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People and Places

People and Places

Dustin is a Junior Aviation major with an Aerospace Management emphasis, who is also working on a German Conversation and Culture Certificate. Dustin grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Describe your Education Abroad program(s): 
"I’m on exchange for a year in Schmalkalden, Thüringen, Germany through the Magellan Exchange."

Is this a good program for other students in your major? 
"I think it’s a great program for completing my Certificate in German Conversation and Culture. It’s a good program for anyone wanting studying international business, international politics, or German. The professors are great and promote traveling abroad to learn more about Germany and Europe. There were a good number of options to choose from especially from Central Europe and the German speaking countries. These options are also relatively more affordable. Germany has the added bonus of free tuition for its citizens and foreigners."

Was this your first time abroad? 
"No, I’ve been to Europe twice before, but this is definitely the longest time abroad."

How do you feel that you benefitted from studying abroad? 
"An obvious benefit is being able to travel to many countries in Europe far more easily than trying to do it from the USA. From this ease of travel I’ve benefitted by experiencing many different pieces of history, people, their cultures, foods, opinions, and sights. It has really opened my eyes to a much bigger world. Having already been in Europe a couple times I experienced this, but to a lesser extent. Now staying here a year, this is my home. I’ve had to assimilate to life in Germany. My closest friends are family. My friends are from all over the world: USA, Germany, Columbia, Mexico, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Chile. When you’re a tourist you only see what you want to see and meet who you want to meet, if anyone. When you call somewhere home you see and experience much more. That is my greatest benefit. Not just seeing the world, but experiencing it and the getting to know the people in it."

How do you think this experience will impact your future plans? 
"Well with all the friends I’ve acquired I definitely plan to return to Europe one day. I especially enjoyed Sweden. I keep going back and love it dearly. If I could land an aviation career in Sweden one day I would take it without pause. I’ve also had the chance to see different business practices in Germany and hope to find a way to apply those to aviation in America one day."

What other countries have you traveled to? 
"So far, I’ve visited Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, and Italy. I plan to visit Switzerland, Scotland, Austria, and Poland."

Favorite thing about studying abroad? 
"The chance to experience new lands and people of a diverse backgrounds. The adventure is really the best part. Total independence coupled with the unknown isn’t scary, it’s exciting!"

Suggestions for future students? 
"Do a year exchange! I noticed a difference between my experience and others that stay for a semester. For a semester I think you face many of the same things on the surface, but you’re mostly counting down to going home. So, in that way the place never truly becomes a new home. When you stay for a year the return date is far off. In order to live normally you have to make it a more permanent home and assimilate. It makes the thought of going back the USA a little more difficult, but you are far more immersed in the experience and therefore have great benefit."

Anything you’d like to add?
"I just want to thank the International Office. From the day I visited EKU it was my goal to study in Germany. The staff pointed me in the right direction and has been greatly helpful from Richmond to Schmalkalden. Talking to students from other universities I can say that we have an exceptional team backing us up!"

Published on February 09, 2016

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