Guest Post By: Ella Pierson, an undergraduate studying Marketing. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at the Rotterdam School of Management in Rotterdam, Netherlands, during Winter Quarter 2023.
Towards the end of my study abroad trip, I was granted the opportunity to explore the wonderful country of Germany with my roommate, whose family lives very close to Düsseldorf. My roommate, Trixi, and I planned a short trip to Munich together before my departure home to the US, and I was lucky enough to be invited to her family’s home before we made the trip. Her family was sweet and hospitable, and they provided me with many traditional German Christmas treats and quizzed me on my personal holiday traditions. We shared many stories during meal times, exchanged our different personal experiences in our home countries, and had many great laughs together. My friend’s mother explained to me how they prepare their traditional holiday roast and even sent me away with the proper spices and recipes so that I could bring home a taste of Germany to my family.
Between the learning and the laughs, I felt grateful to have an opportunity to feel more immersed in a culture aside from my own. One unexpected experience I had during my time abroad was the lack of full immersion into one specific culture. The study abroad program at RSM is great at providing many opportunities for international students to bond and mingle, but there weren’t many chances to mix with the Dutch students themselves. Although I was kept busy with learning about many different cultures that I encountered amongst the international student pool, there wasn’t one culture that I really got a handle on and fell deeply into. Traveling to Germany with Trixi was an opportunity that allowed me to finally feel this cultural immersion a bit more. When we finally were off to Munich together, we were both able to have an amazing time soaking up the beauty of Bavaria while I was also given the chance to learn about German traditions, language, and more on a deeper level. This experience has inspired me to consider staying with host families in the future so that I may be able to learn even more from my travel experiences.