Macquarie Study Abroad and volunteering is part of the PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) ethos. Over the semester winter break, Karina Maynard, Andrew Fischer, Sebastian Stinton and Mary Stompe lived in Germany, studying the language, culture and World Cup euphoria of their temporary home.
“Going on exchange is one of those experiences you can never truly put into words,” Karina Maynard reflects. For her Macquarie Study Abroad experience, Karina spent three weeks studying German at the 400 year old University of Duisburg-Essen, near Brandenburg, as did Mary Stompe and Andrew Fischer. They witnessed World Cup fever when Germany beat Brazil to reach the final, then win the Cup, draping the city in red, yellow and black stripes.
“Cultural experiences such as the World Cup were actually enhanced by the course as our teachers explained each cultural event from the perspective of a German.” says Karina, who is transferring from her current Macquarie course to study German and Linguistics in 2015.
“For me, it was my first overseas trip, and I do not know if I could have caught the travel bug any better way. This first trip is one that I will cherish and remember,” says Andrew. “This is not only due to the valued connections I made with those around me, but the exceptional circumstances we found ourselves in.”
“It was rich, rewarding and busy,” Mary Stompe agrees. “The course was fantastic. With different teachers we talked, listened to German music, watched German-Turkish films, and debated religion versus science, which was a challenge to our German vocabulary.”
For his Macquarie Study Abroad, Bachelor of Arts student Sebastian Stinton instead studied at the Berlin University of Economics and Law to enhance his German, Politics and International studies at Macquarie. As he has Swiss relatives he’s considering living in German-speaking Switzerland in coming years or joining the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“I found Germans to be similar to Australians. They are warm, friendly, generous and straight talking. I didn’t have any preconceptions, as that takes away from the experience.”
“I’d encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and embrace the opportunity to go on an overseas exchange program, if only for three weeks,” says Mary.
“My overall impression of Macquarie’s short term exchanges was that they not only allow you to form close bonding relationships with fellow students, but also allows you to gain a more cultured perspective of your host country,” Karina adds.
“The trip wasn’t all sunshine and dandelions, and we did have our differences, but that strengthened the friendships we made,” observes Andrew. “It is an odd and beautiful thing to watch a group of people be forced into close proximity for three weeks, and for those paths to cross each other for however long, be it three weeks or three decades, is truly wonderful.”
Macquarie University offers Study Abroad exchanges to over 200 partner universities in over 50 countries.