Cultural Shock?

Enjoying the Krakow’s square

For my final blog, I want to focus on cultural shock when it comes to visiting countries outside of the United States. To start, the times I felt cultural shock. One prime example of this is the apparent lack of air conditioning. As one of the professors pointed out in Germany, many of the buildings are old and because of their age, the centralized air conditioning that we as Americans are used to have not and perhaps will not be put into the buildings. Another cultural shock that I felt within these countries was the public transportation. Because we had nearly unlimited access to public transport in London, Paris, and Berlin, exploring the city was a breeze. Though it can become crowded, especially the Metro trains in Paris, a crowded train ride beats having to walk miles to get to a destination. Our tickets even got us places on buses and trams, which I enjoyed more than the underground trains because we were able to see more of the cities.

The tram system in Berlin

However, there were certain points in the trips that I thought I would experience the sensation of cultural shock, but it did not occur. The largest example that would apply to the study abroad is the feeling that I would not be able to communicate with others.  In the cities that we visited, it felt as if nearly everyone’s second language was English. The city I feared that I would experience the most language barrier was Krakow, Poland; however, this was the city where I found it the easiest to communicate with the locals and workers! It made me realize how much a second language is so powerful and how grateful I am to be learning American Sign Language as a second language at Ohio State!

The Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus

Overall, my time abroad was unlike something I have experienced before. As one of the professors pointed out at the final group dinner, the entire cohort grew not only as individuals but as a group as well. Even though I have only been apart from them for a few hours, I already miss being in their presence.

The group on a Normandy beach

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