Does anyone have a map?

I debated for months on whether to become a Horned Frog or an Oklahoma Sooner. All of my dad’s side of the family went to the University of Oklahoma, and my brother is about to graduate from OU. The familiarity of the campus and its people almost swayed me to go to OU, but then I went to the Honors College night in March. The speakers focused on community and the small feel of TCU, which was exactly what I was looking for. After those speakers, we were sent to Milton Daniel for a meet and greet with John V. Roach faculty and staff. My parents insisted that we go talk to “that one professor who spoke” and that’s when I first met Dr. Pitcock. After some pleasantries, I asked about study abroad, something I knew I wanted to do in college. When Dr. P mentioned the Cultural Routes trip, I was hooked. Personal experiences like this do not happen at every university and I knew they didn’t happen at big public universities in Oklahoma. I knew I wanted to go on the trip at that moment and after a few days of deliberation I knew I wanted to go to TCU.

I always knew that I was going to apply to go to Cultural Routes but the first informational meeting that I went to certainly solidified my desire. Dr. P was so passionate about the trip and when else could you get the chance to travel with someone who knows the best places, people, and experiences to have in so many cities. My parents were just as excited as I was about the trip because we both recognized it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I knew I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity and am so grateful that I was chosen to go on CR9.

The entirety of the trip sounds amazing but the country that I’m most exciting for is Germany. Not only am I part German, but I’ve been told that Germany is a wonderful place to visit. Both my brother and my father have been to Germany and say that the people are welcoming, the country is beautiful, and the food is delicious. However, I do expect some parts of Germany to be sobering. As a major part of World War II, I know that Germany has some scars left behind including the remnants of the Berlin Wall and Dachau concentration camp. While this is interesting and important to study, it’s not a light-hearted activity. As a person of Eastern European Jewish descent, I expect to be humbled by the visit to Dachau. These historically significant landmarks have affected Germany’s culture today so it’s necessary to explore them further.

There are so many reasons that I’m excited for CR9. I’m looking forward to the history, the art, and the food of both Germany and Italy. I can’t wait to interact with people of different backgrounds and languages. Above all else, I’m ecstatic to be travelling and experiencing culture with a group of intelligent, passionate, and genuine students. That being said, there are some things I am nervous about. I’ve heard the trip is exhausting and I’m nervous that I will let my exhaustion keep me from experiencing Germany, Switzerland, and Italy in their full glory. In addition, at our first CR9 dinner I sat next to someone from CR8 whose entire group boarded the wrong train out of Switzerland and I can’t say that doesn’t concern me! Being separated from the group is nerve-racking. However, my excitement easily overshadows my nervousness.

This trip will be challenging both personally and culturally. I can be uptight and worried when things don’t go “according to plan” which is bound to happen during CR9. It will be a challenge to go with the flow, but I know that’s something I need to work on. I think the biggest cultural challenge for me will be the language barrier. While it will be an exciting adventure to try communicating with people who don’t speak good, or any, English, it will surely be frustrating at times. Also, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone with my terrible pronunciation. However, I am optimistic that these challenges will be another fun part of our adventure. Anyways, what’s the point of doing anything if it doesn’t challenge you and help you grow?