germany ... I loved it. Germany can be as expensive as you make it or very cheap ... one thing it has that beats the US all hollow is decent public transportation ... kids driving on their own and worse with a group of friends are more at risk than at any other time of their life.

As far as issues and concerns vis-a-vis your daughter you didn't give much information to go on... her age, for example would be a big factor in my mind. high school, undergrad, graduate studies? has she gone places and done things on her own before?

Who runs the program, supervises and arranges the home?

Most likely I'd look at this as a great opportunity but each family and each person is unique so one size doesnt fit all. How old is she now compared to the age you have decided she's going to be OK to go off on her own?
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Studying abroad

My daughter will have her 21st birthday in Berlin, during that time - grrrrrr. She is quite responsible and mature for her age. She doesn't drink since she doesn't like the taste of alcohol. She has been to Europe twice. Once with People to People and once on a family vacation. Because of an airline mixup on our family vacation, my daughter arrived in Paris one day before we did. It was tense, but she did ok. She was assisted in getting to our "apartment" by a friendly American that she met on the plane. I know that she took a risk in doing that but she does seem to have a good head on her shoulders. Also, by the time she would go to Berlin, she will be three years older than what she was during our vacation. So, she has traveled some.

The program is thru the international studies program at our local university. During the four months of classes, one of her local professors will also be in Berlin. All of the arrangements will be made by our local university. It sounds like it's a pretty popular program. I am somewhat comfortable with the classes but I am still really undecided about the internship.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 10:55 AM   #4
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Re: Studying abroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired
My daughter will have her 21st birthday in Berlin, during that time - grrrrrr.
Drinking age in Europe is 18.

If she's mature and responsible like you say she is, I would let her go. Living overseas is such a wonderful experience. She will also have the support group of all the other people in her study abroad class. A country like Germany isn't too scary to handle as a 20-21 year old. Living overseas is not a hardship with today's technology. There are VOiP services (skype, jajah, vontage), instant messengers - with voice too, webcams, email, blogs, etc. It's pretty easy to keep in touch if you're worried. The only thing to remember is the time differences.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 11:31 AM   #5
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Re: Studying abroad

I did study abroad while in college (Mexico for a summer as part of my BA in Spanish). Great experience! In general there's probably a little more partying/clubbing going on during study abroad trips, but nothing to worry about if you have a mature student.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Studying abroad

I have only visited Berlin, but it was a nice city... I think it would be a GREAT learning experience for her... and anyhow, she will be out of the nest soon no matter what happens..

Go for it..
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Studying abroad

I did a summer study program abroad when I was in college and it was really great. I liked the taste of alcohol though so my parents probably had more to worry about!

I did get a little lonely at one point and called my mother crying about how I was sad and getting fat. I've never lived that down, my mom almost got on a plane to come be with me, but she decided that I needed to handle that as part of life and I did. I think my personal problem was that I missed my boyfriend.

Anyway, I learned a lot about myself. It was a good experience.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 01:44 PM   #8
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Re: Studying abroad

Thanks for the support. I think she will be fine. She is a super good kid. Hopefully she won't get too homesick. She did get homesick when she was with the People to People group, but, that was when she was in the 9th grade. It's funny - she is an art major and took a German class this semester. German language courses are what she will study if she goes to Berlin. She has had some Spanish, some French and now some German. She has a dream of working in Europe in a museum or as an art tour guide. She started off in art because she wanted to be a graphic designer and has yet to take any graphic art classes. Go figure...
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 02:03 PM   #9
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Re: Studying abroad

Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired
Thanks for the support. I think she will be fine. She is a super good kid. Hopefully she won't get too homesick. She did get homesick when she was with the People to People group, but, that was when she was in the 9th grade. It's funny - she is an art major and took a German class this semester. German language courses are what she will study if she goes to Berlin. She has had some Spanish, some French and now some German. She has a dream of working in Europe in a museum or as an art tour guide. She started off in art because she wanted to be a graphic designer and has yet to take any graphic art classes. Go figure...
Then it is more important that she goes... to learn the language... no better way than immersion.. and then she can get a job as an English tour guide in a museum... what a life to look forward to..
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 02:19 PM   #10
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Re: Studying abroad

A friend of mine has lived in Berlin for 5 years now (moved from the US when she was about 25), and I've visited a couple times. Seems like a great city - pretty safe to walk around, lots of happening things, a ton of history if you're into that sort of thing. Good public transport. I think your daughter will have a blast.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 03:36 PM   #11
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Re: Studying abroad

Sure, I've studied them, but I still don't understand the one I was issued.

(Somebody had to say it!)
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 04:35 PM   #12
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Re: Studying abroad

Hi Happy,

Now that I have the true picture, I can't see what the concern is .... it's not only the study that would be of value but the internship probably even more ... there's a heck of a difference between sitting in class and actually working in another country. If she's already been to Europe twice she knows more than enough to cope.

A parent's job is to get them on the wing, not to cling. College degrees are only of any value for what you might have learned while earning them ... in my warped view, anyway, and she'll learn plenty this way. And if she brings home some guy named Klaus with these piercing blue eyes and a very, very weird outlook on politics, oh well, it could have just as easily been Freddy, the one who has that car that's only one inch off the ground and spends more on a set of speakers than the whole semester overseas is gonna cost. It's what mothers have to do ;-)


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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 05:29 PM   #13
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Re: Studying abroad

My sister did a study abroad in Italy, and it was immensely invaluable for her to gain exposure to other cultures, to be 'on her own' and just enjoy another unique aspect of college.

I didn't get the travel bug until late in college, but sometimes wish I had studied abroad.

Just remember -- you can't protect your child forever, so support them in becoming independent and well-rounded as best you can, and that's a success.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 05:53 PM   #14
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Re: Studying abroad

My daughter did a summer study program in Germany when she was 19 .It was a great experience .I worried every day but she was fine.Sometimes you just have to let them fly .
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: Studying abroad

Happy - If you can afford it, send her on her way! I was an exchange student in Germany for a full year when I was in college and it was one of the best experiences in my life. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn German fluently and experience their culture first hand, it was an opportunity to travel and be independent.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-09-2007, 06:24 PM   #16
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Re: Studying abroad

I don't know much about Germany but my daughter celebrated her 20th birthday in Paris while studying her full Junior year of college. She had very limited exposure to European travel before then but managed well. She was homesick the first month she was there and called home crying on a couple of occasions.

She lived with a French family and had to take the metro for 45 minutes daily to school. European cities for the most part are much safer than any US city and most crimes are minor and non violent.

The experience she had was extremely valuable and beneficial.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-10-2007, 05:53 AM   #17
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Re: Studying abroad

Thank you so much for all of your replies. I feel more comfortable now and maybe even more comfortable about the internship. She would just love to have an internship at a museum. I know a mother needs to let 'em fly and this adventure would be a good means of trying out those wings. It would be good for me too since my daughter lives with me. I can try out empty nest living too. Hey, I wonder if I can reclaim the large closet in her bathroom?

Oh, another thing. My daughter is a vegan (no meat or dairy products). She is so picky about what she eats. I think of Germany as a meat and potatoes kind of country, hardy eating - lots of sausage, pork, kraut and beer. She was wondering last night..."what will I eat?" "I hope they have health food stores." She might even come back a few pound lighter - time to lose that freshmen 15 anyway.

I'm thinking ahead here too folks. I might join her at some point during that time so that we can see a little of Germany together while she is there. I don't want any of that sausage, pork, kraut and beer to go to waste. It would be too late for the Christmas markets, but, hey if she can land a job there after graduation....hmmmm....

Keep your comments coming if you think of anything more that would help us with this little adventure. We found a web site that has some comments about using European adapters for Mac laptops and it appears that they work without any problems. So, looks like she can take her computer. We have close to a year to prepare for her trip so I may be asking more questions down the road.

Thank you so much...I love this forum.

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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-10-2007, 07:31 PM   #18
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Re: Studying abroad

Almost all modern computers are world compatible. Look at the power supply for the Mac (the "lump" in the cord) It likely says 100-t240 Volts and 50/60 hertz 9cycles). Germany is a 220V 50hz country, so anything marked that includes that range will work. The plugs are physically different but any hardware store (in Germany) stocks a wide assortment.

As far as the vegan aspect Germany has at least its share of diet faddists and non-conventionals. There's no chance she won't be able to find food ... in fact, sausage and schnitzel (mmmm I like) are not a big part of the German diet. Europeans in general eat a lot less meat than Americans.
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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-10-2007, 08:41 PM   #19
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Re: Studying abroad

I joined the Navy at 19. My mother worried, but my mind was made up.

I met a lot of people who liked to indulge in illegal substances in the "Nav" -- found it wasn't interesting to me. I met a lot of people who liked to overindulge in alcoholic beverages -- found it wasn't interesting to me.

FWIW, I think we pretty much are who we are, regardless of location.

I hope she has a wonderful trip!



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Re: Studying abroad
Old 03-11-2007, 10:21 AM   #20
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Re: Studying abroad

Thanks for the tip RP. We will check the "lump". I think my daughter pretty much knows who she is. She is very independent and so far, has very high expectations of herself.
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