Office of International Studies

Study Abroad Interviews

Simone Benzinger


Age: 25


Home Country: Germany


Home University: Pädagogische Hochschule Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburg University of Education)


Simone with three friendsSubjects of Study: Music Education, English and Theology

Note: In German Universities one must have three subjects. The first is your "major," then you have a second area of study almost like a double major and then a third subject which is like a minor.



Prior Language Knowledge: 11 years in Realschule (middle school), Gymnasium (high school) and in the University


Where did you go? Billings, Montana, USA


When did you go? September - December 2007


Have you studied abroad before? No, I have not.


Why did you do it?
Because the university told me I should go to improve my pronunciation.


Would you do it again?
Yes, I would do it again, but I have finished my studies already [i.e. undergraduate].


Simone snow skiing with friendsWhat was your favorite part?
The best thing was getting to know international students from all over the world and getting to know many friendly American people who shared their free time with us and showed us around.


What was your least favorite part?
The testing system which decides the classes you can take is regulated by a computer test so strictly that the computer decides for you the level you have to take. I felt bored in the classes that I had to go to (according to the computer system) and I could not go to a class of higher level because the system did not allow it. That was quite frustrating.


What was the easiest thing about the study abroad experience?
The professors were very friendly and encouraging to us as international students.


What was the hardest thing/challenge you faced studying abroad?
There was nothing that was really hard.


Simone picking berriesHow has this study abroad affected your life now?
I was so happy that there were people who helped me with my English, with practical things and the people who showed me around. As a result, I want to become more open to foreigners and help people who want to learn German. Last summer I helped an exchange student to correct his senior papers.


What advice/words of wisdom would you offer students interested in studying abroad? Don't expect that everything is like at home. You will find things in the other culture that you will like better than yours. You will also find things that you do not like. Think about the differences and decide which way you like better, but try to understand the other culture instead of judging it. Also, go there and have a lot of great experiences. Try many things you can do there (do not worry too much about your studies there, because you will learn more from people than from books). Enjoy the time there because it is special and will never come back.