Constant practice and use of the language allowed for one student to successfully study abroad and work in Germany.
Hannah Stone, junior major from Huntington, Md., spent the 2012-2013 school year abroad in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her main goal was to learn the language and experience a new culture.
“I had to give a lot of effort in order to overcome the language barrier,” Stone said. “I realized that learning a new language is affected by momentum.
“After a few weeks of trying hard to get started, the language flows more easily.”
After opening up to talk and interact with the people around her and forcing herself to speak German with her dorm mates, Stone found herself proficient in the language.
“Within the year, I was able to conduct my own business with my bank, insurance, ticket booking and doctor visits,” Stone said.
She was able to communicate in German through email, in person and on the phone.
“All three types of communication are very different when learning a new language,” she said. “I found out during the process how I had to treat each type of communication differently to be successful.
“The only way to truly learn a language is to dive into it and use it every day.”
Stone studied at two different schools, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Hochschule für Gestaltung, and was able to find classes that would help build her minor in intercultural communications.
Stone said that with the assistance of her advisers she was able to find the courses and was able to transfer her credits with a lot of research, networking and time.
“Not all German universities have the same documents as Troy does,” Stone said. “I had to go through several steps to create documents for Troy to get my classes to transfer, but it worked out in the end.”
Outside of her studies, Stone worked as a proofreader for English submissions in a research institute within the university and also became involved in modeling.
“I mainly worked with photographers who were seeking to expand their portfolios,” Stone said. “I felt a lot less pressure in Germany to fit the usual stereotypical model proportions.
“As a model in Germany, I had to communicate with many people in German, therefore, improving my conversational skills. The work environment required the German language and understanding, which was a great way to combine studying, experiencing the culture and earning money and work experience.”
Stone said that Troy offers great study abroad opportunities and through the Federation of German-American Clubs (VDAC) scholarship program, students can apply to study at numerous schools in Germany and receive full scholarships.
It is competitive for the scholarship, she said, but well worth it and a perfect opportunity.
“This experience was unbeatable, every challenge was worth it,” Stone said. “Stereotypes were broken, friendships were made, and I got to grow as an individual as I made my new life there for the year.”