International Studies & Programs

Host family was very kind

We had home cooked dinners every Sunday that were absolutely divine and they were even so kind as to plan meals that fit my vegetarian diet.

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Published: Friday, 26 Apr 2024 Author: Paige Lawson

Paige taking a selfie in front of a German castleThe Mayen program was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. In just 6 weeks I was able to visit 3 different countries in Europe and immerse myself in new cultures. In each new place I visited the dialect was unique and expanded my understanding of German language and its complexities and also its beauty.

By studying in Mayen each week and exploring Germany on the weekends I greatly improved my German language skill, and also worked towards completing a minor in the language alongside completing the field experience requirement for International Relations that encourages learning outside of campus.

Through Mayen, and the wonderful opportunity to stay Photo of an ice cream cone in the streets of Mayenwith the most kind and giving host family, I was able to greatly improve not only my ability to speak German in class, but also learn how to communicate with native speakers across many ages and family backgrounds. We had home cooked dinners every Sunday that were absolutely divine and they were even so kind as to plan meals that fit my vegetarian diet. I felt very welcomed in Mayen by the townspeople as well. They encouraged us to speak in German and would not get frustrated if we stumbled or talked slowly but uplifted us and helped us find the right words.

I learned so much while abroad, but one thing I learned about German culture was about the Spargelzeit or White Asparagus season. During this time, when white asparagus is in season many restaurants will have special menus with Asparagus dishes and I even made one of my own with my host family! It was truly a delight to learn about a new kind of food that is traditionally liked in Germany besides beer or meat.

Often cultures abroad get reduced to a few key details about their culture, especially the ones that were brought to the U.S. by natives of the countries, because it is all we were taught. That would be my “myth bust” of studying abroad. Not every country is what it seems, and no matter how much preparation you do, City view of Mayenand how much studying of the culture you do, there will always be heaps more to learn!

Another myth I would bust about studying abroad is that it is not affordable. I come from a low-income family, a single mother who is a special education teacher. When I began applying for the Mayen program, I was concerned about how I was going to afford it all, but with the help of advisors and the numerous areas on campus that have education abroad scholarships I was able to fund almost the entire program with scholarships and grants. The rest of the money I made myself through working, I won’t say it wasn’t exhausting at times, but after my trip to Mayen I wouldn’t have traded those hours spent working for anything else.

Name: Paige Lawson
Status: Junior
Majors: International Relations and History
Hometown: Rochester Hills, Michigan
Program: German Language and Culture in Mayen