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Ready, Set, Go! - Pre-Departure Orientation Workshop 2019

As students prepare for their upcoming time abroad, they’re sure to be pestered by nerves and loads of questions. What will be different in the the U.S. or Canada? How difficult will classes be? Will I be able to make friends? What kind of health insurance do I need? At our Pre-Departure Orientation Workshop we aimed to answer all these questions and more. The event was offered on Friday, June 14th, 2019 at the DAI Nürnberg and on Monday, June 17th, 2019 at the Amerikahaus Munich.

Some 20 students joined us for the daylong workshop at the Amerikahaus representing nine Bavarian universities: Ludwig-Maximilians University, the Technical University of Munich, the University of Applied Sciences Munich, the University of Augsburg, the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim, the University of Applied Sciences Ingolstadt, Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg, Hochschule Weihenstephan- Triesdorf, and the University of Applied Sciences Kempten. The students are all heading to the U.S. or Canada in the fall 2019 for a semester or yearlong program, from California to Ontario, Florida to Saskatchewan.

 

The day began with a few words of greeting from Stephen Ibelli, Consul for Public Affairs at the U.S. Consulate in Munich. With a few tips on visas and adapting to the North American university culture, he set the tone for the day, wishing the students the best possible experience abroad. 

Intercultural differences and panel discussion

 

Our Education and Exchange team then tackled some of the intercultural differences that the students may face in North America, so that they know what to expect and have a sensibility for where these differences come from. We also prepared them for the culture shock they’re likely to experience and their roles as cultural ambassadors. 

 

It was the panel discussion, however, that proved the highlight of the afternoon. In two hour-long sessions, the students were able to ask all of their questions and get answers from their peers who had sat where they were just last year. Two past participants of our workshop, Lea and Rebekka, who had recently returned from their studies in Canada, talked about their classes, travels, insurance, and bank accounts. Mikela represented the U.S. side of things, telling about Bachelor studies in the U.S. and comparing it to her experience here in Germany. From finding an apartment and meeting people and staying connected on campus, to tipping rules and the openness of university professors, they gave some great insights into living and studying in the U.S. and Canada. No question went unanswered – thanks again for sharing your experiences!

Visa Information

 

To round out the day we were joined by two representatives from the Visa Section of the U.S. Consulate in Munich, so that students had all the information they needed to apply for their visas. Ines Jaehnert from the Amerikahaus covered the visa details for the students headed to Canada. 

 

At the end of the day, the students left feeling prepared for their stay abroad and excited to get underway. They even made plans to keep in touch and exchange their own experiences abroad in the Amerikahaus Facebook group “Studieren in den USA oder Kanada.”

 

Our whole team wishes all students headed to the U.S. or Canada an unforgettable time abroad and an enriching experience on a North American campus. If you have any questions or want to share your own stories next year, contact us at austausch@amerikahaus.de or drop by at our next Culture Smash on Thursday, July 11th, 2019!