Finding Myself in Germany

By Allie Boyd

Majors: Zoology and Geography
Minors: German and European Studies
Certificate: Geographic Information Sciences

Allie with her host family in Neckargemünd

After changing majors mid-spring in my junior year, I felt like my identity in the field I’d studied for years was unraveling. I had no idea what I wanted to work towards (which, as a student, is essential to push through the seemingly endless succession of homework). All I knew was that the time I spent in classes I no longer had any interest in could have been spent improving my German. I registered for the 2022 Intensive German Summer Program in Heidelberg, hoping to find some clue as to what I should do with my final year at Miami University, or at least an experience that could make me feel less lost. Ironically, I found that immersing myself in a foreign place, getting lost where everything is new and different, is the best way to find myself. We spent seven weeks together between May and July, exploring the cities of Heidelberg, Jena, Dessau, and Berlin. We stayed with host families for most of the program and studied German with Dr. John M. Jeep, the program director, and Dr. Cathie Grimm. There were no distractions, just a small group of people inGroup picture of attendees the same situation with the goal of improving our German and living in a different place. Sure, you can improve your language skills anywhere, but you can only truly experience Germany… in Germany. We learned and experienced new things everyday, made friends with each other and with locals. No day was wasted. I no longer felt like a hamster running on a wheel; I could be whoever I wanted to be and I could look back a week or even just a day and see how much I had learned and grown, both as a student of German and as a person. This trip is for everyone, whether you’re searching for where you belong or you’re certain that you are where you need to be.

Allie will be graduating in May of 2023.