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.
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!
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.”